Monday, March 15, 2004

A view into the Arab and Islamic mind

I found this in the comment section of an Iraqi blog.

I have read the letter(The Al-Queda Letter). I have also read Bernard Lewis's books, books on Islam, the neocons, Thomas Friedman, on and on..

But I can't help wondering whether the problem isn't bigger and deeper than the Arab/Israeli confict, the upheaval of modernization, economic suffering, the lack of democracy, and human rights.

I suspect that the problem lies in a culture of dependency where relationships with the 'other'are based on power and control whether in business, family relationships or religious leadership. A system based on a win/lose relationships rather than win/win where everyone gains.

This system of dependency...where values are enforced externally rather than becoming part of the souls of all men needs an enforcer and the enforcer needs compliance.

When external authority is removed, the result is confusion, humiliation, and rage. It is at this time when people most need engagement and role models. I think the youth need role who operate on win/win, life affirming, internal principals for their conduct.

[Then someone wrote a post about how all Bushs does is lie, lies, etc. and how he and the American governmen are the real terrorists, etc. etc.]

[and I replied]

This is EXACTLY what I am talking about. This is her real life experience with authority speaking. The lack of trust is both tragic and sad. Whether they agreed with the war in Iraq or not, almost every single American believes that the intention of Bush is to now help bring hope to Iraqis by helping to build their economies and give them a chance to build a civil society.

by thinker

I pick up the discussion here,

The terrorists are recruited from societies suffering from oppression. This oppression can be political or religious and perceived or real. The oppressed are looking for relief and the promise of martyrdom offers away to get relief from a life of suffering and misery.

Many want to blame Israel or the USA for their choosing to be a terrorist. But how were Saudi terrorists oppressed by them? They weren't, they were oppressed by their own religion/government. In Saudi Arabia they are the same thing.

It's that external enforcement Thinker referred to. Every aspect of a Muslim's life seems to have a rule. These rules stifle any growth of self control. Instead of requiring the believers to control themselves, all temptation is forcibly and externally removed from the individual by requiring a change of behavior of someone else.

Women are forced to be covered because the men have not learned any self control. Christians have to hide their faith, because the Muslims leaders are afraid they will lose followers. Christian alcohol peddlers are murdered because the wahibbis don't trust the Muslims to not drink. Don't teach self restraint, remove the temptation. Remove enough temptations and you have lost all freedom. Lose all freedom and you are now oppressed.

I don’t believe Islam was meant to be this way. I believe Islamic leaders have found it easier to make rules than it was to teach self restraint.

Let’s see what may happen in Iraq and the rest of the ME,

The Iraqis establish a democracy. The democratic process requires it’s citizens to have self responsibility. Self responsibility requires learning self restraint. The Iraqi who has self restraint can now see the oppressiveness of Islamic Law and petitions his Mullah to modify the rules to fit with his new found self restraint. The Mullahs hearing this a thousand times over, respond with fatwas. These new fatwas create a schism between moderate and fundamentalist Islam. Democracy has spread in the ME and most Muslims choose the moderate version of Islam, leaving the Fundamentalist/oppressive Islam to die off.

The Fundamentalists are not stupid. They can see this line of reasoning as easy as I can. This is what they are afraid of. This is what they are killing Muslims over. They are fighting for their existence. They are fighting to the death. We should too.


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