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World Association of International Studies

Post Terrorism and Religion
Created by John Eipper on 11/30/15 1:04 PM

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Terrorism and Religion (Tor Guimaraes, USA, 11/30/15 1:04 pm)

Jose Ignacio Soler (JIS) wrote on 28 November: "Tor Guimaraes's criticisms do not seem to contradict my conclusions, and they are perhaps addressed to expand the discussion contents to much more extended topics." I thank Jose Ignacio for his constructive reply to my last post.

JIS also commented the following: "My arguments were intended to rationalize and specifically to understand why today´s terrorism comes from Islam and its fundamental interpretations, beliefs, inner contradictions and conflicts with Western culture."

Perhaps the answer to that question to a large extent comes from the fact that Islamic terrorism started in the Middle East, where there are many Muslims, and is an area full of oil which is strategically very important to nations who consume most of it, and thus have kept a strong military presence there. It might also have some to with the fact that Western nations in general (and ours in particular) have been extremely supportive of Israel, which has been successful in its struggle with the Arab countries and running over downtrodden Palestinians.

John Eipper commented: "To my mind, José Ignacio Soler's salient question had to do with why Muslim societies are increasingly incapable of nurturing the church/state separation." That is true, but other religions are also increasingly breaching the barrier of Church and State. JIS himself acknowledged "the strong influence of many religions, particularly Catholicism, Protestantism or fundamental Judaism, on secular matters, and the past terror and wars inflicted upon societies on behalf of a Christian God."

Perhaps Islamic followers increasingly have become more disappointed and frustrated with the secularism promoted by the Western nations and are returning to their Sharia roots. That is why as we are forced to defend ourselves from terrorist attacks. The worst thing we can do would be to mistreat or alienate innocent Muslims because we fear the terrorists. It would just push larger numbers to become more radical. Even the young George Bush knew that.

JE comments: Some questions remain unanswered.  How exactly does one get "frustrated" by secularism?  And even more to the point, why from the perspective of many Muslims is secularism seen as belonging to the Judeo-Christian worldview?

And is Sharia part of Islam's "roots"?  Or rather, is it a modern reconstruction of some idealized religious past?

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  • "Frustrated by Secularism" (Tor Guimaraes, USA 12/03/15 4:30 PM)
    John Eipper asked me on 30 November: "How exactly does one [in the Middle East] get 'frustrated' by secularism? And even more to the point, why from the perspective of many Muslims is secularism seen as belonging to the Judeo-Christian worldview?"

    The second question first. According to the Secular Society, "Secularism is a principle that involves two basic propositions. The first is the strict separation of the state from religious institutions. The second is that people of different religions and beliefs are equal before the law." This definition clearly shows why. The American Constitution explicitly prescribes secularism. Most Islamic countries do not do that.

    "How exactly does one get frustrated by secularism?" If I were a Muslim, I would be very frustrated if some foreign people came to my country, supported my corrupt government, and prescribed to me the separation of Church and State when I believe in Sharia law. Now if this foreign country were known for its friendship, generosity, and humanitarian behavior all over the world, I would be much more accepting of its attempts to influence my way of life. Further, if this country were characterized by a wealthy and happy society with little drugs and violence, and a growing standard of living and jobs for most of its people, then I would definitely listen to any advice they give me very closely.

    JE comments: Most (certainly not all) Americans think they are a friendly, generous, and humanitarian people.  I make this observation in earnest.

    My question went deeper than whether or not a constitution prescribes secularism.  I wondered why secularism is on the wane in the Middle East, with the possible (ironic?) exception of Iran.  And why do so many people "believe" in Sharia law, when this was not the case a generation ago?

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    • What is the Attraction of Sharia Law? From Gary Moore (John Eipper, USA 12/04/15 4:56 AM)

      Gary Moore writes:

      Re: John Eipper's question (3 December) on why people in Muslim countries
      seem to be increasingly attracted to Sharia law, as opposed to
      a generation ago:

      I don't know those countries well enough to
      to offer even a (probably misguided) guess, but already on the
      record is a basis for hypotheses. The years suggest that Eric Fromm
      was as much an inspired poet as a classifier of real phenomena,
      but poets can speak deep truth. Poetically, Fromm rhymed his
      own name even in his book title, which title still frames one way
      to look at these things: "Escape From Freedom."

      JE comments:  "Submission," the literal translation of the word Islam, is the voluntary giving up of one's freedom.  Etymology does not answer our question, though:  what exactly is the appeal of Sharia today?  Is it some sort of atavistic reaction to the West's greed and crass secularism?

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