Inform, Inspire, Embolden. Reconcile!

Are Muslims or Muslim Societies Prone to Violence?

I want to highlight three points in this article. First, I want to underscore the obvious fact that killing of innocents or terrorism is a universal problem and not a “Muslim problem”. Second, I want to present data from official sources to show that things are not always what they appear to be and that perception may not always reflect reality.  Despite appearances, non-Muslims have been committing the majority of terror acts (at least in US and Europe) and that homicide rates in Muslim societies are significantly less than in non-Muslim societies. In the third part, I want to discuss who or what is responsible for creating and perpetuating this biased portrayal of Muslims as violent and homicidal.

Violence as universal affliction of humanity

George Santayana once lamented that “only the dead have seen the end of war”.  The same can be said about killing, murder, terror, and violence. There is no simple way of explaining violence or terrorism – indeed any collective human behavior – but from what we know of humanity and human nature, the conclusion seems inescapable: violence and terrorism are endemic to all human societies.   From the beginning of humanity in the dim twilight of man’s early sojourn on earth through all of history and in all places and periods, the killing of innocents (terrorism) has been, is, and perhaps will forever remain a constant feature of humanity.

There is no period in history where innocents were kept safe. No continent on earth and no human society or civilization can claim to have never suffered from homicide, destruction, or the killing of innocents. Hypocrisy aside, murder, conquest, and destruction still occur everywhere in our contemporary world. Surrounded as we are with slogans of human rights, equality, and freedom, we tend to overlook the fact that even in the modern world and despite the myriads of institutionalized international bodies to oversee and prevent conflicts, human beings are still killing innocents; still occupying each other’s countries; and still oppressing one another.

Attempts to eradicate this perennial problem through the League of Nations, the United Nations, and other similar institutions all ended up in failure. The war to end all wars gave birth to a bigger and more horrible war within a couple of decades.  21st century is not different. The world is still mired in wars, conflicts, conquests, oppression, and a host of other cruelties which all goes to show that deep down our human nature has seen no significant change despite our great advances in civilization. We are just as capable of savagery as our hunter-gatherer ancestors; as prone to rivalry and xenophobia today as we were then.

What triggers violence?  No one really knows for sure except that in general different passions and thoughts drive people to commit atrocities.  People have killed innocents in the name of every conceivable belief, slogan, or ideal.  If you find yourself unable to fathom people who kill in the name of religion, reflect back to the colonial era and ask yourself if it is any less strange or shocking to ravage much of Africa, Asia, and Latin American chanting “liberty, democracy, equality, and fraternity.”  This is what drove an appalled Gandhi to cry:

What difference does it make to the dead, the orphans and the homeless whether the mad destruction is wrought under the name of totalitarianism or in the holy name of liberty or democracy”?

The horrible crimes of colonialism (which are in essence terrorism on a grand scale) were committed, as we all know, by Europeans.  Are we then to conclude that Caucasians are more prone to violence than other races?  No.  Of course not.

If murderous tendencies are to be blamed on any group at all, therefore, it will have to be on humanity as a whole because at one time or another, every societal group has produced villains that besmirch the name of the group. The Nazis did it to Germans; Fascism and Mafia to the Italians; the KKK to American whites and Christians; colonialism and imperialism to the western people; drug dealers and violent gangs to blacks and Hispanics; the papal and Spanish inquisitions to Christians; Stalinism to Russians …and we can go on and on indefinitely doing the same for every major social group. The question is: If it is wrong to associate any of those crimes or failings to their respective societies (and it is), what right do we have to do it to Muslims?

To generalize about any group is bad enough but to stigmatize 1.6 billion Muslims who crisscross the globe from east to west, north and south and comprising of all races, cultures, and nationalities solely on the actions of a tiny minority among them is simply moronic.  That is why to even pose the question in the title of this article smacks of prejudice and stereotyping but I understand why Saleh in his article, New Wave of Muslim preachers, considered the topic worth exploring. Justifiably or not, Islam and Muslims have become synonymous with violence and terrorism. So the topic can no longer be ignored particularly since some Eritreans are joining the chorus of bigots but before I delve into the topic, I want to express my slight disagreement with Saleh on two minor points.

First, I do not consider disputes over prophetic traditions (Ahadith) to be the primary drivers of violence, terrorism, or chaos in the region. In fact, I believe the opposite to be the case.  It is mostly the irreligious leaders like Sadaam Hussein, Bashar al-Assad, his father before him, the Mubarak of Egypt (and now Sisi) and other brutal dictators who were mostly “secular” that are responsible for much of the havoc in the region. These leaders have never given a hoot about the Quran or Hadith except to use them as tools to bamboozle the masses.  It is such dictators, foreign interference, and also terrorists like Bin Laden (who are not scholars and who intentionally misinterpret religious scriptures to justify their murderous escapades) that have caused and continue to cause much of the chaos in those countries. Traditional Ulemas (Islamic religious scholars), whatever their views, were/are as helpless under a dictatorship as the rest of the population in the region.  They fared well when they did the dictators’ bidding and suffered or died when they resisted.

My second disagreement with Saleh is about the new crop of preachers. Saleh seems to believe that these new preachers that have sprung up in the Muslim world to challenge the status quo are a boon for Muslims. Are they? I don’t know but if disputes over prophetic sayings/traditions are the cause of many problems that plague Muslims (as Saleh contends), how are these new preachers with their “rebel” views going to help ? Wouldn’t their maverick opinions add fuel to the already raging fire by generating a fierce reaction from the vast body of traditionalists? Or are we assuming that they are so persuasive that the vast majority of the masses in the Muslim world will flock to them?

I fully agree with Saleh that vigorous intellectual engagement and debate is good for the Muslim world and that traditional interpretations of scriptures should not be taken for granted but this is a provision that already finds full expression within Islamic theology.  From its very inception, Islam has encouraged differences of opinions. The prophet (pbuh) said that “the disagreement of my people is a mercy.”  The Imams of the four Sunni schools of thought and their followers have coexisted for generations with mutual respect despite their differences.  They understood that interpretation differences were inevitable and never belittled or condemned each other over differences.

Revivalism, restoration, and Ijtihad (independent reasoning to find a solution to a legal question) have always been part of Islam.  The new preachers are hardly a novelty in this regard. The medium they use to spread their teachings is certainly new but they should not be viewed as a new phenomenon in Islamic societies. Furthermore, our assessment of the merit or value of these new preachers should not be based on how “rebellious” or how popular they are at a given point of time but on how sincerely they approach the task of interpretation. Thinkers of the caliber of Dr. Adnan Ibrahim should be welcome and encouraged provided they remain true to the central (core) precepts of the religion they profess to follow and as long as their preaching is not an attempt to make Islam palatable to modern sensibilities or conceptions of reality. I am just cautioning here and this is meant as a general observation and not meant to refer to any particular preacher. I must also note here that it is entirely possible that I may have misunderstood Saleh. If so, my apologies to him.

Going back to the issue at hand, are Muslims or Muslim societies more prone to violence than others? We have seen how ubiquitous violence has been throughout history (and still is) among all people. If this is a common legacy of humanity how did Muslims become associated with violence in the public mind?   How much of this perception is deserved and how much of it can be blamed on external factors? In my view, three different entities are to blame for this widely held association.

First of course are the culprits themselves (the terrorists) who commit terror and mayhem in the name of Islam.  They are so tiny a minority that by themselves and without the aid of mass media, they have no power to mold our perception which brings us to the 2nd source of this perception: the media.

The complicity of Media and the Islamophobia industry in perpetuating the myth of Muslim Violence

An essential tool for both democracies and dictatorships alike, media’s staggering ability to shape our opinions and thoughts is truly phenomenal. As Chomsky famously put it “propaganda is to a democracy what the bludgeon is to a totalitarian state””. The pivotal role played by media in today’s world and its ability to sway our thoughts is now an incontrovertible fact. With so much power in its hands, the impact of global media can be devastating when it fails to discharge its duties responsibly and evenhandedly.  Nowhere is this neglect as starkly manifest as in its coverage of Muslim violence.  The media employs a clear double standard when it comes to Muslims.  It spends a disproportionate amount of time covering terror acts committed by Muslims while it glosses over terror acts committed by all others thereby creating the impression that only Muslims are committing terror acts. As we shall see later, this impression is not supported by facts.  Examples of media double standard are many but here are a few examples to show how terror acts committed by non-Muslims are never dwelled upon.

Robert Dear, for example, who told the police “he dreamed he’ll be met in Heaven by aborted fetuses wanting to thank him” was never called a terrorist.  Timothy McVeigh, a racist Christian identity sect who killed 168 people was never described as a Christian terrorist.  Similar were the cases of Dylan Roof, the white supremacist who killed several blacks in church; Craig Hicks, a Muslim hater who killed 3 young Muslims in Chapel Hill; Joseph Stack who flew an airplane into IRS building; Robert Duggart who plotted to kill Muslims in New York; and Baruch Goldstein, the Jew who killed 29 and wounded 125 Muslim worshippers.  The perpetrators in all of these cases (and many more) were variously described as lone gunmen, unhinged, mentally disturbed etc… but they were never associated with any religion nor were they called terrorists.

When a “Muslim” commits a violent act, the reaction is completely different.  The media goes into apocalyptic frenzy and the perpetrator is immediately branded as an “Islamic terrorist” or a “Muslim terrorist” even if he never set foot in a mosque or never seriously took his religion.  Far from representing the faith, many of the so-called “Islamic terrorists” were in fact petty criminals who didn’t care much about their religion except as a cover. According to FBI, the 9-11 hijackers went to strip clubs and drank alcohol before committing their horrible act.  Similarly, Mohamed Lahouaiej Bouhlel, the perpetrator of Bastille Day massacre in Paris was a wife beater who drank alcohol and ate pork and according to his close family members including his ex-wife, he was an atheist who never attended a mosque.  The same is true of Khalid Masood who recently killed four people in London.  We are told that “he had a 20-year history of offending that saw him jailed at least twice.”  These are thus individuals who were already predisposed to commit crime.

Media double standard is partly due to the profit imperative.  Media is primarily driven by a desire for earnings and nothing increases ratings (profits) than the sensationalism produced by ‘odd looking and strange sounding foreigners’ that shout the name of their God as they butcher innocents. It is a perfect Hollywood material that is guaranteed to mesmerize audiences into staying glued to their TV for hours. All this should not come as a surprise however.  After all, this is the same media that has been doing it to blacks for years portraying them as inferior, violent, and incorrigible trouble makers.  It has simply added Muslims to the mix.

Third and by far the greatest source of deliberate misinformation about Islam and Muslims comes from the multi-million dollar industry of Islamophobia. This huge network of haters include elected representatives, Neo-Nazis, evangelical Christians, Zionists, radio/TV talk shows, pundits, bloggers, and many others.  For years, they have been hard at work producing voluminous anti-Muslim literature and films, conducting conferences, and spewing their hatred wherever and whenever they can – all for the single purpose of denigrating Islam and Muslims.  Besides possessing their own media prowess, they have also been manipulating mainstream media into adapting their sordid agenda. Please refer to american progress.org for an exposé on this group.

The above three major sources of misinformation are responsible for the myth that Muslims are more violent than others.  Imagine how different things would be if the roles were reversed and Muslims controlled the global media.  Here is a sample of how they may have gone about covering events assuming that they will also suffer from a bias similar to the one that is now directed at them.

  1. A) The crimes and terror acts of non-Muslims would receive prominent coverage in all major news networks and will be repeated for days, weeks, and even months.  Every act committed by a non-Muslim would be associated with his/her religion. The actions of “Muslim” terrorists would either receive no coverage at all or would be explained away as the acts of a lone wolf or of a person suffering from some mental ailment.   If the perpetrator happened to be a Christian, a panel of experts would quickly assemble to expound energetically on how this behavior is a hallmark of age-old Christian militancy and how this in turn can be traced back to biblical passages. Media pundits would remind viewers of the many wars of religion Europe went through and would cherry pick from history every atrocity committed by Christians to infer that there is something fundamentally wrong with Christianity. They would then loudly wonder whether Christianity should go through a yet another reformation to redeem itself.

Muslim media would feign utter shock at the rape and homicide rates in countries like US and dwell at length at what cultural weaknesses are to account for this. In Africa, the killings and kidnapping of thousands of innocents by the Christian extremists LRA (Lord’s resistance army) would receive ample coverage.  Comparable atrocities committed by Boko Haram would be glossed over.  Muslim experts on Christianity would also discuss the horrors of Rwandan massacre of Tutsis and will speculate learnedly if it can be attributed to innate Christian propensity to violence.  If they decide to cover the plight of Eritrean youth, it will be to present it as a flight of innocent Muslim youth from a brutal Christian dictator.

Brutal dictators will be propped up and installed in several Christian lands and in some cases a budding democracy toppled in favor of a dictatorship. The next day, this connivance will be totally forgotten and experts will begin to ponder whether democracy can ever thrive in Christian nations. Advisors will be sent to further explore options for democracy if at all feasible.   At other times, they will tacitly encourage a dictator they have been supporting for years to invade a neighboring country and when he does, they will pounce upon him with a vengeance.  New corrupt leaders will be hand-picked to replace him and to lead the country towards democracy.  Any signs of failure of the new regime will not be blamed on the corrupt system.  Instead, it will count as further evidence of the impossibility of democratizing Christian nations.

As you can see, it is a game of selective counting. That is how Muslims are being played by the media and the so-called experts on Islam and the charade has been going on for years. In today’s information intensive world, it is the owners of mass media and those with rhetoric muscle that define perception not evidence The seat of global media and dissemination as we all know resides in the west where Muslims are a small minority with little influence to correct the exaggerations or lies that are spread about them. Unlike the Jews, who are also a minority but with vast resources and expertise in the media, Muslims are still a neophyte when it comes to navigating the media outlets. So we have to go beyond headline and look at some relevant data if we are to arrive at a balanced picture. Here is a small sample:

Perception vs Reality: how headlines can obscure the truth

  1. It may come as a shock to many of us but the majority of terrorist acts in US were committed by non-Muslims.  Citing New America Foundation, a Washington think tank, Newsweek states that since 9/11, “the right-wing militants …have killed more people in the United States than jihadis have.” How many terror acts by non-Muslims can you recall? Interestingly, the study also found that the criminal justice system is biased against “Muslim” offenders treating them more harshly and indicting them more frequently than their non-Muslim counterparts. [i]
  2. According to FBI’s chronological list of terror acts from 1980-2005, only 6% were “Islamic”.[ii]
  3. The majority of terror acts in Europe were committed by non-Muslims.  According to Europol (European Police Office), “the vast majority of terrorist attacks in the EU between 2006 and 2013 are affiliated” not with Muslims but “with ethno-national or separatist motives, followed by left-wing attacks”.[iii]
  4. According to ADL, “from 2007 to 2016, a range of domestic extremists of all kinds were responsible for the deaths of at least 372 people in the United States. Seventy-four percent of these murders came at the hands of right-wing extremists such as white supremacists, sovereign citizens and militia adherents.”  It further asserts that  “of the 45 police officers killed by domestic extremists since 2001, 10 were killed by left wing extremists, 34 by right wing extremists and one by domestic Islamic extremists.“ [iv]
  5. Murder kills far more innocents than terrorism or even wars.  That is why some experts believe it is a better metric for measuring the rate of violence in societies.  Judged by such criteria, Muslim majority countries have significantly lower rates of homicide than non-Muslim countries according to a study by Steven Fish, a political scientist.  “If there really is an inherent—Islam-driven—propensity for deadly violence in Muslim societies,” writes Andrew Mack of Slate magazine, “we should expect to find that the greater the percentage of Muslims in society, the greater would be the numbers of homicides. In fact, the reverse is the case: The higher the percentage of Muslims in a society, the lower the homicide rate.”[v]

Conclusion

I hope you can see from the discussion above that the stereotype about Muslim proneness to violence is an exaggerated media induced sensationalism that has no factual basis.  Violence, terrorism or the killing of innocents is a sad aspect of human nature that has bedeviled humanity since time immemorial and will likely continue to thwart our best efforts to totally eradicate it. It has nothing to do with Islam, religion, race, or nationality and everything to do with human nature or its aberration. Only those with shallow grasp of history or current affairs and are also ignorant of the universality of human nature would typecast any group or people.   The fact that the vast majority of those that believe in a certain religion or philosophy never engage in terrorism or homicide is a standing refutation to all attempts to stereotype religion particularly Islam.

True, we witness a lot of problems in Muslim lands but this is no different from the phenomenon we see elsewhere in many developing nations of Africa, Asia, and the Americas that are caused by dictatorships, semi-dictatorships, and the collective neurosis of post-colonial cultural confusion. If you add to this the volatile elements of ongoing foreign interference, occupation, and the lure of oil, the product you get is what you see in the Middle East.


[i] Eichenwald, K. (2016, February 4). Right-Wing Extremists Are A Bigger Threat To America Than Isis. Newsweek. Retrieved from http://www.newsweek.com/2016/02/12/right-wing-extremists-militants-bigger-threat-america-isis-jihadists-422743.html

[ii] U.S. Department of Justice, Federal Bureau of Investigation (2002-2005). Terrorism 2002-2005. Retrieved from https://www.fbi.gov/stats-services/publications/terrorism-2002-2005#terror_05sum

[iii] EU Terrorism Situation & Trend Report (TE-SAT 2014), Reviewing the Terrorism Phenomenon. Retrieved from https://www.europol.europa.eu/activities-services/main-reports/eu-terrorism-situation-and-trend-report

[iv] ADL, Anti-Defamation League ((2017, February 16)). Report Says U.S. Deaths Linked to Domestic Extremists Second Only to Year of Oklahoma City Bombing. Retrieved from  https://www.adl.org/news/press-releases/adl-report-says-us-deaths-linked-to-domestic-extremists-second-only-to-year-of

[v] Mack, A. (2016, January 21). Of course it isn’t a religion of violence. If it were, why would so many Muslim societies be so peaceful? Slate. Retrieved from http://www.slate.com/articles/news_and_politics/politics/2016/01/islam_isn_t_inherently_violent_or_peaceful.html

Pinterest
  • Yosief Tewolde

    Peace,

    This is in response to the discussion on the above issue “Are Muslims Muslim Societies Prone to violence” between Saleh Gadi and Ismael (point blank) that I couldn’t locate in the mobile again.
    Ismael has point blank failed to respond my first question below. So, either one address my issue.

    1. Tell me in your terms, what muslim country or majority muslim country would you site as one to emulate? As peacefull and successful and joyous place to live in by CHOICE?

    Considering that Saleh, Ismael and myself CHOSE not to live in muslim countries, rather exploiting the freedom of expression in western democracy.

    My question 2 follows.

    2. Are the terms ‘peace’ and ‘love’ stated in the QurAn?

    This coming from me the author of the book “Glance at Eternity” you will be surprised.

    Check me on Twitter @Ucf_Seber

  • Yosief Tewolde

    Selamkum, I asked Ismael Omer Ali, my first question stated below, for which I did not get a reply.

    Greetings, and without prejudice let me state this.

    1. Tell me in your terms, what muslim country or majority muslim country would you site as one to emulate? As peacefull and successful and joyous place to live in by CHOICE?

  • Yosief Tewolde

    Selam Joseoph, while your comments make absolute sense, I feel you express them angrily which is not necessary.

  • cool

    Hi joseoph
    genius, but your comments are placed purposely in the middel even if newest, inorder nonody takes attention that you meant by !subtly advocating islam”,i understand!

  • Ismail

    Selamat Ismail A A /Tes,

    Long experience in discussions has enabled me to detect or sense people who are unable or unwilling to process a point of view that they have already closed their minds to. That is why I left you (dear Tes) to yourself not because I don’t respect or value what you have to say. No. In fact, I find you to be an intelligent and sensitive person from whom I can learn a lot. So if you are up to it, how about we start fresh with a friendly handshake?

    About what happened in Egypt….

    Of course I am shocked and saddened! Who wouldn’t be except the perpetrators themselves and their likes but nothing better can be expected from such a barbarous group that has also been butchering its own people and its own “coreligionists”. With this attack, it is intentionally trying to draw attention away from the series of defeats it has suffered in recent years. As much as I dread the prospect, I think it will continue to strike back even more viciously in the coming months or years as its end nears.

    It is essential, however, that the rest of the peaceful world (Muslims, Jews, Christians etc..) does not fall into its hands. In other words, We should not be drawn into its deliberate attempts to pit Muslims against Christians but instead regard them as we would any organized crime syndicate with a Muslim insignia. Nor should we leap into unwarranted conclusions by imputing it on all Muslims or by adapting a puerile mentality that only those horrible “Muslims” are killing innocents. We should instead do like what some Muslims are doing as we speak by trying to raise $20,000 (crowdfunding) to help all that were affected by the attack.

    My best wishes and prayers to the victims and families of this attack. I also pray for the continued prosperity of that grand historical church. May it thrive and prosper!

    Ismail (pointblank)

    • iSem

      Hi Ismail: What a nice comment.!

      I have a few questions: notwithstanding my disagreement with you regarding the media bias against Islam, let us assume that the media and the west with some divine intervention call every white serial killer a terrorist and every Goldstein a terrorist, would that solve the problem of ISIS and the hypocrites, non-practicing, Muslim for dummies reading people who commit the crimes of 911, and the Egypt church, the Uganda restaurants, etc., would they become dinosaurs? Although your piece did a good job in demystifying the issues/misconceptions that an average Joe and “Gere” have about Islam and Muslims, I do not think even doing that will deter the Baghdadis and Osomas and Alzawaris and you know why the later was radicalized, a medical Dr. and devout Muslims too.

      The Muslim countries from where the overwhelmingly majority of “terrorist come from need to transform from conglomerates that benefits of mere scores of privileged brats to nations. Colonization? Well that is the human history: The Assyrians invaded Egypt, the Phoenicians invade someone, the Farris invade Babylon and so on, and the reason Africa and Middle east is so corrupt that it has become fertile ground for such people who do not represent Islam is because the corrupted kings and princes and dictators loot their people by sleeping with the West, the Europeans did not really leave, they just found a cheaper way to colonize. Good for the West, they are looking for their interests, they are not here to go to heaven, they do what they do to live with comfort and happiness If the Countries I mention here do not smarten up, once the west is done with them, once their oil runs out or is not needed that much, they will have the fate of Libya and it is not getting better, after ignoring Africa for a long time USA now has about 40 bases in Africa through AFRICOM to counter the Chinese investment in the region. So the “biased media”, the bigoted whites, those who do not call Goldstein a terrorist are not the cause of the if ISIS, and Al-Qaida and Taliban.
      Otherwise, your article is an enlightenment for those who are not willfully ignorant.
      Thanks
      Semere Andom

      • Ismail AA

        Selam iSem,

        While your take on the role of the corrupt lot of rulers in Middle Eastern countries is by and large true, omitting the forces that installed them and guaranteed their security against the peoples they ruled, and continue to rule, renders the picture incomplete. The story had to be seen from broader prespective.

        In the aftermath of the death of the sick man of Europe (Ottoman Empire) with the end of WWI and the joint design of the French and the British through the infamous Sykes-Picot (with complicity of the Russian Empire) in 1916-1917, the region from North Africa to the Gulf was set on the path of developing to what we are witnessing today. They had parceled the region into small entities and installed rulers whose fate was firmly put in what the interest of the imperial powers dictated. That picture was exasperated by installing the Israeli entity at the expense of a whole people, which kept the region in perpetual tension and instability, in addition of wars that depleted the resources of the peoples in the region at the cost of development and progress. The clientele political rules, economies, cultural and religious conservatism had resulted in massive deprivation, ignorance and youth unemployment that became fertile soil for secular radicalism that degenerated to religious zealotry. Thus, the role of the despotic clan (family) rulers and dictators cannot be seen in isolation of the guarantors and protectors, the British and the French previously and the US and allies after WWII.

        Moreover, post WWII political Islam of Hassan Al Bana, Said Qutb and Ganal al-Din Al- Afghani, as well as the various traditional and moderate sufi trends had later become springboards for more radical and puritanical variants in the name of Salafi movements that have been nourished through the funds garnered from oil wealth which the rulers provided to religious establishments in the Arabian Peninsula in exchange of according modicum of legitimacy before their oppressed peoples.

        The invasion of Afghanistan in 1979 by the Soviets had provide a watershed opportunity to those extremist variants because the West needed ideological rationale to mobilize fighting forces to confront the atheistic and communist power that had invade a Moslem country. One thing they needed to do was to guide and counsel their clientele regimes in the Arabian Peninsula to launch Jihadist campaign and recruitment. That way men like Ben Laden who belonged to fabulously rich families volunteered and joined the fighting forces. That was the beginning of transforming hitherto faith promotion movements in to fighting contingents.

        The Afghanistan experiences became inviolable capacity generating tool, which was later on fuelled by the emergence of Mola Omar’s seminary students movement that emerged to prominence and became the first Emirate for the Jihadi Salafist movement. That experience did not disappear in spite of the challenges it had faced from military invasions under the leadership of the US. The invasion of Iraq in 2003 provided an alternative terrain and we had people like Zarqawi and Al Bagdadi in Iraq, and Al Jollani and more in Syria, not to mention Somalia, Yemen, the Sahel region and North Africa and deeper south in Nigeria.

        Thus, terrorism in the Middle East and the contiguous regions should be observed in the narrow context of the Gulf Sheikhdoms and military dictatorships. It has to be looked at broader perspective that encompasses the old and new imperial powers and their role in installing the regimes and preservation of their rules.

        Regards

        • iSem

          Hi Ismail AA:
          I do not disagree with your comment. What I am saying is this: While the countries who produced almost all the terrorists, while the Africans study, and complain about how 100 years ago the Europeans did that or did this, the USA and Europe will march ahead in science and technology by siphoning the wealth of Africa and middle east, leaving both in abject poverty and in 200 years from now, the whining Africans and Middles east will be useless to the USA and Europeans, the oil will not be needed or will run out and whites will drive their SUVs with with solar and maybe Hydrogen power, leaving until they read 200 years in good health (BY are you listening) and leaving Africa and Asia to the dust to colonize Mars and other planets.
          I know the new craze is Africa is rising, nope, it is not rising, it is declining, brace for more disintegration: Sudan into 2 more coutnries, Nigeria, and many of the countries that were needeld together. The proxy war that gave us south Sudan, is an indication of how the Africans are clueless and the poor mere mortals were celberating and dancing like headless chickens bout the so called independence and now the UN has warned they fear genocide
          Before it gets better, it will get worse in Africa. Middle east, what is keeping them is good old oil and if they do not cleanse themselves from the scourge, they will ride their camels when they roam to rule their Califate.

          About how the Europeans did create the rulers and countries to fit their interests, you got that right and if the leaders are so stupid to be sold, then I applaud the crooked (the smart whites). And if roles weer reversed, that is if the Africans and Arabs were the colonizers, they would not do it differently out of their God or Vood fearing hearts.

          • Ismail

            Selamat Semere/Ismail AA

            What is one of the fundamental principles of problem solving that is taught in all schools and that is also one of the fundamental tools scientists, sociologists, psychologists, and almost all professionals use to solve or fix things? Don’t they all begin by first examining and understanding the underlying causes? Does a doctor attempt to cure a patient before identifying the cause? Can a plumber fix a leaky faucet without tracing its source?

            It is not to complain or wallow in our miseries that we seek to understand how things came to be the way they are, Semere, but to hopefully find a way out of the plight we find ourselves in. If we don’t, then it is easy to succumb to a feeling of inferiority complex vis-a-vis Europeans. Such an attitude will not only make us lose hope as things stand now but worse it will make us unable to envision a better future which in your case seems to have already happened judging by how nonchalantly you write off Africans and other non Europeans. As psychologists have known for some time, your attitude can be a self-fulfilling prophecy.

            You can applaud the crooked “smart whites” (as you put) if you like for manipulating their way into greatness but remember, in the end, every civilization must be judged not on how it improved material comforts but on how successfully it enhanced man’s inner tranquility and sense of well being. Crookedness and greed may elevate us above others in the short run but it also simultaneously paves the way to our own self-destruction in the long run. A civilization that brought us so close to destroying our own planet cannot be considered as an all-around “smart” anything.It is not smartness that we need in the world. It is wisdom and farsightedness. If you want to applaud them, applaud them for the many other good qualities they possess not for their shortcomings.

            Ismail (pointblank)

          • iSem

            Selam Ismail:
            your comment is classic: meaning insightful and the point and pointblank too. I like it
            But here what I am saying. The applauding of crookedness is hyperbole, a metaphor, but I value the opposite, I hope you know that.
            I am not as clear and precise writer as you are, but if I was going to summarize my comments to you. I would say this:
            yes, we have to know the root cause, but the responsibilty of the victims is also important. The Europeans made a deal with the corrupt leaders and the corrupted leaders chose to be corrupted for 100 years, they had a choice, they have a choice and they will have a choice I am not blaming the poor people who are misled

          • Ismail

            Selamat Semere,

            Then we agree. I appreciate your clarification. Yes. the responsibility of the victims is also important – even more so. .

            Ismail (pointblank)
            .

      • Ismail

        Selamat Semere,

        Thanks for your insightful remarks.

        Would I be happy if the media started calling “every white serial killer a terrorist and every Goldstein a terrorist”. Of course not! How can I? In either case, innocents are dying. But remember that was not the object of my article. As the title of my article indicates and as I expounded in the article itself and in the commentary section, everything I wrote – every example I gave – was geared to debunking the common stereotype that Muslims are singularly prone to violence. I gave various examples to prove that contrary to what we have been led to believe, non-Muslims have also been committing a lot of terrorism that was underreported.

        As you know, we just learned about the sad murder of innocents in Egypt but how much do we hear about the persecution, murder, rape, and ethnic cleansing of Rohingya Muslims by Buddhists or the persecution of Uyghur Muslims in China, or the plight of Palestinians who still live under Israel apartheid in the twenty first century? And there are many others. Do you count these crimes as acts of terrorism? You probably don’t. That is why you think that the majority of “terrorists” come from Muslim countries. Who is committing more terrorist acts in the world. I frankly don’t know ( neither do you by the way ) because this is a highly subjective call and depends entirely on what acts you choose to characterize as acts of terror. Do we include extra-judicial killing by Governments or drone attacks or CIA-sanctioned tortures or bombings? As you can see, it is not that simple. It is to elucidate this very subjectivity – “it is in the eyes of the beholder” – nature of this issue that I included how a biased Muslim media might report events in the imaginary scenario I provided.

        Ismail (pointblank)

        • Yosief Tewolde

          Ismail, you state, Palestinians who still live under Israel apartheid in the twenty first century? True, on the other angle, Would Palestine as a nation practice Democracy, or is it better under the Israeli apartheid which practices democracy for itself?

          • Simon Kaleab

            Selam Yosief,

            Apartheid means segregation. There is no Apartheid in Israel. The Arabs [who call themselves Palestinians] chose not to follow the UN 1947 Partition Plan. Instead, they demanded to takeover the entire area stretching from River Jordan to the Mediterranean Sea. Supported by many Arab dictatorships, they declared war on Israel and lost. What a gamble with their lives! But, war has consequences. Now, they are blaming everyone else except themselves. But they still have a chance to form a peaceful State if they want to.

          • Yosief Tewolde

            Peace
            on my Twitter page I say.

            Would Palestine as a nation practice democracy- or is it better off under Israeli appartheid?

            Check me on @Ucf_Seber

          • Simon Kaleab

            Selam Yosief,

            What Apartheid? There is no Apartheid in Israel. On the contrary, the Arab world is full of Apartheid.

          • Yosief Tewolde

            Peace, I get the point.

          • Saleh Johar

            Hi Simon,
            The name of the country you are praising is officially called “Jewish State” and I believe you know the implication. Israel is not different than any country in the region. And the Palestinians are Arabs, not “they call themselves Arabs”.

          • Simon Kaleab

            .
            Selam Saleh,

            The context of Israel calling itself Jewish State is because it is the only State formed by Jewish refugees. This does not imply that people of other religions cannot live in it. It is a fact that Israel is the only democratic country in the Middle East where Jews, Christians and Muslims live side by side freely.

            By the way, if you could check again, what I said was: The Arabs [who call themselves Palestinians] and not “they call themselves Arabs”.

          • Saleh Johar

            Hi Simon,
            I am very aware of the history of Palestine which was only known as such until WW2 and Jewish, Christians and Muslims lived in peace for centuries. But I understand your views, it’s a prevalent view among Zionists, and the Christian Right. If you believe might is right you can defend your position but if you are about justice , then your conclusion would be totally wrong. There is no justice in displacing people from their land to accommodate migrants from other places.

          • Simon Kaleab

            Selam Saleh,

            The Arabs [who call themselves Palestinians] chose not to follow the UN 1947 Partition Plan. This would have enabled them to form their own State almost 70 years ago. Is this factually incorrect?

            Furthermore, recall, that the Arabs themselves used the principle of “might is right” for centuries to rob many countries of their lands.

            More importantly, as far us the relevance of this topic to Eritrea is concerned, out country will be better off having strong relations with Israel. Israel’s knowhow in desert agriculture, water and soil conservation, recycling, renewable energy, desalination, pharmaceuticals, software engineering, electronics, defence and security will benefit Eritrea immensely.

          • Haile Zeru

            Hi Simon,

            Any knowledge that’s available in Israel is available in any other developed country. Israel has nothing to give Eritrea.
            On the contrary Israel was always ready to aid the enemies of Eritrea to annihilate the Eritrean liberation movements. And lately in the 1998 to 2000 war it aligned with Ethiopia to destroy the Eritrean nation.
            I do not know where your simpathy to this nation stems from?

          • Simon Kaleab

            Selam Haile,

            Knowledge is created by the bright and the inventive mind, it is not available on a plate to fools like you.

            Tell me, which one of the Arab religious paradises can bring scientific, mathematical, engineering, medical and agricultural knowledge transfers to Eritrea?

          • Haile Zeru

            Hi Simon,

            The contents and form of your message show your limitation.

          • Simon Kaleab

            Selam Haile,

            Says a braying donkey.

          • Haile Zeru

            Hi Simon,

            I knew you are devoid of substance but at least I tried.
            Next time you brag about the apertheid state of Israel
            try to backup your claims.

          • Simon Kaleab

            Selam Haile,

            Keep on braying like the donkey you are. What is your substance?

          • Haile Zeru

            Hi Simon
            From your comments, this and previous ones, I understand that talking to you is a useless effort.
            But trying does not harm any body.
            Please see the links below and tell me if the term apartheid does not fit the Israeli state?

            http://m.jpost.com/Diplomacy-and-Politics/Desmond-

            Tutu-Israel-guilty-of-apartheid-in-treatment-of-Palestinians-344874

            https://www.google.ca/amp/s/amp.theguardian.com/world/2010/may/23/israel-south-africa-nuclear-weapons

          • Simon Kaleab

            Selam Haile,

            There is nothing to be gained by talking to you because you are brain dead. Enjoy your company with Desmond Tutu, you are two of a kind.

          • Haile Zeru

            Hi Simon,
            Typical of you. That’s the way the Israeli kinesset reacted, years ago , to Bishop Desmond Tutu’s visit. They had invited him to give a speech but later they cancelled it. Simply because they could not
            Stand the truth.

          • Simon Kaleab

            Selam Haile,

            Keep on crying. You are a professional cry baby like your friend Tutu.

          • Haile Zeru

            Hi Simon,
            Bishop Desmond Tutu is one of the greatest Africans. He deconstructed
            Apartheid without firing a shot. He slapped (morally) publicly the Israeli regime (apertheid).
            And scolded Ronald Reagan
            Just at the door steps of white house.
            Is that crying for you?

          • Simon Kaleab

            Selam Haile,

            Ask your professional cry baby friend, Tutu, if the murder rate has gone down, health service and the quality of education have improved in post-Apartheid South Africa.

          • Haile Zeru

            Hi Simon,
            I forgot to say that he (Desmond Tutu) deconstructed Apertheid that was armed with nuclear warheads from the state of israel without firing a single shot. That is the greatest achievement, so far, of any non-violent movement.

          • Simon Kaleab

            Selam Haile,

            So, professional Cry baby Tutu overthrew a government through his river of tears? Amazing!

            You may copy Tutu’s example and apply it to Eritrea. Try your best.

    • tes

      Selam Ismail,

      Nothing is personal and there is no reason of not shaking hands. First as human being and second as an Eritrean, my hands are always open not only to you but for everyone. When I ask question or argue with it is within the motto of awate/com: Inform, inspire, embolden and reconcile. For this I am fearless. If I exceed that excuse me.

      Today terrorism is everywhere and by everyone: religious; non-religious; Black-white; Arabs-Non Arabs, Muslims-Non-Muslims, Christians-NonChristians. Terrorism is not specific to a speicific.

      My issue is on the rationalization – if there is terrorism today, we have to say it. We can not rationalize today’s terrorism because there was also 1000 or 2000 years ago.

      We have a problem today and we need to solve it.

      No matter what the news media report or distort, there is undeniable terrorism acts. One of typical terrorist group is ISIS. ISIS is not a Muslim terroris but uses Muslims to terrorize everyone.

      If Crusade was not good yesterday so is ISIS. Both are evil and we have to say it as such. SImple. After that we need to embolden people to combat against. This is my point.

      I believe that I am open – a liberal democrat. I don’t stick to one idea or concept. I believe on progressive ideals. And thank you for the compliment.

      tes

      • Ismail

        Selamat Tes,

        Thanks for reciprocating in kind. I agree with you that “we can not rationalize today’s terrorism because there was also 1000 or 2000 years ago.” The reference to humanity’s historical past was alluded to only to show the human nature aspects of aggression which we share with the animal kingdom.

        Ismail (pointblank)

      • Yosief Tewolde

        Hello Tes, Existance of Crusade yesterday does not justify existence of ISIS today!

  • Ismail AA

    Dear tes,
    Your concern about human rights should be commended. It is universal human value, and codified in international instruments. This human value and international humanitarian law must be respected be it in Egypt or anywhere else. I think Egypt and its government as members of international community and the UN are aware of their responsibility in protecting their citizens regardless of their faith or political persuasions. Declaring state of emergency must have been prompted by the acute conditions the bloodshed the terrorists had committed.
    In raising the geopolitical issue on my part was because I understood that it hinted to using the Nile River water as leverage on the Egyptians to respect human rights in their country. The point I tried to make was that using water as leverage would be violation of human rights because it would violate international law and human value of preservation of life.
    Incidentally,tes, what happened to the project about the opposition you was busy developing?
    Regards

  • said

    Greeting,
    How African Muslims “Civilized Spain” by Garikai Chengu is a scholar at Harvard University.
    Today marks the anniversary of the end of nearly 700 years of African Muslim rule over Spain, Portugal and Southern France. Please find link.
    http://www.globalresearch.ca/history-how-african-muslims-civilized-spain/5583981

  • Yosief Tewolde

    Yosief Tewolde says check me on Tweeter under @ucf_seber

  • said

    Salam
    Timely reminder of how Islamic culture helped Europe out of Dark Ages
    There was a time when Muslim spread bacon of lights and mastered in ever field of science and transmit knowledge to Europe and Transformed Western Civilization, please see the link is short article based a book. The House of Wisdoms an exciting collection of facts and ideas By Jonathan Lyons
    http://www.irishtimes.com/opinion/timely-reminder-of-how-islamic-culture-helped-europe-out-of-dark-ages-1.690805

  • Nitricc

    Greetings people: well, you know what is going on with US and the Muslim world but is very surprising the speed of bombing Syria by the trump administration. I have an idea the reason why but listen to this former chief of staff of the bush administration. why do you think?
    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Ah14yOHWrGY

  • tes

    Dear Awatawyan,

    What Egyptian could have said if the Nile River was left to dry by building big dams in the upper source of the water?

    If they consider Nile is their absolute right as it is the only water source for their living, why Christian Egyptians are becoming the target of their beliefs? Isn’t it the right of every individual to believe in what he believes?

    21 Killed in Church Bomb Attack in Egypt’s Tanta

    @disqus_7wtJlglZNM:disqus are you going to rationalize this attack again?

    tes

    • Ismail AA

      Dear tes,
      While letting you wait response from Ismail OA, there is no sane person that would justify or rationalize wasting lives of innocent human beings from whatever nation or religion they may come from. The murder of those Egyptians must be squarely condemned and everything should be done to get rid of the perpetrators.
      Those who committed the murder do not represent the religion they claim to profess. In my judgement from what I understood from Ismail’s article the members of these murderers fall in the category he had termed as tiny segment of otherwise peace-loving Uma, which I am sure, from what I so far know about you and your knowledge, you are very much aware about this matter. Thus, I would take risk and argue that you do not really mix geopolitics based arguments with the crimes those murderers commit.
      Regards

      • tes

        Selam Ismail AA,

        Thank you for your comment. Ismail, the author of the article, is one whom I found him a fanatic and really worrisome to the struggle for justice. I think I can not take him free of his irresponsible take. I am very serious with him. I found him a partisian(the first person to be accused by me for his political and biased views).

        On the geopolitcal case:

        I believe that egypt should be the first country to respect human rights. Egyptians, every single egyptian should be the first human being to respect what a rights to live without threating the life other mean.

        Today, Christians in egypt live in terror. They can not worhsip their God freely. If the people of egypt cannot protect their own citizens who else can protect them. I believe ISIS should not have place in egypt.

        The reason I brought Nile river is because of the rights of human being to live. And this will be my question to all egyptians until the rights of every egyptian is respected to live freely without being afraid of death for his/her own life.

        I will ask for every egyptian because every egyptian knows what human rights means. It is a call of respecting human rights to live, no more no less.

        tes

        • Abi

          Hi Tes
          Ismail ( the author) is by no means the first one to be accused by you.
          These are some of awatistas you accused in the past.
          1. Amanuel Hidrat
          2.Saay7 ( chauvinist)
          3. Hayat Adem ( vampire)
          4. Mahmud Saleh ( EPLF)
          I mentioned only the big guys.
          You were busy killing them one by one I called awate “የሙታን ከተማ”

          • Tess Redie

            Selam Abi,

            1. I didn’t accuse Amanuel Hidrat for his political views. I once criticized him for being hopeless. And recently for his stance on the separatation of Civic vs. Political organizations.

            2. Saay7 – I agree. But I am changing now. Time will come what I have to say.

            3. Hayat Adam – it is not for her political views. I callled as such for supporting Ethiopias attack and her open call for Ethiopia to intervene militarily. It was a reminder of the victim’s death tolls. Otherwise I agree with Hayat Adem in most of her political views.

            4. Mahmud Saleh is an EPLF. No need to call him as such. My dispute with Mahmud is for ignoring (youth suffering). These time he seems he understood youth suffering and hopefully he will fully embrace our grievances.

            tes

          • Abi

            Hawuna Tess
            I have noticed that you have changed a lot.
            Congrats on PSG win today.
            Have a drink and celebrate!!

  • Michael Tesfamariam

    Ismail bro,
    Think of those tiny minority with poisonous ideology who kill everyone who do not agree with theirs ideologies. I have never heard anyone saying all Muslims 1.6 billion are violent extremists. After all the number is not relevant in my view, small fraction of the society still have the capacity to murder significant number of lives,, imagine how many people can get killed with just small amount of Polonium. Please don’t use this 1.6 Muslims argument. |Again, you are referring sources brought by the same media outlets you want to attack. You cannot just pick and choose, be consistent on your stance on the media, if you think the Western media is spreading a false narrative about Muslims, don’t ever use them as sources to back your argument. Another is, yes I agree and there is no justification why the term “terrorism” is reserved for attacks perpetrated only by people who happens to be Muslims. But, the most important is understanding the motive behind the killings or terrorism. Every violent attacks on innocent people no matter who does should be given the same name,,,terrorism. The only thing worth knowing is the MOTIVE. Today, I don’t think there is no one who deny the fact that almost all the deaths and destruction through out the Middle East and beyond are caused by religious fanaticism. Yes, they are small percentage of the Muslim population but look at the length and level of damages they have brought upon the vast majority of the peace loving decent Muslims and other minorities in the region. You might have heard tenths of people get killed in Chicago everyday but this cannot and must not be associated with any kind of religious, political or other forms of ideologies. Forget about individual terrorism being carried out by Muslims in Europe and elsewhere,,,, look at what Saudi and Iran are doing right now in the Middle East,,, please don’t just blame the West although they have done a lot in destabilizing the region but look what the Shia and Sunni competition going on at the expense of hundreds of thousands innocent lives of their citizens. Please,, lets not just pretend that the Muslim world is fine,, but the right wing Christians. Look at the two major Islamic centers,,Iran and Saudi,,,do you really think the Koran is misinterpreted by the two models of Islamic countries? Everything what ISIS is doing to Muslims, Christians, Yazidi and other minorities is imitated from these two countries. But, as Eritrean I am extremely proud of my fellow Eritrean Muslims never think of harming their fellow citizens because of their faith or ideology.

    • Saleh Johar

      Hi Michael,
      I really appreciate your comment. Thank you for being reasonable.

      Now that you have expressed your pride of your Muslim compatriots, let me whisper to you what annoys some of your Muslim compatriots. I am sure you have noticed how through and through Eritreans compatriots find it handy to insult and attack their Muslim compatriots simply for being Muslim. Do you know what is the most prevalent insult I get since I started to write on the Internet, or since I became vocal in my opposition to the PFDJ goons? That is right, insulting me based on my religious identity, Jihadist, terrorist, Islamist, etc. Of course I am raising that in context, since we are discussing terrorism, and the catch-phrase is Muslim, but I also know of Muslims who are pretty liberal in insulting their Christian compatriots, though not as bad because it seems many think it is all right to insult Muslims, they think they have the license. Another thing that annoys your Muslim compatriots is when people want to hold them responsible for the cultural flaws of other countries simply because they are Muslim majority countries. And believe me, it has become so intense in the last few years, even the most patient are getting pushed to the corner.

      I hope you see that as a major flaw in our public discourse, otherwise, in a stable environment, in our own country, without the interference of the PFDJ, we are a fine people and I am confident we will handle such problems the way we dealt with them throughout our history. As a nation, we have seen a lot of Zeragito forces appear and disappear. We just need to have our freedom back.

      Thank you again

      • Michael Tesfamariam

        Hi brother Sales,
        Sorry, am using my mobile,,, but yeah I am perfectly aware of all this nonsenses & vilifications that could be directed at you & other fellow compatriots who are genuinely fighting the regime at home. They do not have sensible arguments to defend a murderous regime. Take it as pride though coz at the end of the day they know exactly what you are fighting for. It is not surprising to me to see when a bunch of benighted individuals from HGDEF engaged in such cheap propaganda stuffs to protect criminal regime. Yeah, especially this days it has become very fashionable for some supporters of the regime to denigrate & attack anyone on their religion if they are Muslims or their region and ethnicities if they are Christians. But, lets not just fall in their hand, & forget what is going on around the world as it has nothing to do with us, lets just concentrate on our own issues, everyone of us has moral & national responsibilities to respect & protect each other from those toxic & desperate handful Eritreans who are trying to use religion or region to devide us. As I have always said to my fellow Eritreans & friends from the West in various occasions we as society are far superior to the rest of the world when you come to our attitude toward religion,, we do not have to worry about any possible religion or region driven sectarian tenstions. ,,, having said that Eritreans must be able to disable this absolutely flawed & rubbish narrative designed by HGDEF to oppress anyone who apears to be a threat to their heniou crimes.

  • saay7

    Hala Ismail:

    Thank you for this piece presented with your usual high standards of presenting an argument with lawyer-like precision. I wish I could write an article of equal length to advance the debate but since I can’t, here are some comments designed to help us clarify your thesis:

    1. The article appears to say violence was, is and will be with us and that it is part of human nature. That is a pessimistic view and not entirely supported by data. Here’s why: if as MLK postulated, the arc of the universe may be long but it curves towards justice, isn’t it also true that it curves toward peace? Don’t you agree with me that the rules of war have completely changed since the time of Genghis Khan (or for that matter Prophet Mohammed)? That it’s not ok now to treat prisoners of war like private possessions, to give a simple example? That it’s not ok (as the God of the Old Testament ruled) that there will be collective punishment and preventive wars (of killing the first borns)? And isn’t all of that credit to the collective will of people via their instruments like the United Nations?

    2. Is some generalization not allowed? Here’s the safest one: most wars are ordered, carried out by men. Most violent crimes are. Therefore, men are more prone to violence. No?

    3. You appear to have redefined the meaning of terrorism as killing of innocents and leaving out the second half: to affect a political outcome. By that definition, we would have to define terrorism as being almost wholly owned and operated by people who claim to be Muslims. Agree strongly on your assertion that they are not *practicing Muslims*: I don’t know which nutcase it was (I think it was the one who bombed the guy club in Florida just before he pledged loyalty to ISIS): it was determined that his last purchase via Amazon was book entitled “Islam for dummies”

    saay

    • iSem

      Hi Sal:
      1. Yes, despite the 7/24 coverage of the violence, the world has become safer, not just the rules of war, but we kill each other less, we are getting “civilized”, who is doing the civilizing is hitherto unknown:-) But even though we experience less violence, it does not mean that human beings are getting less violent, we are just proactively preventing it, our laws, our ability to find them and even predict them has increased with tech and science and we will get better. But human beings still are violent, that nature, that DNA has not changed. Who would have thought that Eritreans and Ethiopians after the ware did to each other (I am paraphrasing you here, when you were shocked to find that), who would have thought Eritrean crime over Eritrean (not talking about PFDJ), but the normal village or” gezawti “kid would harvest the organ of his fellow Eritreans or sell them to Rashaidas. “ezi hawka eyu…”, and feeling safe among Eritreans is a myth, so I say Ismail is correct on that. This new year, I shocked a friend when she asked me to take here to Habesha rest. I did and she commented that: She feels safe in Habesha rest and n. hoods; do you feel safe too? I replied, I do not feel safe because they are less prone to harm me, but I feel safe because I can read their body language, maybe decipher their code and because I belong to the culture, I have more chances of figuring out their condensing remarks and plans.
      So the inherent human violence is still intact just lurking to appear when opportunity is right and it would still go on as far as long humanity is around, unless we evolve as we did before from apes and now to angels
      2. Yes, most wars are ordered by men and violence too, and this does not mean women are far less violent, they are far less in a position to do so, give them power, the small amount of testesterone will increase and they will be equally violent
      3. I agree. But what is Muslim? Is it by practice or by birtth?. Someone is born into a devout Muslim family, he grows up and he believes in God, but he drinks, he is promiscuous, he does not fast, his name is still, when asked about his faith, he proudly replies, “thanks Allah, I am Muslim” Mohammed and one day he commits terrorist attacks. So is the “biased” western media wrong to call him a Muslim did what he did. And the media is always bcareful to define “radical” Islam, something that Saleh G was saying about those who interpret the reading of some discredited Islamic scholars/word of mouth narrators, that is where I disagree with Ismail When Dr. Godestein killed the Muslims, it was terrorism and the media called him that

      My believe is that the Arab word, where almost the terrorist come from and the Muslims countries in general need to have a free media, even a “biased” one like the West’s, and they have to purge the terrorist and the terrorist from their middest with rule of law and getting really civilized and do not get me wrong by civilized I do not mean to be the like whites, but to be real Muslims, realm followers of Islam and their women to be like Kadijja a When some fanatic does what they did to Melal in the name of Islam, the media does not have a choice but to call those who committed the crime Afgan Muslims.

    • Simon Kaleab

      Selam Saay,

      Most women may not directly commit violence, but they inspire men to do violence.

      The mathematician Paul Erdos had the following description of women and other things:

      – Women were “bosses”.

      – Men were “slaves”.

      – People who had married were “captured”.

      – People who had divorced were “liberated”.

      – God, he said hid the Book of elegant mathematical proofs from Humans, he called the “Supreme Fascist”

      [ – People who stopped doing mathematics had “died”.

      – People who physically died had “left”.

      – Alcoholic drinks were “poison”.

      – Music (except classical music) was “noise”.

      – To give a mathematical lecture was “to preach”.

      – To give an oral exam to a student was “to torture” him/her.]

      • saay7

        Selam Simon:

        What a peachy guy, this mathematician. Let me guess: he is divorced and listens to classical music.

        Statistically speaking the overwhelming majority of violent crimes all over the world across all cultures since the beginning of time were committed by men. The woman whispered something in the mans ear has been used since Adam was kicked out of the Garden of Eden.

        saay

        • Abi

          Hi Saay
          A little correction here. This mathematician was never married. Who is going to marry this lunatic? ( ” even if you are the last chicken in Atlanta….” I hope you remember this line from Gone With The Wind.
          Even if he is the last male on earth no sane woman would marry him.
          “Is Mathematics discovered or Invented?” It was a topic of discussion on a radio show. I think I heard it on Satellite radio. If you can find it I suggest you listen to it . It is worth your time.

          • iSem

            Hi Abi:
            a big correction, whether a women would marry a mathematicain or not depends on the era. Before extra large, bald, clean shaven became trend, women used to be attracted to breaded, with uncombed hair, a thinker who wore different color of socks, who quoted obsucre literture, a man who would talk about math and who was good at fencing
            Nothing is invented, even cars and planes are discovered, people dicover the rules/laws that govern aviation, and motion and computation and harness them to “assemble” cars and planes. Even the vaccines and medicines that my friend BY hates ( those discovered before last 50 years) were discovered, scientist discover a molecule and its properties and they discover how it reacts with certain molecules and “assemble”(formulate) it in the molecular level and they call it invetion

          • Abrehet Yosief

            Hi iSem,
            Abi was referring to the particular mathematician quoted above, not all mathematicians in general. And Abi you are right, Paul Erdos never married.

          • Abi

            Hi Abrehet Haftey
            Thanks for defending me from this guy.
            ያልሰማ ጆሮ ከጎረቤት ያጣላል

          • saay7

            Hey Abi:

            Figures! frigging dork.

            Math and nature and truth. Years ago, I saw a Ted Talks video about math and nature (God if you like) and how Africans intuitively understood the beauty of fractals. Most of it was referencing West Africa (of course), the exception being what they called the Ethiopian cross (the Tewahdo cross): that’s a fractal. I thought of design I had seen in my childhood of Tenkobet and pillow cases: they were all fractals. And maybe my cuz Gheteb has discovered something about the Adulis people (Adulisian?) and how they were into fractals? If they don’t have one, Cuz gheteb will just trash fractals and how useless they are😂

            Join me in nominating Gheteb as Awate’s ambassador to Agazian: he will just tell them you are full of it and give them references and footnotes.

            saay

    • Nitricc

      Hey SAAY; I wonder what your take will be to some people’s assertion that religion is some form of mental illness. Is there any point to this assertion? After all reliogn makes people see something is not there.

      • saay7

        Hey Nitrric:

        I think religion is the natural outcome when one asks “who am I? And why am I here?” When applied correctly, it gives people something that no amount of money, education, class, occupation can: inner peace. I have a friend who works in a hospital and he says even 90 year old people fight like hell to stay alive because death is that scary. Religion also mitigates fear of death.

        saay

    • Ismail

      Selamat Saleh/iSem

      Thanks for the feedback and for the very thoughtful questions you pose below.

      1. Am I pessimistic about total peace? No. I like to think of it as a well considered realism.

      I could be wrong of course but at this point in time, I find it difficult to envision a future nirvana for humanity unless we are talking about the next world or a distant planet populated by people with similar needs and identical temperaments. But as long as humans walk the earth with their free will, their fickle emotions of fear, pride, jealousy, anger, ego, and greed, conflicts will always be inevitable I think. If nothing else, the earth’s limited natural resources will make sure we continue to fight one another. Yes, as you allude to above, there have been heroic attempts by many to tilt the world towards peace but very little tangible successes has resulted and the yearning for world peace remains as an illusive a quest today as it was in prior centuries.

      As we know, there was a general assumption among enlightenment thinkers and even before that the advancement of civilization and worldwide diffusion of knowledge will bring about a more humane and harmonious world. They firmly believed that human beings are inherently rational and that the spread of science (or more specifically the proper use of reason) will usher a prosperous and peaceful world. Their thinking was shaped no doubt by the many wars Europe experienced in the centuries before them and during their time. The destruction wrought by successive wars still fresh in their mind and invigorated by the renaissance energy and the scientific revolution that followed, they felt confident (perhaps over-confident) that bigotry and hatred will be defeated and that world peace was achievable. They were proven wrong when wars continued in their life time and when a couple of centuries later, Europe was engulfed in the most terrifying series of wars of all time (the two world wars).

      Did the rules of war change since Genghis Khan? Yes. of course. We have plenty of rules codified in heavy volumes but humanity’s problems has never been in the theoretical realm; It has always been in its application. Yes. Genghis Khan was brutal and long gone but Hitler came on the scene many centuries later and managed to make him look less terrifying.

      #2. An excellent point but we should keep in mind that according to many scientists, there is a biological and evolutionary explanations to aggressiveness in males (human and animal). Can we find similar explanations for a Muslim or a black propensity to violence? Of course not. So the analogy fails because unlike in the case of male/female differences, no sane scientists would ever postulate that there is a biological component to being a Muslim. How can it ever be when being a Muslim has nothing to do with biology and when Muslims can be found among all nations, races, and nationalities ?

      #3. You said that I redefined the meaning of terrorism. No. As we all know, there is no universally agreed definition of terrorism. Each country and each government or political entity defines the term in its own way to meet its own needs. The US, European Union, France, and many other countries have their own unique definitions of the term. The United Nations has struggled without success to arrive at a consensus. if we go to the dictionary, we will find similar ambiguities. You will see it defined as you do above as killing of innocents for a political purpose but you will also find it defined as “systematic use of violence and intimidation to achieve some goal” . So which do we use? I choose the underlying essential meaning of the term i.e. killing of innocents. The distinguishing feature of an act of terror is the victimization of innocents and that is why all the various definitions include this component. All the other qualifying accretions are often designed a priori to conveniently fit a specific enemy.

      This will become clear if we ponder about it a little: Why do we condemn terrorism and why does it shock us more than any other type of crime? Isn’t it because innocents are either killed or harmed? Do we really care what race, religion, or nationality the perpetrator belongs to ? Does it make it less heinous when murder is committed for politics, for fame, or for religion?

      Ismail (pointblank)

      • saay7

        Hala Ismail:

        Yes, you are right: the UN does not have a consensus on the definition of “terrorism” but it (the UN Security Council) does have a list of terrorists in its sanctions list and it meets the definition of Interpol: targeting civilians to bring about a desired political outcome. Here’s the list of the terroristic individuals and organizations:

        https://scsanctions.un.org/en/?keywords=al-qaida#alqaedaent

        2. The world has come a long, long way from the days when war meant total war and it was fair game to rape and pillage and enslave. That is now a violation of international law and considered a crime against humanity. The fact that it is not always enforced uniformly does not change the fact that what was considered normal and sanctioned in the time of Prophet Mohammed and Jesus and Buddha and Gengis Khan is now consider a huge taboo and a violation of civilized norms.

        3. With all due respect to Ghandi, yes there is a huge difference between the death of a person who dies in the course of love and the course of hate. William F Buckley described this brilliantly many moons ago: if I push someone towards an incoming bus, and if I push someone away from an incoming bus and, in either case, the person dies, yes, the pain the loved ones endure is the same, but the purpose of their death is different.

        saay

        • Ismail

          Selamat Saleh,

          So I take it you consider the oligarchic security council that includes 5 permanent members who can willy nilly use their veto powers to block any resolution against them or their friends (which virtually makes them above the law) a democratic and fair institution? No. Saleh. The security council is a contraption set up to serve the interests of the most powerful nations on earth, by the most powerful nations, and for the most powerful nations not to serve the interests of peace or of the larger humanity. Neither in its composition (not a single permanent member is from Africa or Latin America) nor in its procedures (the veto power make a mockery of justice) can it be regarded as a legitimate body that can arbitrate world affairs fairly and impartially. If it has any legitimacy at all, therefore, it is the legitimacy of power and wealth not the rule of law. At least the general assembly with its one nation, one vote rule incorporates all nations which gives it a semblance of representative democracy and it is precisely due to the diversity of its members that it sometimes finds it difficult to garner a consensus while the security council can impose its will via a fiat.

          Remember also that we are discussing humanity’s overall capability for violence not the ebb and flow of violence at different periods. Even in the past there has been some long periods of relative peace (the Pax Romana and La Convivencia are examples) but these periods are peaceful only relatively speaking to other periods not because they succeeded in eliminating violence.

          About Gandhi, I am not sure about the authenticity of the quote but Gandhi’s belief in non-violence is so total that I wouldn’t be surprised if he said it. He spoke of seeking the “divine in man” which he believed every human being possesses. Perhaps he meant it in that way… I don’t know but hey, I am not here to defend him nor do I consider the quote relevant to our discussion.

          About William Buckley… I think you are conflating two ideas here. The comparison is irrelevant to our discussion because we are not comparing a ‘push to kill” and a “push to save”. We are talking only about terrorists or killers – those who push to kill -and we are saying about them that whatever their excuses (politics, religion, grude, or revenge), they are still killers or terrorists. I hope you can see the difference. Buckley brilliant? Maybe in other ways but for expressing a simple platitude that almost everyone subscribes to and agrees with?

          Thanks
          Ismail (pointblank)

          • saay7

            Hala Ismail:

            I think the definition of terrorism to mean “killing of innocents to advance a political goal” is commonly accepted. I only brought up the UNSC because you brought up the UN: yes the UN doesn’t have a consensus of what “terrorism” means but one of its Committees, sanctions committee, appears to be working on the working definition of terrorism.

            The quote of Ghandi is accurate but u can verify it for yourself. Great men say great things but also dumb things. I brought up Buckley because you quoted Ghandi saying that the motivation is irrelevant when it comes to loss of life. Ghandi is quotable but wrong.

            Let me ask you a question Ismail: if we accept your definition of terrorism to mean killing of innocents, what is the difference between murder and terrorism?

            saay

          • Ismail

            Hi Saleh

            At the most fundamental level, there is no difference at all between murder and terrorism that results in death. They both result in the death of innocents or non-combatants and are equally horrible whether they were done for political goals or for fun. The motive (political or personal) can be used of course by crime fighters to narrow down the search for the killer but the end result is the same. An innocent life has been taken away. Some governments add the qualifier “political goals” not because non-political murders are less horrible but because making such a contrived distinction allows them to fit the term to a predefined class of murderers that they particularly abhor.

            Ismail (pointblank)

          • Saleh Johar

            Hi Ismail,

            You are responding to Saay, please use that nick to avoid confusion.
            Saleh Johar

          • saay7

            Selamat Ismail:

            I think now we are cross-talking.

            It is not “some governments” but “all governments” who are a signatory to the 1937 Geneva Convention who accept the difference between murder and terrorism. The latter is important in international law because it is violence directed against the State (and amended later) the State’s population. Article 1 paragraph 2 of the convention says:

            In the present convention, the expression “acts of terrorism” means criminal acts directed against a State and intended or calculated to create a state of terror in the minds of particular persons, or group of persons or the general public.

            It is using this definition that the Weyane described the Oromo Liberation Front (OLF) as terrorist organization. When they were both fighting the State (Ethiopia) they were freedom fighters, but once Weyane became the State, the OLF (the part that did not get disarmed) became a “terrorist organization.”

            Them are the games.

            saay

          • Ismail

            Selamat Saay,

            I was referring to the earlier definition you used i.e. killing of innocents for political purposes. As far as governments signing the old 1937 convention, why wouldn’t they? The clue that explains their readiness to sign is right there in the definition “directed against the state” and its inefficacy can be seen by the example you provided about its misuse by Weyane.

            Thanks
            Ismail (pointblank)

  • Ismail AA

    Selam all,

    The mainstream in the Islamic world has been outsmarted by a tiny stream as you had mentioned. One of the causes for this is the chronic stagnation-afflicted post WW I status quo in the Middle East region the victorious imperial powers of the time had drawn to perpetuate their interests. We know that they had dissected the region in to family-ruled entities. The arrangement they had imposed had rested on the marriage between the rulers of the Sheikdoms and the ultra-conservative religious establishment, especially in Saudi Arabia. The latter enjoyed huge revenues from the oil wealth in exchange of providing legitimacy to the rulers. Funds were lavishly spent on spreading their conservative variant Islam by way of attracting youth from all over the world to their institutions of learning, and building mosques for them to return back in spread the Daáwa among populations.

    After the fall of the Wall in 1989 and the disintegration of the Soviet Union, the imperial powers and their economic-military establishments were in need of common enemy that could sustain the former alliances like North Atlantic Alliance, as well as the weapons their products. The stagnant social and economic environments in the countries of the Middle East that tenuous by the Palestinian-Israeli conflict that fluctuated between cold and hot warfare since 1947 was a ready candidate.

    The massive poverty, illiteracy and economic despair under suffocating conditions of dictatorial rulers had provided fertile ground for constructing common enemy scenario the West wanted. The only thing needed was a pretext by way of igniting the fire in a place of acute crisis which Tunisia and eventually had offered. Libya and Egypt followed. The reference name was found in the Arab Spring which pressmen had proposed after remembering the Prague Spring of 1968. It was attractive choice that got quick currency to cloud the horrible developments that were to ruin nation-states.

    That way, thus, the scene was set for the extremists to exploit and take center stage first the already organized proponents of political Islam and followed by the hitherto fringe forces that had been lurking on the peripheries since the days of anti- Soviet mujahidin of Afghanistan. Alongside Iraq since 2003 as well as Somalia before it, the so called Arab Spring countries facilitated conditions for to the extremist variants to invest the lucrative funds religious establishments, and rich individuals, had donated in organizing themselves into fighting forces and activating their dormant cells in many spots of the world, including the countries of the West and USA. Terrorist acts were committed and now the Western establishments got pretext to deployed huge media assets to campaigns against a new and dangerous threat from Islamic terrorists. Public opinion had to be harnessed by way of funning the threat of violence perpetrated by radical Moslem terrorists. That perception needed to be woven into Islamophobia which as in the case of the Middle East populist and fringe groups in many countries of the West had quickly exploited. At the present time, thus, the old East-West divide has been re-casted in West-Islamic terrorism confrontational relation. One could argue that current dangerous tension in place like Syria and Nigeria cannot be understood in isolation of the cursory points I am trying to make.

    The eventual confrontation and defeat of Islamophobia would only be possible when the West and the East, and the world by and large, get convinced the way to end terrorism of all kinds passes through the mainstream of societies of nations occupy the center stage. In my opinion this is the spirit and core message Ismail was out to transmit through this important article.

    Regards and pleasant weekend.

  • ‘Gheteb

    My take Of The article and An Attempt To Apprehend It’s Salient Points.

    Greetings!!

    First an appreciation and many thanks are in order for the author of this article, Ismail Omer-Ali who, in my considered opinion, is a writer and a thinker of a first water. I only have a minor beef with the article and the reason why I am bringing this issue is because of the author’s exquisitely fine thinking process and his sublime logical argumentation.

    If I were to apply a simple syllogism, here is where Ismail’s ratiocination comes short.

    If one takes the authors assertion “Violence as universal affliction of humanity” and ” if Muslims and Muslim societies are part of this humanity”, the inescapable conclusion is that Muslims and Muslim societies are afflicted with violence.

    If our major premise is that ” All human societies are prone to violence and terrorism” and that our minor premise that “Muslim societies are part of the human society”, then we have to logically conclude that Muslim societies are prone to violence and terrorism.

    What one can say in speaking about the proneness, likelihood or liability to terrorism and violence is to use comparison through the uses of “MORE” or “LESS”. For instance, one can ask: Are Muslims or Muslim societies MORE prone or LESS prone to violence/terrorism?

    In my opinion, Ismail’s article could have been entitled correctly this way:

    ” Are Muslims or Muslim Societies [MORE] Prone to Violence?

    Speaking about Muslims being “more prone to violence”, here are some excerpts that I am quoting from a paper that seemingly dovetails to what Ismail has posited in his article.

    ” In recent years, most armed conflicts have taken place in Muslim countries. Are Muslim countries more war-prone? Not necessarily, if we look at data for the whole period after World War II. But in the post-Cold War era, most wars are civil wars and Muslim countries have a disproportionate share of these. This is not mainly because conflicts among Muslims have increased, but because other conflicts have declined. Muslim countries are also overrepresented among countries with high levels of other forms of internal violence, including non-state conflict, one-sided violence, highly repressive human rights policies, and countries that practice capital punishment.

    They also have a higher than average participation in interstate conflicts. This is not a “clash of civilizations”—most of the victims are Muslims. We list several hypotheses, apart from religion itself, for why this pattern has emerged, including colonial history, interventions from major powers, and economic and political development. Finally, on a more optimistic note, while many Muslims are exposed to violence, four of the five countries with the largest Muslim populations do not currently experience civil war”.

    ” A striking finding

    In 2012, there were six armed conflicts with more than 1000 battle deaths. All of them took place within Muslim countries—in Afghanistan, Pakistan, Sudan, Somalia, Syria, and Yemen. Of the nine rebel groups in these conflicts, seven had an Islamist ideology. We show in this article that 2012 was an extreme year, but not a wide outlier. Are Muslim countries more war-prone or even more prone to violence in general?

    After the end of the Cold War, religion has once again come to occupy a central place in the study of conflict (Basedau et al., 2016; Fox, 2013; Svensson, 2012; Toft, 2007). In this article, using new data on religious affiliations and more comprehensive data on conflict, we assess first how many of the civil wars after World War II have occurred in countries with different dominant religions. We then find a strong increase in the relative rather than the absolute incidence of conflicts involving Muslim countries and Islamist insurgent movements. Finally, we discuss a range of possible explanations for this pattern”.

    ” What can account for the violence among Muslims? One obvious possibility is the history of colonialism with its legacy of artificial boundaries imposed by European colonial powers, an issue that has arisen explicitly in the numerous conflicts between Israel and its neighbors as well as in the Iraqi invasion of Kuwait in 1990. Territorial conflicts are generally harder to resolve than other conflicts. Juergensmeyer (2010) interprets the rise of religious nationalism as a counter-reaction to a secular nationalism promoted by the colonial powers and associated with corrupt and inefficient governments in the post-colonial world.

    Another more recent source of problems is the interventionist policy of major powers, generally with a Christian majority, such as the Soviet Union in Afghanistan from 1979 and the US and other Western powers in several countries after 9/11. As a result, seemingly stable dictatorships have been replaced with unstable semi-democracies in a number of Muslim countries, such as Afghanistan, Iraq, and Libya. While there were no recent outside interventions in Egypt and Syria prior to 2011, the series of events known as the Arab Spring helped to diffuse regime change from the neighboring countries and Russian intervention eventually become an important factor in Syria. The increase in conflicts in Muslim countries after 2001 in absolute terms, but even more so in relative terms, suggests a reaction in the Muslim world to interventions by major powers.

    Some find Islam as a religion to be more prone to fundamentalism and thus also to violence (Ben-Dor and Pedahzur, 2003). However, there are violent and peaceful elements in virtually all religions (Reichberg and Syse, 2014). All the Abrahamic religions (Judaism, Christianity, and Islam) have fundamentalist movements promoting a religious way of life, while in Hinduist and Buddhist movements, racial, ethnic, and religious goals tend to be mixed together (Almond et al., 2003). Whatever the religion, fundamentalist movements seek such radical change that in most polities peaceful accommodation is difficult; hence violence is more likely (Fox, 2013: 132).

    Why do so many insurgents, particularly in the Muslim world, choose to rely on the more violent parts of the religious message? Some argue that the missionary character of Islam, as well as Christianity, makes for a more confrontational stance. Samuel P Huntington (1996) famously predicted that the end of the East–West confrontation would be followed by a “clash of civilizations.” Quantitative research has failed to find much support for this idea (Russett et al., 2000). However, the dominant pattern now seems to be a clash within the Muslim world, a situation simplified by Huntington (1996: 258) in his comment that Islam has “bloody innards” as well as “bloody boundaries.”

    Recently, the civil wars in the Muslim world have spilled over into non-Muslim countries, too, as evidenced by terrorist acts in Paris and elsewhere in 2015–16, but the number of victims is low compared with what Muslim countries have experienced and do not exceed the number of European victims of terrorism by Irish nationalists and right- and left-wing political extremists in Western Europe in the 1970s. As recently as 2011, the bloodiest terrorist incident in Europe was the anti-jihadist solo attack in Norway (York, 2015).

    Conflicts with a religious dimension seem to be particularly intractable, but why does this affect the Muslim world more than others? One perspective is that Muslim countries have failed to adopt some of the changes that have led to a decline of violence in other parts of the world, such as secularization and increased respect for human rights. Others focus on how Muslim countries lag behind in economic and political development. For instance, scholars have found Muslim countries to be “democratic underachievers,” particularly with regard to women’s rights (Fish, 2002).

    Some of them are caught in a “resource curse,” with heavy dependence on export of raw materials and oil in particular. During a long period of high oil prices, oil-rich countries in the region have been able to channel resources to opposition movements that could undermine the position of their rivals in the region. Muslim countries also have a larger-than-average youth bulge (Karakaya, 2015), another factor associated with internal conflict.

    A study by Sørli et al. (2005) found that Islam did not make a significant contribution to explaining the frequent incidence of conflict in the Middle East, once regime type, level of development, and other variables had been accounted for. Karakaya (2015) found that the increased conflict proneness of Muslim countries disappears when controlled for economic development, state repression, oil dependency, and the size of the youth bulge.

    But if these factors are themselves influenced by religion, this does not prove that religion is unimportant. A study by de Soysa and Nordås (2007), that used a more fine-grained variable of religious belonging, found that Catholic countries engaged in more violent internal repression than Muslim countries in the period 1980–2000, but this study also included control variables that may reasonably be part of the explanation for why Muslim countries experience more repression. Similar objections can also be raised against the work of Russett et al. (2000).

    More sophisticated causal models are needed to assess whether religion itself plays a role in armed conflict. It would also be useful to distinguish between varieties of the major religions. Much of the current violence in the Muslim world can be traced to the conflicts between the Sunni and Shia denominations, just as the war in Croatia in the first half of the 1990s pitted Catholics against Orthodox Christians.

    If Muslim countries are overrepresented as far as internal armed conflict is concerned, what about other forms of violence? Table 2 reviews several indicators for the post-Cold War period. Muslim countries are overrepresented in interstate violence as well as four indicators of internal violence besides intrastate conflict – one-sided violence (violence against unorganized civilians), non-state violence (conflicts where none of the parties are the government), serious human rights violations, and the use of the death penalty. Hinduist countries come out with more than average violence on five of the six indicators, Buddhist countries on four, Judaist countries on two, countries with an Unaffiliated majority also on two, and Folk religion on just one.

    But, as already noted, these are relatively small groups of countries, and so count for less in the global picture. Christian countries are below average on all the indicators of violence. In terms of the number of casualties, intrastate armed conflict (civil war) is the most serious problem during this period “.

    http://journals.sagepub.com/doi/full/10.1177/2053168016646392

    I encourage all to check the link above to read the paper which brings forth qualitative and quantitative data with graphs and tables to support the major points of the paper.

    • Ismail

      Selamat ‘Gheteb,

      Thanks a lot for the very informative input and for your kind words. You make excellent points. Here is my input:

      You said “If our major premise is that ” All human societies are prone to violence and terrorism” and that our minor premise that “Muslim societies are part of the human society”, then we have to logically conclude that Muslim societies are prone to violence and terrorism.”

      In that sense (as a common shared trait with humanity), absolutely! But remember this would also apply to Jews, Christians, Caucasians, Africans, Latinos, and every societal group on earth since they all share the trait as members of the human family. It only becomes an issue when one group of humans condescendingly puts down another group for the same faults that is found in their own societies. It would be wrong for example to say that all blacks are dumb or violent because we know from experience or direct knowledge that there are many that aren’t. We could however say (without fear of being contradicted) that there are dumb humans on earth or there is a lot of violence in the world.

      About the title, I agree with you. In fact, that is exactly how I had it in my draft but I opted for a shorter version hoping my article would illuminate the missing parts. Also, if we are only posing the question to refer only to Muslims, we are implicitly absolving others and asserting that only Muslims are prone to violence.

      Thanks
      Ismail (pointblank)

  • Kim Hanna

    Selam Ismail Omer-Ali,
    .
    The web people weave…….never mind. The important question posed is “Are Muslim or Muslim Societies Prone to Violence?”
    .
    My answer:
    I think it is a leading and a trick question. I refuse to answer it under the advice of “common sense” that it might incriminate me.
    .
    Mr. K. H

  • Yosief Tewolde

    One may check my tweeter views under @ucf_seber

  • Yosief Tewolde

    Ismael Omer Ali,

    Greetings, and without prejudice let me state this.

    1. Tell me in your terms, what muslim country or majority muslim country would you site as one to emulate? As peacefull and successful and joyous place to live in by CHOICE?

    My reasoning is based on the fact that human defaults or weakneses immanate from the luck of satisfaction with in one self.

    Am I saying Muslims or Muslim societies prone to violence is a case of incontentedness within one self? Resulting from mismanagment and the luck to apply sentiments of Democracy in countries of residence?

    We are told Western Democracy is anti this and that. Then again show me or tell me a better option or system that brings contentedness with in one self appart from that? And other than the rhetoric that the west manipulates us.

    And I will tell you western soscieties including YOU and ME, enjoy the blessings to excercise their mental states, by the experience of FREEDOM of thought and practice. Resulting in development and self contentedness.

    Let me state an example for the benefit of many. Saudi Arabia is endowed and rich, to mention, due to the western branes that got the advantage to think freely and exploit its resources, a result of development.

    Am I saying people in the west are happy in themselves?

    Let me take you through another example.

    Donald Trump in America, entities like UKIP party in UK, I feel and say have taken the territory of the far right wing elements. I see this as a blessing in disguise.

    The far right elements were gettiing the following of the self disheartened, incontent in them self lower class, working class white public.

    The far right elements preach, ‘you don’t have a job, immigrants took it. You don’t have a partner, immigrants took it…and it goes so forth’

    Have you heard Donald Trump in US, UKIP in UK…speak or mention immigrants? Well, voila!

    • Ismail

      Selamat Yosief

      I appreciate the feedback.

      What you expressed there is a very common refrain that we hear all the time as a ready retort to any criticism of the west. You may not be familiar with all my writing but I have been and still am a staunch advocate of western democracy and its institutions. I also have immense respect and admiration for what it has achieved in the last few centuries. Developing nations including Muslim countries will do well to learn from them.

      I do not however consider it faultless or above criticism. I think it is foolish to deny that in addition to their own admirable effort, conquest, the pilfering of resources from occupied countries in Africa, Asia, and others were instrumental in helping them to propel and accelerate their achievements. Civilizations go through cycles and people have always flocked to the dominant power of their day. So there is nothing out of the ordinary for you and I to be drawn towards prosperous countries even if we didn’t have the additional burden of a dictatorship to flee from. Western dominance however is not due to innate superiority but rather due to the fact that at a certain juncture of history, a variety of factors (natural and environmental) combined to give them an edge over others.

      You and I, dear friend, live within the narrow confines of our own time and it is natural for us to marvel at the greatness of the people that managed – by hook or crook – to assert their dominance over world affairs. But who knows, decades or centuries from now, it may be our continent – Africa – that leads the world. If this seems absurd, then you have not studied history.

      Ismail (pointblank)

  • Selamat Ismael Omer Ali,

    I vote this to be Best Awate Article of 2017. You know like awatista of the year.

    And it’s only the beginning of second quarter…

    tSAtSE

    • Ismail

      Selamat tSAtSE,

      Thanks for the vote. For some reason I find myself unable to disagree with you (;-)

      Ismail (pointblank)

  • said

    Greetings,
    Thought of the Day: Religion & Spirituality; Two Contrarian Concepts
    With the added meeting together of mankind through the revolution of cyberspace; instant communication; social networks and Satellite TV Networks, the Universe is rendered a virtual “Global” Village.” However, with the scientific and technological revolution that brought mankind closer together, humans at large have failed thus far to liberate from the narrow and exclusivist ethos of the inherent parochial and cultural settings they born into and find themselves conditioned and shackled by their inherent self-righteous limitations.
    Some tiny group an representative Religion and sectarian beliefs, as reinforced by the traditional ritual practices, are of all the social institutions pulling humanity, mankind at large, the divine message have universal message for mankind and for some natural evolution and from consciously incorporating the ethos of inclusiveness and tolerance mandated by the requisites of the impositions, unprecedented in the annals of mankind, of the scientific and the technological breakthroughs that are spirally bringing humanity to a hair split closer proximity.
    Extreme tiny group in the name of Religion and Sectarian beliefs at large remain rigidly structured, void of love and compassion where mechanical rituals and robotically murmured and muttered mantras are often performed devoid from the reasoning of the power of the mind and missing to communicate fundamental truthful objective and miraculous message of creator ,they utterly disjointed from the nexus of the heart and the spirit.
    Extremist of any group and sect ,Religion and deeply entrenched Sectarian values with the mandated practices of rituality often act as the virtual barriers to the subscription of humanity at large; and for those looking for spiritual connections the evolution to new paradigms incorporating universal values that are commensurate with the requisites of the dictates of the “New Age;” subscription to human values that render us humans, dwellers in the tiny planet Earth, more adept at engaging in the natural evolution dictated by expanded shared knowledge, the facility of innovative technological creations and an ever expanded mind.
    For some secularist Spirituality as the unifying field encompassing the mind and thought of humanity’s collective creative energies, NOT Structured Religion, is the answer to rendering the new stage of human evolution an orderly, peaceful and superiorly enhancing to the mind and the soul of humans and humanity at large; they their motto the Bliss in sharing the creations of a human’s creative mind.

  • Abi

    Hi All
    My all time bumper sticker reads
    “God, please protect us from your followers “.

    • Saleh Johar

      Hi Abi,
      Add to it, “And those who think they are doing your bidding but pretend they don’t follow you”

      Your sticker is really funny 🙂

      • Abi

        Selam Ato Saleh
        Growing up my mother had this priest as a ነፍስ አባት.
        One Sunday afternoon during the fasting season he came to our home drunk.
        As usual, my mother offered him lunch. He refused saying that he doesn’t drink or eat before 3:00 pm.
        My younger brother said “ይሄ ሌባ በመንፈስ ነው እንዴ የሰከረው?”

        • Selam Abi,

          There seems to exist some sort of love between priests and alcohol. Have you heard them say, ‘jesus blessed the wine’, when he turned water to wine at the wedding in Caana in Galilee. There is also the joke that they may baptise meat and call it, for example lentils, during the fasting season. I am not sure, but I think that the drink brandy was discovered by french monks in a monastery. Therefore, it seems that there is a long tradition of alcohol consumption by priests, and your family priest was not alone in this.

          • Abi

            Selam Horizon,
            This priest served only high paying customers. Basically he is a well paid lobbyist. He is kind of skinny but drinks more than a camel.
            His love of meat is out of this world. If you give him food that is not some kind of meat, he asks “ምነው ጥርስ ያዝ የሚያደርግ ነገር የለም?”

          • saay7

            Abi 😂

            <>

            Very creative guy. You should have given him some baldonga and Ater. That sure holds the teeth 😂

            saay

          • Abrehet Yosief

            Selam Abi,
            You should do extra sigdet for such talk about priests. Specially during lent.

          • Abi

            Abrehet Haftey
            የምን ስግደት አመጣሽብኝ? እግዜር በምላጭ ላይ እንደሚያስኬደኝ አውቀዋለሁ::
            ጉልበቴ እስኪላጥ ብሰግድም ተስፋ የለኝም::

          • G. Gebru

            Dear Abi,
            Don’t worry about God.
            የጎጃምና የጎንደር ደብተራዎች ይበቁሃል።
            Thank you.

        • Ismail Ahmad

          Selam Abi,
          Great. እንዴ! እኔ እምለው ስሙ እንጂ እኔ እማድርገው፡ እምበላውና እምጠጣው ኣትጥይቁ ኣልተባለም ወይ።
          Thank you because I laughed a lot.
          Regards

          • Abi

            Hi Ismail Ahmad
            ሲኦል በቄሶች ተጣቧል::
            I’m glad you laughed. Was it guffawing kind of laugh like Gheteb?

    • cool

      It should better read “God please protect us from ISLAMISTS”

      • cool

        i would rather delete ancient profile photos and replace them with contemporary ones in order to avoid recognition in case of any old wrong doings!

  • cool

    Hi,
    the problem of muslims allround the world is as the saying “my father did wrong but i have to defend him”. Every muslim knows that islam is violent is backward, is barbaric , its reformation is overdue but no muslim even those with acadamic grades admit that this is the case(ismail is a good example for it) and the reason is obvious , every muslim from the date of birth ,learns the world is divided into two “the evil and the good” .
    The good are the true muslims and the evil are ,all other people who are none muslims(meaning christians budists, judas etc)
    So if a child is grown up with this wisdom in mind it is no wonder that even mohammad ata someone with academic grade would take his life and take some 4000 people with him , why?do he know one person out of these 4000 in person?NO , he killed them just because he thought they are non muslims.
    No other religion other than islam teaches the same way as described above, isn`t that shameful?
    Never in history ôf christianity or budism or juda , did somebody want to die and take as many as possible with hime, shame on you!!!!

    • Abrehet Yosief

      Hi Cool,
      Here is one non Muslim who wanted to die and crashed an airplane killing all onboard. Andreas Lubitz.

      • cool

        sorry ,there was no religios motive behind it,it might be a psycho problem

        • cool

          Hi abrehet,
          that was psycho problem it doesnot have any religious background at all!

  • Dear Fanti Ghana,

    No doubt the media in the west is biased against islam, especially now that the far right nationalists control news outlets, and their voices are heard loudly as never before. Nevertheless, when some people give food to racists and islamophobes with their heinous crimes against innocent civilians in european capitals, these biases get fertile ground to grow. Ordinary people do not decide the policy of their governments in the middle east or elsewhere. Moreover, the perpetrators of these crimes give a religious tone with their war cries by calling upon Allah, whenever they commit their crimes. About 30 poor and innocent ethiopian migrants were slaughtered in libya as if they were sheep, there crimes being that they worship the cross. Therefore, it is the criminals who help the islamophobes to exploit the situation so that they could present islam in a negative picture.

    The actions of these jihadists has undermined the moral high ground the suffering muslims of the middle east and the persian gulf could have, if there was no fanaticism, and if they have not paid back an eye for an eye and a tooth for a tooth. The plight of muslims who have been driven out of their homes, lost everything they had and became refugees has been obscured, and they are losing compassion from others, because of the actions of these extremists. May be more muslims are killed by these extremists than christians, but everybody sees first his/her own wounds before tending to other people’s wounds, and before standing in solidarity with others. This is what they have succeeded.

    True, horrendous crimes have been committed by christians against christians and muslims in norway, usa, canada and other countries, nevertheless, a crime is a crime wherever it comes from, and whoever commits it, and trying to rationalize it one way or the other, by saying other people do it too, is out of the question. I do not mean that you are rationalizing it, but the only thing crime deserves is condemnation and nothing else.

    • Saleh Johar

      Hi Horizon,
      Overall, I agree with your comment, but a crime is a crime whether it is against people of one nationality or another. And we lose credibility when we are selective in condemning and highlighting a certain aspects of a crime and ignore the other. You wrote, “…May be more muslims are killed by these extremists than christians,…”

      It is not May be, Horizon, there is no comparison in the numbers. ISIS kills anyone who is not part of their narrow fanatic and criminal sect. They have killed thousands of Sunnis and Shia’s, not forgetting the Assyrians, Christians and particularly Ezidi population that they decimated. The Ethiopian (by the way they are not all Ethiopians, and they are not thirty 🙂 ) were not killed because they worship the cross, but because they do not belong to the narrow criminal sect, just like many Muslims were not killed because they worshiped the cross, but because they didn’t belong to the narrow sect of fanatics and criminal gangs.

      • Dear SJG,
        These were the exact words as written in the news:
        ‘followers of the cross from the enemy ethiopian church’
        ‘muslim blood shed under the hands of your religions is not cheap. To the nation of the cross we are now back again’
        In addition, it seems that there were two groups of captives, those who were beheaded and those who were shot, and although nobody seems to be sure of the exact number of the victims, nevertheless, 30 was the number mentioned.

        • Saleh Johar

          Hi Horizon,
          And that is exactly what I am saying: don’t tell me, the news said it as if news is an absolute truth. That is what ISIS are saying, quoting verses out of context and without using logic (i understand they have none). I am asking you to be critical, don’t tell me the news said it, I am communicating with you, or with whoever wrote the text of the news. I need your conclusion: after having heard something, read something, add your perspective to it–I am sure you are better than just repeating crude news.

          What makes you think I would accept the news as an absolute truth when I am criticizing those who take divine scripture as is without using reason?

          • Dear SJG,

            I think that we should have some point of reference, and in this case it is the news outlet, for what it is worth. Of course, we live in the age of fake news, nevertheless, until somebody comes forward and tells us that something else is the absolute truth of the matter, we have to take it with some reservation. Upto now, no one has wrote something to the contrary on this topic, and therefore, we can use it until proven otherwise.

            Dogmatism in the teachings of the divine scripture has reached a bottleneck, and it is no more serving society, and that is why we are saying that we should explore the anthropocentric qualities of religions. I think that religions were created for human beings, and not human beings for religion. That is why they came much latter compared to human existence on this planet, and the dogmatic interpretation of these religious books in a time and society completely different from the period they were written and first interpreted, can not continue to guide society as it should. Even religion should move with the times to remain the guiding star.

          • Saleh Johar

            Horizon,

            I felt like I was reading my own comment: isn’t that exactly my comment? I just do not see why you should consume any news as is until someone tells you otherwise. I asking you to practice “self-determination of thinking” and don’t wait until some one explains it to you. And when you say, “We” aren’t me and you in the WE? It’s me and you debating not me and plural you. Take it easy buddy.

          • Selam SJG,
            I hope you will show us which one of your comments I copy-pasted. This discussion has become a psychological game, which will take us nowhere, and i stop here.

          • Saleh Johar

            Hi Horizon,
            I am sorry you took it that way, I meant to say I agree with you and what I said was similar to what you said–I was not accusing you on anything like cut-and-paste. I am sorry you felt that. Apologies

  • Ismail

    Selamat All,

    First let me thank all who commented on my article. I received a lot of excellent feedback and criticisms. I appreciate and value them all. Unfortunately and as is often the case in discussions of this nature, some commentators completely missed the main thrust of my article. My article was NOT about condoning or excusing Muslim violence. It was NOT about critiquing the west or Christianity. As the title of my article clearly shows, I had a single overarching goal: to debunk the common stereotype that Muslims are prone to violence.

    As I stated in my introductory remarks, I set out to do so in three ways:

    First, I posited the undeniable truism that violence is a universal problem historically and contemporaneously speaking – not just a Muslim problem. Can this really be an arguable point? I gave several examples from history and current affairs to show that humans as a whole have shown a clear propensity to violence. Why is this important? It is important because it debunks the myth that Muslims are singularly violent. Mind you, no one is denying that some Muslims have been violent. No. Not at all. But so have others. Examples were given not to blame colonization or western countries or to praise the corrupt regimes of Saudi Arabia and others but to provide a deeper perspective on the common psychology of violence and its human derivative. The crucial question here is: if we cannot deny that many others have also been committing horrendous atrocities, do we have any other demonstrable basis for singling out Muslims? That is the point I was making there. To credibly maintain the contention that Muslims are prone to violence, one has to show that all others have been or are peaceful – an impossible task!

    My second goal was to show that contrary to what we have been led to believe … yes by the media and Islamophobes … the majority of terror acts in US and Europe were committed by non-Muslims. This is not just my opinion but data from official sources. Again, why is this important? It is important because it shows media’s lack of even handedness. Most of us would never have guessed or believed that the majority of terror acts in US and Europe were committed by non-Muslims. Yet, that is what the raw data reveals.

    My third goal was to highlight the damaging role played by the multi-million dollar industry of Islamophobia in vilifying Islam and Muslims. As I mention in my article, this huge network of Islam haters are responsible for much of the stereotype and prejudice against Muslims and for infecting the media with their hateful rhetoric. And why is this important? It reveals the source of most of the hateful talking points people use against Islam and Muslims.

    That was the gist of my article. If we can agree that all types of stereotypes are counterproductive and dangerous, then it is incumbent upon us all to also reject the specific stereotypes about Muslim violence, about black violence, about Latino gangs, about white racism, and about a host of other stereotypes because when we dig deeper, we will find no real substance to them except to give us a temporary ego boost of imagining ourselves better than those horrible others.

    That is all.
    Time permitting, I will respond to individual queries at a later time.

    Thanks
    Ismail (pointblank)

    • tes

      Selam Ismail,

      Had your goal was of their own merit as you stated I personally couldn’t criticize your for being a rationalizing person. How I came to perceive you in this way is when you state your disagreement in the topic he brought about. Saleh’s take was more of an insight to the subject that matters Eritreans today. It was an insight which tried to bridge politics and religion. Yours, I don’t think it has any significant effect rather than trying to rationalize terrorism acts.

      Dear Ismail it is not hidden perception today that hate towards Islam and Muslims is growing among Christian Eritreans. I am facing many Eritreans on daily bases who never hesitate to show their hate in Islam. They always bring three or four disillusioned(see Simon’s typical verses) to justify their hate. There is an increase of social media hate preachers. Agazian Movement lead by Tesfazion and many others is becoming so common.

      As Eritreans, we need to pay serious attention on matters that is dividing us apart. Like Saleh did and is doing, (@salehjohar:disqus thank you) we need an insight to overcome those islamophic preachers. Otherwise the problem we have will be considered of a global issue and we as people will do nothing to take our responsibility to solve our own problems.

      tes

      • Ismail

        Selamat Tes,

        This is the 2nd time you address me …. I am honored … or are you repeating yourself here because you thought I deliberately ignored your previous post?

        Tes,

        I generally do not respond to people who haphazardly criticize or make statements without bothering to support their claims as you do above. If you want to be taken seriously, you need to give reasons for statements you make.

        Ismail (pointblank)

        • tes

          Selam Ismail,

          The good thing about me is I don’t care whether one takes me seriously or not. I just write what I have to say. In case you want me to bring my support you will be ashamed yourself for what you tried to rationalize on the crimes done in the name of Islam.

          Be serious to be taken seriously. Otherwise trying to bring covering issues won’t be a taste for a serious discussion. Take note that for every line I drop here it is well reasoned. In case you missed what I am saying, I will come back to show my thoughts whenever I respond.

          tes

    • Ismail Ahmad

      Hayak Allah Ismail,

      Thank you for the clarification.

      Actually, what you have written in this feedback was exactly what I was able to understand from the article. As I indicated my first comment, it was after reading the article twice that I came out with the couple of points, and nothing more because I thought the article was comprehensive in coverage and assessment.

      After reading some feedbacks randomly, some brothers’ attentions were drawn by some details rather than reflecting back to the essence of the title and the message the first paragraphs carried. Many brothers have like Saleh Johar came up with robust and details that added value to the article provided useful perspectives.

      Anyway, I still stand on my first impression that this article succeeded to throw a lot of illuminating thoughts on a timely and rather difficult matter. Thus, I am voting with tSAtSE , wedi hawey, for the article.

      Regards

      • Ismail

        Selamat Ismail,

        Thanks again. It is hard to understand anything much less a sensitive issue like the one we are discussing here if one approaches it with preconceived notions and presuppositions. Some people have become so used to undermining Islam and Muslims that they are psychologically averse to any counter arguments particularly when it contradicts what they hear in the media. So they go on a tangent to buttress their long-held comforting stereotypes and prejudices clinging to it for the psychological payoff they receive when they put themselves above Muslims in the pecking order.. Anyone who tries to dispel this fantasy becomes an adversary to watch for. This is not unlike the syndrome some whites suffer when they perpetuate the myth of their own superiority over blacks by portraying blacks as prone to violence and crime. Of course, they can do so only by downplaying their own present faults and checkered past.

        Ismail (pointblank)

    • MS

      Ahlan Ustaz Ismail
      BTW, the article is excellent, and the writer is one of the best. I envy your writing skills. I believe you made your point. I personally was underscoring the need of us paying more emphasis on what we can do to clean up our communities, and our region from the menace that is killing us. I agree with you that Muslims are not particularly violent. But we have organized transcontinental political syndicates who inflict terror in our name. That we can’t deny. I would not complain if TSA pick me for a though search in the airports because it’s organizations which bear Islamic names and slogans that are terrorizing the world. The reason why Islamophobia industry has blossomed is because the moderate Muslim voice has been curtailed by conservative Islamic institutions and dictators who use those institutions. If you had commented on efforts the Muslim world is doing in fighting terrorism, that would have given a contrast to the efforts that the Islamophobic industry is doing. Other than that, it is an excellent article authored by one of the best writers. It’s a point blank too. I also commend you on your feedbacks and the way you have been interacting with the forum. It’s not easy to satisfy the smoothed out, the ones with sharp nails, the toothy and toothless, the PFDJIsta and Wayanista, the Mongomongo-ista.and the Xaxistas..I mean we are blessed with diversity, and PM amde is doing a TREMENDOUS job. Just a weekend derdesha. Thanks Ismail.

      • Ismail

        Selamat Mahmudai,

        I appreciate what you say above. Thanks for the feedback and for your very kind words.

        About the TSA…. No! You should never accept it meekly if you were clearly profiled because of your religion. You should complain and even sue if possible. Why? Because you have nothing to do with the crimes of every Musa, Abdella, and Masud as a Daniel or Habte would have nothing to do with the crimes of every Timothy McVeigh or Robert Deer. Profiling is wrong and has been shown not to work anyway.

        I also do not find the terms “moderates” or “radicals” all that helpful. They are often imprecise and sometimes completely inappropriate. It is common for example to characterize those that support certain policies or wars as “moderates” and those that oppose certain foreign policies as “radicals” even if they have never espoused or engaged in violence themselves. But I know what you mean.

        Thanks,

        Ismail (pointblank)

    • Yosief Tewolde

      Good will,
      I just had a rasteferian stating ” a day will come. In my view the white man will succumb. ”

      The success and achievment of the ‘white man’ call it the west immanates from the practice of Democracy in my openion.

      The comment I received is not any better, to say is as wick ti what the disheartened white public believes.

      I find your openion, forgive me for saying, based on that.

      Let me say I was in my fifth pint of beer, as they call it in England, when I am writing this. While I was on my second when I wrote the first.

      Peacefull wishes.

  • agapi

    Dear Awate Moderator,

    greetings! I see that a link to an article I had included in a comment of mine has been removed. I am wondering why. Is there anything wrong with that?

    • MS

      Hello agape
      Just FYI: Links are done ONLY during the weekend. It’s something that we all abide by. BTW, I’m not a moderator, just wanted to help. Please link that article on the weekend, folks who had the opportunity to read it commented liking it. I would like to read it.

  • MS

    Selam all
    The Muslim community should look inward in discussing the current radical trends. I teach my children to take responsibility. I blame us, Eritreans, for not coming up with a workable plan for moving forwards…Similarly, Let’s see what we can do within our community, the Muslim Community, before blaming others. The world is full of interest groups (Westerners, Easterners, Orientals…colonizers, occupiers, expansionists…dictators…name it). Terrorism nurtures where there is no open political and religious discourses, be it because of secular dictatorial regimes or religious institutions. Terrorists are recruiting Muslims youth not because the terrorists ideas are more appealing but because the moderate ideas are suppressed.
    And I can surely say, I would always choose to live in the West than living in Saudi Arabia because my right is more guaranteed here than in the land of the two Holiest Islamic sites, and the origin place of Islam, Sadia. It’s that bad.

    • Brhan

      Hello MS

      There are thousands of Eritreans of diverse backgrounds in Saudi Arabia working to support themselves and their families as well as their relatives and friends. Have you covered any literature about their agenda. Are they forbidden to express their opinion in the matters of Eritrea? Can the Eritrean opposition hold a meeting in Saudi Arabia?
      And with regard to Saudi Arabia, have you covered any literature if this country took steps forward to issues like the right to express and at the same time have you followed in the west like the US how it is going backwards with regard to human rights and when journalist speak about it they are called enemy of the people?
      Criticize the west and not only the east. In social media a communicator should present balanced views.

      Thanks

      • MS

        Selam Brhan
        I think you did not like my saying that I would always choose to live in the West than living in Saudi Arabia. That is a conditional statement, i.e., If I had a choice. If I didn’t, of course, the order of preferences would be different. I’m not commenting about Eritreans in Saudi Arabia and their connection to Eritrean affair. We know, whether they like it or not they will be nice to the Eritrean Embassy, otherwise, they will not get the Passport, and without it they can’t live there unless they get a different passport, etc. The King of Saudi Arabia’s titles include Khadem alHaremein asherifein, or the custodian of the two Holy sites. My religion teaches me to be just. Do you see a just ruling in Saudi Arabia? What percentage of the wealth does the ruling family control? Do the citizens have equitable shares? Do foreign residents have equal protection under law? Do they have access to education? Do Saudi Women have rights in their political life? How about racism? Does Saudi political and cultural percepts reflect the spirit of the Uma?
        Dear Brhan, if I have a choice, I will never want to live under any ruler that claims to have drawn its legitimacy from God. So, I don’t know what to balance out. It is a stark comparison: living under the rule of dictators who claim to have a God-delegated power, who interpret religion to suit their rule, and who exact justice disproportionately; and living under the rule of law whose institutions tend to be independent of religious interpretations. Western Justice system may not be absolutely just, it may undergo through hiccups, but it has a built-in controlling and correcting mechanisms. Just look how it has challenged president Trump’s travel ban. It is the established independent institutions including the free media that restrained the executive branch. The process is still going on, but it shows you how institutionalized the system is. Not only citizens but anyone who lives here has equal access and protection of the justice system. Even when they want to deport you, it’s done after your case has been seen by a judge. Now, compare this with Saudi Arabia. Where do you feel I failed to be fair?
        The last part of your reply is OK with me and I don’t think I have said anything that contradicts it.

        • Brhan

          Hello MS,

          There is a difference between a person and a person as a communicato in social media? Where do you belong?

          Thanks,

          • blink

            Dear brhan
            Where do you put yourself ? Just to help us know yours too.

            What ever MS , you and other people say is justified ,because that is the way it is. We all communicate from our own understanding. MS explanation for me is the best as I can get , even though the article is full of biased information.

          • Brhan

            Dear Blink
            In social media, such as this one, I put myself as a commuincator as my field, journalism taught me to be netural when producing a communication material to be neutral.
            I think I answered your question.

        • G. Gebru

          Dear MS.
          Greetings,
          First of all the Saudis do not intertain assaylem seekers even though some times they do it selectively for different reasons.
          Secondly, the people who are allowed to inter Saudi Arabia are those with a legal work visa, or legal family visa besides those who come to perform their religious obligations either for Umrah or Hagg. I do not know now but in the past who ever inters the country were asked to sign a sort of memorandum that states the things that they do not have to practice during thier stay in the country and any one who violates these guidlines will be dealt with according the rules of the host country.
          Thirdly you openly criticised the ruling family as corrupt, even though as a ruling body can have some failures in its day to day dealings the word you used is a bit harsh because I personally believe

          • Saleh Johar

            Hi G. Gebru,
            I remember a debate between Jimmy Swaggart and Ahmed Deedat. Swaggart wanted to embarrass Deedat and asked him, something to the effect, “why can’t Chriaians visit Mecca?” Deedat replied something to the effect, “the Saudis have visa policies, if you fulfill that, I believe they will give you a visa.”

            Of all the things that annoy me are questions that people ask of Muslims. Why Saudi Arabia doesn’t allow this or that? Go ask the Saudi, what do I have to do with their policies? For God’s sake, I don’t even have the right to elect my representative in my own country, I can’t even go to my own country. Why should I be held responsible for Saudi policies, or any other country?

          • G. Gebru

            Dear Saleh,
            How are you?
            I read many times you people who live in the west speak and write about your dual cutizenship, as Eritreans and Eritrean Americans or Canadians etc. And for many Eritreans who live in Saudi Arabia even though do not own legal citizenship documents it is a country they lived for thirty, forty and fifty years. It is the country those who arrived as singles has become grandfathers and grandmothers and many made fortunes. It is a country where one can raise his children fully under his parentship. For these and many other reasons those who live in this country, who are enjoying its peace and sharing its grace have the moral and ethical obligation to respond to those who knowingly or unknowling throw some bad words here and there.
            God bless us all.

          • MS

            Ahlan G.Gebru
            Firstly, I mentioned the Saudi’s to highlight how religion is used to perpetuate one family rule over millions in the land of the prophet (PBUH). This was a land where slaves were freed more than a thousand years before Abe’s emancipatory proclamation. It was the land were the prophet enabled women to own property, and to participate in political life. It was the land where the first constitution was practiced; where the rule by consensus or sHURA was introduced, and so on. Today, it’s ruled by the AL Saudis, a family whose members are about 15,000 (from a population of more than 30 million), and whose wealth is concentrated in the hands of 2000 inner members (worth 1.5 trillion); the average Saudi person lives on annual income that would put him within the poverty bracket in the USA. Basically, the country is named after the family, its wealth is dispensed to the citizens per the family’s whims as a charity. Therefore, it’s a stark comparison to the virtues of a religion that was founded on the principles of egalitarianism and social justice. Brhan criticized me of not being fair or not acting as a balanced “communicator” per journalistic standards. Well, I’m not a journalist, nor am I doing a journalist assignment, I’m just making an opinion which could be backed by data. I’m saying if I had the choice I would always choose to live in the west than living in Saudi Arabia. It’s a personal choice. Others may choose in SA, that is their prerogative.

          • G. Gebru

            Dear MS,
            Greeting again.
            Dear brother in the first place SA is a bit advanced third world country. Execuse me and free me from the religious side of you argument. But, as a non muslem resident of that country allow me to say a few words.
            Yes it is a kingdom as such the leadership is in the hand of the ruling family. They practice Sheria law. Now the question is how does they manage the affair of their country.
            You mentioned Shura they have it.
            As a government they have the governmental structure.
            With its God given wealth in its yearly budget allocates billions of riyals for education, health, infrastructure etc. Every year thousands of students go for scholarship abroad at the full expence of the government and for those with families with a full family status.
            When it comes to real state it gives full interest free financial support to its citizens to own homes that are supported by incentives for early repayment of what is given to them as a loan.
            Internationaly its humanitarian support or contribution is one of the best as witnessed by the UN. This is besides the unparleled support they give to needy Muslem countries in the form of donation.
            Their contribution to stablize the global oil market is another thing they have to be appriciated.
            If we come to its citizens believe me they are very generous people the genrousity that imanates from their religious belief.
            There are many blessed people that God blessed them with a blessed money.
            Who support the disabled, the imprisoned, the sick, the needy either in cash or in kind like establishing dialesis centres for kidney petients or providing free accomdation for the needy. In all these case the beneficiaries are citizens and residents and muslems and non muslems.
            Managing Umrah and Hajj seasons is also another case that they have to applauded for.
            When it comes to individual freedom or the female or male rights one has to go a few years back and have a look at the formation and tradition of the society in order to appritiate the transformation that is going on slowly but stadly.
            Regards.

  • Stefanos Temelso

    Hi all, I would like to talk about creating or naming scapegoats. It is a fact that regimes who oppress their people or who do not stand for the people try to blame an outside body for all the problems that follow as a result of their mismanagement and oppression. All people in the world whatever their origin, religion or political view want peace, development and prosperity. But as was mentioned by some friends, in every society or government there power hungry people who exploit any situation to come to power and immerse the population into endless bloodshed. Finally, they claim that the cause of the problem is a neighboring country or a big power. Let me give you an example: If a farmer does not fence his farm every passer by will grab some peas or fruits and the result will be meager product; OR if a man or a woman have a conflict and then each of them listen to some evil advise of an outsider they can never settle their difference peacefully. To conclude; THERE IS NO BOOK WHETHER IT BE POLITICAL OR RELIGIOUS THAT TELLS PEOPLE TO DO EVIL THINGS. ALL OF THEM TEACH FOR PEACE AND DEVELOPMENT. BUT EVIL PEOPLE MISUSE OR EXPLOIT THEM AND CREATE CHAOS IN THE WORLD. So, the determining factor is the internal factor, we cant blame any outsider for our problems. If we don’t give outsiders a chance how can they play games upon us? So we must blame ourselves. If every people keep their house TIDY there is no place for any outsider with an evil intention.

  • Brhan

    Hello Ismail,
    1. I have a problem how I can relate your article to our situation in Eritrea. The title says ” Muslims” and ” Muslim societies’
    Eritrea is a country of diverse backgrounds. So do you mean how we, Eritreans, look to Muslim societies, like Pakistan? If so, do not we have our issue, agenda or case: fighting the dictator for rule of law and freedom? Because the agenda of every country is the interest of that country, like Tunisia, all, including the atheist are working together are working for that country.
    2. Secondly it seems that you are affected by the the Western media. You agree with me if I say the discourse with regard to your subject in non-western media is different. The same with the theories you presented. There is abundant literature world wide that describes an international phenomenon . Even dictator Isayas has his analysis. My point is that a comparative approach was missed.
    3. Last but not least your article is dragging a discourse where I see yourself and some commentators becoming preachers. One trying to preach on the other. Why do not two of you talk a little of how you together lobby your MPs so that they do not allow PF(JD) cadres to hold their meetings in their cities like what Germany did to Turkey. Then when of two of you say good night , you go to your home and before your sleep pray the way you like.

    ezi we dahan kun

  • said

    Greeting Ismail ,

    I fully subscribe to your Analysis.
    As the Regan Administration planted the seeds of Al-Qaeda deploying Islamists as fresh recruits to bring down the “Evil Empire,” i.e. the Soviet Union, terming these Jihadist, in the words of Ronald Regan himself as Freedom Fighters; Bush-Blair planted the seeds of the ISIS (Daesh) through the illegal invasion of Iraq. non this group existed prior.

    Interesting article some how subscribe to your article by JULES ACHARD :Islamophobia: George Orwell’s Missing Symptom .link below

    http://mironline.ca/islamophobia-george-orwells-missing-symptom/

    • Ismail

      Selamat Said,

      Thanks for your comments. I will check the link when it appears later. I am sure it will be interesting.

      Ismail (pointblank)

  • tes

    Selam Ismail,

    First of all let me differentiate that Islam as a religion and faith, and People who abuse Islam for their own political mission. I will talk therefore on the later.

    In your take what I can say is that your article is an attempt to rationalize crimes committed in the name of Islam by individuals or group of people in the coarse of their political paradigm. Like the Papal and Spanish Christian inquisition, today there are people who claim to be Muslims kill and terrorize people. The victims are all human being just like that of those victims of Spanish Inquisition days.

    What Saleh Johar did was to give readers an understanding on challenges of Islam and Islamic teachings. It is more of a theological discourse than political. Yours is too politic. Today, the world is facing serious challenges.

    I would like to call you therefore to take a responsibility of exposing challenges of today’s people’s freedom to live. If there was Papal and Spanish Christian Inquisition in 11th, 12th, 13thC, even more recent, today, in the 21thC we have ISIS, not forgetting the history of Islamic expansion that once occupied the whole Spain.

    Rationalizing the crimes of Terrorists like ISIS who manipulate Islamic teachings should be exposed. This can help us to liberate Islam from those terrorists.

    What we should not deny is that the horn of Africa is always in the dilemma of religious wars. In the 15thC, Portugal and Turkey were in Eritrea and Ethiopia. History of these developments is still fresh in the memory of every Eritrean.

    Secularism – today is very complex term. What I like is today’s French version of secularism – laïcité – separation of state and religion, which doesn’t mean a non-religeous state, unlike that of China, Eritrea, North Korea.

    If you can help us from your wisdom, I would like to read from you if we can succesfully separate religion and state while still respecting religion of respective socieities.

    tes

    • said

      Selam Tes

      First I want to say you are truly universal value upholder and I enjoy reading your comment.
      Marine Le Pen’s elite guard look to a bloody past Their classical allusions .
      As reported in walls street and Ft times summary , Ms. Le Pen has dubbed these members of France’s elite “Les Horaces,” a reference to the poet who penned verses for the first Roman emperor. the Wall Street Journal asserted that Messiha’s group had named themselves after the poet Horace. Conservative interpretations of Horace’s Odes have framed his poetry as elegant propaganda for Rome’s premier family-values traditionalist, the Emperor Augustus. (Though I reckon you have to squint a bit to make that fit his acerbic Satires.) Le Pen, by this logic, falls into the long tradition of far-right politicians who have laid claim to Augustan imagery and imperial grandeur, with Les Horaces as propagandists hymning modern odes. Related article National Front rock star keeps French hardliners in thrall Hardline rhetoric makes Marion Maréchal-Le Pen an asset as her aunt softens message Unfortunately, classical references are never as neat as they seem. Read Les Horaces’s mission statements and you’ll learn this revolutionary band actually named themselves instead after
      One of the bloodiest episodes in early Roman history. It’s not pretty. The Horatii, triplet brothers from one of Rome’s noblest families, are said by Livy to have held combat with three brothers from the rival city of Alba Longa. After seeing his two brothers slain, Publius Horatius nonetheless emerged victorious, killing all three opponents and ensuring victory for the Roman king Tullus Hostilius. On his return, Publius had to deal with a distraught sister who had been betrothed to one of his dead foes, but sensibly he ran his sword through her on sight, declaring, “So perish every Roman woman who mourns an enemy”. It is not so long since women suspected of fraternisation with Nazis were publicly humiliated in the streets of France. Flick through black and white photographs of les tondues, women punished after the liberation by having their heads shaved, and you’ll be under no illusions about the viciousness of any nationalism that defines itself by the harsh treatment of women who love outside its boundaries. Perhaps it is unfair to judge Les Horaces by the behaviour of a minor, mythical Roman hero. Perhaps they haven’t read their Livy thoroughly, or they’re simply impressed by the virility and power of Jacques-Louis David’s painting, “The Oath of the Horatii”. Perhaps their choice of name expresses nothing more than Le Pen’s opposition to Les Gracques, a centre-left French grouping named for Rome’s Republican heroes, the anti-aristocratic Gracchi brothers. But sometimes classical allusions, however obscure, still mask modern bite. We know already that Le Pen speaks for a blend of old-style Gallic nationalism, with Germany the focus of its enmity, and Modern Anti-Immigrant sentiment. In Les Horaces, we see another familiar far-Right Trope: a cult of virile brotherhood rooted in blood. Of course, you need to know your Latin to spot it. Messiha and his friends may claim to fight for the French peasant, but they speak in an elite code.

      • tes

        Selam said,

        Thank you so much. And the information you supplemented is important. If you could, please communicate with the us, the forumers. I always think that you are communicating with yourself which is not the objective of this forum.

        tes

        • said

          Selam,

          thank you for let me know the objective of AT forum. i Put my idea and i rarely interact and i write and communicating with wide audience and not necessarily with awate forum.

  • Saleh Johar

    Ahlan Ismael,

    Indeed, your response seemed directed at anything but what I wrote. And I agree with you on how you explained the hypocrisy and double standards with the way the media and the West depicts its prejudices (and some of our own). But the prevailing anti-Muslim rhetoric should not prevent us from looking inward and see what is wrong with us. It is that introspect that made me write the article, not to apologize to anyone—I do not do that and I am sure you know it.

    As you mentioned, Muslim societies have been decimated by a chain of tyrants whose atrocities surpass anything we might be tempted to throw at colonialists. Then, why are Muslims taking all of that abuse? Why are the changes leading to worse situations? Why are Muslims, particularly wealthy Muslim countries, watching the acute brain drain silently? Why should the Arabs suffer from lack of capital investments and unemployment? Why should intellectual endeavor be abysmally poor? Why all the hopelessness?

    These are what I tried to address though it was not a thesis paper, but an article to touch on the surface hoping to raise a debate, just like your reaction.

    Dear Ismael, I know enough of the history of Muslim jurisprudence, but I also know that established and influential religious sects have repeatedly declared “the era of jurisprudence is closed.” Islam doesn’t have a clergy class, but they have established a clergy and monopolized jurisprudence. Their anti-modernity rhetoric has denied Muslims advancement and the evidence of the social backwardness is too obvious to miss.

    Indeed, those I called “new preachers” are provoking Muslims to think and challenge the established “clergy” enlightening the people and bringing issues that were subdued to the fore. That is good and you, with a known leaning to philosophy, understand the importance of such debates. Indeed, Muslim tyrants “have never given a hoot about the Quran or Hadith except to use them as tools to bamboozle the masses.” But established religious institutions, and servile preachers and imams have given them cover to wreak havoc in Muslim countries by using questionable narrations that only the servile ulema approve of. I believe that Muslims have the right to think for themselves and oppose such ulemas who think they are divine simply because they quote divine scripture. They should not be allowed to spread ignorance and preach hate using narrations by fallible humans, and presenting them as divine revelations—and Muslim history, its buried literature from the old times, informs us how many individual Muslim scholars (and rebels) challenged the statuesque and paid dearly for it. I check their lectures–I have been watching tons of it diligently for years for a project I am working on, and I cannot help but be abhorred–I see so-called ulema preaching blind obedience to tyrants, promoting hate against fellow Muslims and non-Muslims. They preach hate and conflict. They condemn big chunks of Muslims as apostates, and shamelessly think conquests and enslaving people would solve economic problems. As Muslims, we need to admit there is a big problem there.

    If you saw my sample of preachers, they include the Sufi, the Ashaari, the Quraani, the rebel Azhari sheikh, the traditional imam, and they are just a small sample of those I listen to. I have notes, transcripts and studies of dozens of others, particularly those whose theme focused on inflaming hate and preach backwardness, the anti-modernity, anti-equality, anti-peace preachers. And I do it to understand what is ailing my religion, why the social gathering of many Muslims has become frustrating due to the culture of liberally quoting scripture to make a point, thinking quoting divine quotes makes them divine. I am born a Muslim and I am a Muslim, but I knew what Shi’aa was late in life when I lived in the Gulf states. I am amazed at Eritreans whose discourse is centered around insulting Shia, Mutezelah, this imam and that imam, this scholar and that scholar, when all are Muslims. I have studied Bukhari, Muslim and Tirmizi, not as a theologian or a scholar, I am neither, but as an individual Muslim disgusted by the death and mayhem plaguing Muslims all over the world.

    I agree with you that one can write tomes about the injustices committed on Muslims (and non-Muslims) by the West or others over the ages, it is abundantly out there for anyone who is objective enough to identify. But that has been debated, and is still being debated. What is missing, in my humble opinion is, the introspect, checking the self by Muslims and addressing what ails Muslims, with honesty, without practicing “teqiya”.

    Dear Ismail, I have similar concerns like you, but in the article you mentioned, I chose to touch on what ails Muslims—I do not enjoy being embarrassed by what someone claimed the prophet (pbu) said. I do not believe the prophet could have possibly said or did what they claim. For instance, they the narration that the devil sleeps in one’s nostrils! I was so embarrassed by teenagers whom I persuaded to come with me to a mosque and they saw that and mocked it. However I tried to explain it, I know I failed—they were more critical thinkers that anyone would give them credit for. However the clergy try to interpret it, in my opinion, it will not fly. I believe, just like people corrected the narrations and arrived at “ijmaa” a long time ago, it’s time to scrutinize all the narrations and purge what contradicts with the Holy Quraan and rational thinking. I believe Muslims should not be beholden to interpretations of centuries ago, defying the knowledge that God enabled humanity to accumulate over the centuries. That, I do not see as an apology, but being open to the reformation of our collective culture, to do away with superstitions that are presented as authentic narration that alleges its source is the prophet, and anything that contradicts with his character as described in the Quraan.

    I hope I briefly explained where I stand.

    And thank you for your always civil discourse and insightful article. Please make it more frequent.

    • Ismail

      Selamat Saleh,

      Thanks for the passionate and detailed response. Yes, you have explained yourself beautifully and articulately.

      As you probably can tell, my remarks about your article was a side note not the main reason I wrote the article.
      I agree with almost everything you say above (as I do with most of the thoughts you expressed in your article). What I disagreed with and what triggered my remarks was the following statement you made:

      “Many Muslims and non-Muslims alike, do not understand that most of the contemporary problems associated with Islam are mainly based on the claimed narrations of the life and practices of the Prophet Mohammed, known as Sunna (traditions/Hadith).”

      I would have agreed with you wholeheartedly if you had used “one” instead of “most” in the above statement. Was it just a rhetorical expression on your part or did you really actually mean “most”? If the latter, then I still disagree with you. In my view, the above statement is an exaggeration of sorts that minimizes the role of many other serious factors that I mentioned in my article. That is all .

      Thanks
      Ismail (pointblank)

      • Saleh Johar

        Ahlan Ismael,
        Thank you for your comment.

        I used “most” in the context what ails Muslims, be it in creed or culture. Muslims are guided by the Quraan and Sunna (of course by culture, but many people tend to define or defend culture with Quraan or Sunna) and in that context, I do not see any problem with the Quraan, but the Sunna–without discounting the effect of other literature which I chose to exclude to stay focused, and which you might see more important than I did.

        I would like to learn from you the intellectual sources apart from the Quraan and Sunna in the context of what I explained. This might help you see, my point: 1) most wars, purging, cruelty, tyranny, etc was selectively and liberally supported by the two throughout history, 2) I am excluding external factors so that we stay focused.

        Thank you

  • iSem

    Hi Ismail:
    This article is very useful as a quick reference for the uninitiated, the based about Islam and the challenges it faces at this juncture of its history. I am of the opinion that Islam is going transformation and it will soon purge those who are committing crimes under its name, Muslims have no choice and they are starting to reclaim their religion.

    But there is a problem, first, though we have to differentiate Islam, Islam as in the faith and Islam as in Islam that the countries who most of the prolific terrorists have come from. As you know Islam has tremendously contributed to our civilization, but suddenly Muslim countries started deteriorating, abandoning scientific inquiry and as I am fond of saying the Arab world, about the size of USA in population and predominantly Muslim, publish under 1% of scientific papers, they have started to enslave women, a far cry from Kajjija (Kadijja), Prophet Mohammed’s wife, who was successful business woman and a confidant and advisor to the prophet. So we cannot deny there is problem with Muslims, although in general Islam the religion is not worse or better than its cousins; Judaism and Christianity, all three religions were founded by three men from the Middle East and originate from the same basic believe system.

    Calling Saudi Arabia, Quater, Kuwait and Arab countries, the self crowned Islam custodians is wrong, these are not countries, they are family owned conglomerates who use the good name and history of Islam to enrich and empower themselves to create generational wealth. While people like Warren Buffet and Bill Gates will donate almost all their wealth, these kings who are far richer than the two men will transfer them to their next generation, creating nothing for the poor lots. The Hamas leaders who tell kids to be suicide bombers are alcohol drinking hypocrites. But still they are Muslims, the same way the terrorists in the 911 were as you said, so if some one from Saudi Arabia with a recognizable Muslim name and commits the heinous crimes, it is not wrong to call them they are Muslims and I think the media is not wrong to call them Muslims, practicing or not, they are Muslims. It is not Islam’s problem, it is the Muslim’s problem, their religion does not instruct them to kill Jews and Christians or any “unbeliever”, they have decided to hide behind Islam, but no one is telling them, or at least not until recently that there is not place to hide behind Islam by teaching the true faith of Islam.
    Colonization has ended long time ago, and although it must be blamed for many problems in Africa and Middle East, how much weight is the blame? Colonization is often the escape goat of the failed nations, of failed leaders, of dictators, they have not produced visionary leaders, and in the a few cases they have managed to produce a couple like in Congo the visionaries were killed by their own. There are things we could have learned from colonization, but again like the leaders who send kids to their death under the name of Islam, we keep perpetually blaming colonization.

    Also the media that we often criticize as biased, Muslim and African countries do not even have media and I also disagree with you that entire western media is biased against Islam. It actually exposes a lot of the anti Islam rhetoric and most of the journalist who report from that trouble region report honestly and truthfully, saying the western media is dishonest is not true, it is the media, the free speech, the seeking for truth that has propelled their societies from the scourges that ails Africa and the Middle East now, and they cannot be selectively truthful, I believe truth is their bread and butter and they have done well.
    Do not take my word for it, ask the Syrian Muslims and African who risk their lives to cross the high seas to make to the USA and Europe, they have freedom to practice their faith and live their lives and receive justice better than they did in their own “countries” The new crop of preachers has their job cut for them: next is to translate the obscure Arabic versus in the classical Arabic to every day Arabic so people will understand that their s no verse in the Quran about virgins to be had to die for, that the it actually teaches you to treat Christians and Jews with the utmost esteem and dignity that the God of Isaac and God of Ismail are one. You mentioned Dr.Goldestein who massacred Muslims in Israel and I was new here and it was reported, it was not covered up by the western media. Again it is a matter of degrees, if ISIS beheading people live, raping and enslaving their own women, and all of them come from the same region and religion, we have no choice but to call them “Muslims”, we should not blame Islam as we know it does not inform them to do so, but they are Muslims, they pretend to pray, they recite the verses from somewhere and they tell the illiterate that it is from the Quran and they all have Muslims names.

    This article is not classic Ismail Omeri Ali because of this: that rapes happen in USA, they happen in all countries who have people born with some defect, some drug called testosterone. The difference is this: if the victims reports it or if the criminal is discovered within the status of limitation they are punished and the media does not cover it, in Boko Haram land, a land that burned Lagos in search of a young journalist because she jokingly wrote this about prophet Mohammad: referring to a “stupid” beauty pageant that was under way in Lagos, she wrote, ” The young women are so beautiful that if prophet Mohammed was alive, he would wed one of them”. In the land of ISIS rape victims do not get justice, in the land of Hamas, the parents of the kids who paid with their lives would have more justice in Israel than in the land of Hamas.

    Of course the justice system is biased against Muslims, but who told us that, you guessed it, the study told us that, the media told us that, but in conglomerates who pretend to be countries, there is no justice system let alone a biased one, there is not study, there is no free media, there is cover up, that is the difference.

    Of course Muslims are not predisposed to crimes, but there is an established fact in the criminology field that Caucasians are more disposed to be serial killers, Muslims do not come from the same DNA so we cannot say they are predisposed to crimes, but genes predispose people to certain things and there is a book, “Troublesome Inheritance” by a science reporter that makes the same argument that genes predispose us to certain things. So maybe the the Africans and Arabs, who were created at the same time the whites were created are incapable of enshrining rule of law and civilized society. we will findout

    Stupid Pageant* because they decided to hold it during Romadan month in a Muslim country

    • Ismail

      Selamat Isem,

      Thanks for the feedback. Your remarks about rape shows that you missed the whole point I was making. You say that rape happens in all countries. That is absolutely true but that was exactly the point I was making! I mentioned rape within the context of an imaginary scenario that puts Muslims in control of the media. I was making the point that if the roles were reversed, the reporting would be biased in favor of Muslims and more focus would be placed on the problems and crimes of non-Muslims just as western media does it to Muslims today.

      About Goldstein…

      You said it was covered by media. Yes you are right but was he ever called “a Jewish terrorist” by mainstream media? No but if the massacre was committed by a Muslim, it would have been all over the place and immediately associated with his Islamic faith. That is the double standard I was referring to.

      Thanks
      Ismail (pointblank)

      • tes

        Selam ismail,

        Since you wanted me to be serious, I will be serious. Just look to your shame.

        1. You wrote,

        You[isem] say that rape happens in all countries. That is absolutely true but that was exactly the point I[Ismail] was making!

        Then, your rationale is: Rape happens everywhere, right?

        You reminded me Yemane Ghebremeskel.

        2. You wrote,

        You said it was covered by media. Yes you are right but was he ever called “a Jewish terrorist” by mainstream media?

        Not ignoring the Jewish Terrorists, what prevented those Muslim countries to came it as such for the Jewish terrorism as Jews Terrorists and those of Arab Terrorism as Arab Terrorists?

        Or your rationale is: Terrorism happens by all religions, right?

        Or you want to tell us that there is also Jewish terrorism so is Muslim Terrorism.

        The good thing is:

        We have Jews and Arabs which represent the people and Jews and Muslims which represent religious people. Which one do you think is more relevant to talk about?

        tes

  • Simon Kaleab

    Selam Ismail Omar-Ali,

    Let us have a Frank discussion.

    It seems to me the whole article is based on a false assumption. It is not the case that, unlike Islam, Christianity harbours political ambition for State power. The central message of Christianity is the redemption of the soul in the afterlife. Add to this the examples Jesus, which are forgiveness, reconciliation and universal brotherhood but not war or violence.

    Therefore, all those crimes committed by people who are nominally [in name only] Christians cannot be attributed to Christianity as they cannot find any backing in Christian scripture.

    What is Islam’s attitude to the following?

    – A Muslim changing his/her religion

    – Anyone criticising the Islamic prophet Muhammad

    – Anyone criticising the Qur’an and Islam

    – A Muslim woman having an affair before marriage of choosing a marriage partner by herself

    – A Muslim committing adultery

    • Ismail

      Selamat Simon,

      First, I want to commend you for your honesty. Although your tone leaves much to be desired, you were at least sensible enough to end your comments with questions. That shows a certain degree of restraint and humility that is not always easy to maintain. So I applaud you for it.

      Forgive me for saying this but your questions are are stale, borrowed, and unimaginative. They are a textbook example of the success of the Islamophobia industry I alluded to in my article. In any case, here are your answers for now:

      Q. A Muslim changing his/her religion

      • Simon Kaleab

        Selam Ismail Omar-Ali,

        I have many questions.

        – On a Muslim changing his/her religion,

        Qur’an 4:89 says-

        “They wish you would disbelieve as they disbelieved so you would be alike. So do not take from among them allies until they emigrate for the cause of Allah . But if they turn away, then seize them and kill them wherever you find them and take not from among them any ally or helper.”

        – On anyone criticising the Islamic prophet Muhammad,

        Qur’an 33:57 says –

        “Indeed, those who abuse Allah and His Messenger – Allah has cursed them in this world and the Hereafter and prepared for them a humiliating punishment.

        – On anyone criticising the Qur’an and Islam

        Qur’an 5:33 says –

        “Indeed, the penalty for those who wage war against Allah and His Messenger and strive upon earth [to cause] corruption is none but that they be killed or crucified or that their hands and feet be cut off from
        opposite sides or that they be exiled from the land. That is for them a disgrace in this world; and for them in the Hereafter is a great punishment.

        In your opinion, are these verses wrong?

        – On a Muslim woman having an affair before marriage of choosing a marriage partner by herself,

        You said: “It is considered a grave sin and a punishable offense under Islamic law.”

        What is this punishment?

        • blink

          Dear sir , do not try to get honest answers, he will just run around without offering simple answers. He will hide in small corner but can only cover his head. You do not need to ask any one , what you have to do is , look to the ME.

        • Fanti Ghana

          Hello Simon Kaleab,

          I know your opinion of religion in general from your previous posts, but since the context in this case includes Kebessa/Lowland – Islam-Christian elements, I feel obligated to mention that whatever you have listed above, supposedly shortcomings of Islam, for the sake of fairness and decency, I would have appreciated it if you had included whatever the Bible says regarding similar cases.

          And the daughter of any priest, if she profane… she shall be burnt with fire. Leviticus 21:9

          When men … Then thou shalt cut off her hand, thine eye shall not pity her. Deu 25:11-12

          He that sacrificeth unto any god, save unto the LORD only, he shall be utterly destroyed. Exo. 22:20

          Then ye shall bring them both out… and ye shall stone them with stones that they die. Deu 22:24

          Samaria shall become desolate; for she hath rebelled against her God: they shall fall by the sword: their infants shall be dashed in pieces, and their women with child shall be ripped up. Hos 13:16

          We can talk about context, historical facts, translation errors, political issues of the time, and etc… about our books forever, but when our topic involves religion, it is our obligation to:

          1) try to talking about things we understand
          2) respect each other’s beliefs,
          3) stay clear altogether

          Thank you.

          • tes

            Selam Fanti Ghana,

            This is a great counter checking mechanism. What those blind followers of Christians(mostly christian politicians) do not want to mention is that Chrisitians were also worst terrorists before the years looked calm.

            I had a strong debate with a friend on the war of crusadors. He became so offensive, never saw him like that before, when I tried to narrate history of crimes committed in the name Christiandom.

            Christians are now brainwashed by the word which is preached by christian politicians just like that of Muslim politicians who never follow what the bood they refer say but their ambitions.

            If we today, Russia is manipulating the Orthodox Church. Highest Priests are on television blessing soldiers who are going to war, planes which are on a mission to bombard innocent people. If you ask any Christian, he/she will respond, Putin is not using Christianity. And if you ask them about ISIS – they say that they are using Islam.

            Truth be told. religion can be manipulated by politicians. What we can do is to separate religion from political discourses.

            tes

          • Abi

            Hi Tes
            I know nothing about religion. All I know is that God loves us so much he converted water to a delicious wine.
            Enjoy my friend. You sound like you have already emptied a bottle or two.
            I’m enjoying Grey Goose while gazing at the screen.

          • Fanti Ghana

            Hello Prof.,

            It had to be said because the topic started with the current government being Christian and what not. So, since the topic involved two religions, it would be fair to either condemn both, admire both, and/or compare and contrast and explain why one is better/worst than the other.

            Dictators can’t survive long in a united society. They have to have a power base they can reliably control through an imagined threat, a reward, and quite often, a little of both. It is a classic behavior of dictators.

          • Dear Fanti Ghana,

            Jesus was he who said that he had come to revise and renew the mosaic laws of the old testament and replaced them with his teachings of love, tolerance and forgiveness. Even by that time, more than two thousands years ago, these mosaic laws were non-functioning. A good example was when a mob came to stone to death a prostitute, and Jesus told them ‘let he who has not sinned cast the first stone’, and they were ashamed and left her alone and went away.

            Since the spanish inquisition, the crusades and wars between two christian denominations (protestants and catholic), have there ever been any religious wars declared from the christian side? Even the talk of it is abhorrent. Well, one might say that the supremacist, far right and fascists steve bannon is waiting for the armageddon, the last war between christians and muslims, nevertheless, he will never have the broad support to satisfy his sick mind.

            Political and economic crimes by the christian west have been committed over the last half millennium, and it is going to continue, but we cannot say it was religious and it was not mainly for economic reasons, which of course, sometimes served the interest of religious leaders too. Remember, they are bed-fellows with conservative and tyrant arab governments, whenever they see that their corporate interests can be fulfilled.

            The narrative of killing for the sake of God is anachronistic in christian religious philosophy, and it has no place since the times of Christ.

            All religions should be open to discussion and criticism, wherever and whenever necessary, for the sake of the changing modern society of knowledge and information. Even religion cannot be dogmatic anymore, when it cannot explain or solve certain societal problems. This does not hurt religion, but on the contrary, it will strengthen its influence and importance.

            Remember, religion is not the problem, but those who trade with religion, some religious fathers and others. They are the ones who drove away believers from churches in western societies, and they will be the people who will drive away muslims from their mosques in the future.

          • Saleh Johar

            Hi Horizon,
            You asked, “Since the spanish inquisition, the crusades and wars between two christian denominations (protestants and catholic), have there ever been any religious wars declared from the christian side? ”

            Yes there was. You skipped two centuries without mentioning WW1 and WW2, and so many in between.

          • Dear SJG,

            May be i have not explained myself enough. I had in mind wars declared in the name of religion. I think that the two world wars were due to the difference in their geopolitical interests mainly between the christian west, similar to their conflicts over the colonial cake. I don’t think that WWI-II were religious in nature.

          • Stefanos Temelso

            We must differentiate what the Bible says in the old testament and the new testament. The old testament is Jewish history for me. But since Christ came everything written in the new testament is for peace. There is no Christian who claims you must kill or commit adultery or steal etc.

          • Amanuel Hidrat

            Dear Stefanos,

            Both the old and new testament are that makes the bible and the Christian use them in their daily preaching. The new testament did not come to replace the old testament. Jesus himself pronounced it in his preaching. Usually, adherents of religions, in what they do and what they preach are not consistent. So are the Christian followers. When it comes in to the politics of region as in all political practices, there is always cherry picking arguments. Hence Stefanos, you sound walking in that familiar political lanes.

            Regards

          • Fanti Ghana

            Hello Stefanos Temelso,
            No problem there. The basic truth is that there is an explanation to who does what and what the books say. All I was trying to remind Simon was to not be unfair by selectively picking verses for the heck of attacking one another. Either let’s ask scholars to enlighten us why we have such verse and or at least, let us use the same standards to evaluate both our religions.

          • Simon Kaleab

            Selam Fanti,

            The subject matter of the article is: “Are Muslims or Muslim Societies Prone to Violence?”. Instead of answering the question posed by the title of the article, you brought old Biblical verses as a diversion. This approach is based on a logical fallacy, the Tu Quoque [meaning ‘you too’] fallacy, and it does not advance the discussion.

            The Tu Quoque fallacy is committed when it is assumed that because someone else has done a thing there is nothing wrong with doing it.

            Although you are trying to divert the issue, I will answer your Biblical curiosities [despite myself being a non-religious person].

            There are, indeed, some violent verses in the Old Testament. These verses are related to old customs and tribal conflicts related mainly to grazing fields and watering wells. They are not applicable today. If you ask experts, on these verses applicability in this day and age, they might laugh at you. The last time these verses might even have been used will probably extend back to few thousand years. So, Fanti, when did you last see these verses being applied?

            On Christianity: there are, no doubt, nominal Christians who are cruel and violent. But their practices are contrary to the Jesus’ examples.

          • Fanti Ghana

            Hello Simon Kaleab,

            Actually, there is nether fallacy nor diversion, because you stated your Quranic verses relative to Christianity like so:

            “Therefore, all those crimes committed by people who are nominally [in name only] Christians cannot be attributed to Christianity as they cannot find any backing in Christian scripture.” followed by what looked like western perfected Islam bashing.

            If you hadn’t included this obviously comparative statement it wouldn’t have bothered me. As far as the rationalizations such as Christians are not practicing it any more, it is an outdated stuff, and so on is fine with me, however, why then don’t we use the same standards and rationalizations when we define or try to understand Islam?

            Have you ever asked a Muslim scholars to explain to you why the Quran says those things you listed?

            The directly or indirectly implication of “Christianity is better because we are not following it” rational amazes me brother Simon.

          • Simon Kaleab

            Selam Fanti,

            All religions are man made here on Earth.

            A Tu Quoque [meaning ‘you too’] fallacy will not advance the discussion.

          • Abraham H.

            Hi SimonK, your typical outrageous hypocrisy has been laid bare by Fanti Ghana; what is wrong with you, man? One of the important lessons I’ve learned in this great forum from great people like Mahmud Saleh, SGJ, Fanti, etc. is to never try to take isolated verses out of the Scriptures and make a conclusive judgemnet based on that. The verses are related, most of them were revealed at the early stages of the religion to give guidance at the events that were taking place and the realities then. And as many have said, there are many contradicting verses that say different things about the same issue, hence it is difficult for us who’ve not religious scholarly education to fully grasp them. I can find you a lot of verses from the Quran that contradict what you presented as evidence for viloence in the Islamic faith. In fact, forgiveness and mercifulness are vitues that are very common in most of the verses and highly valued. In fact, I’ve read somewhere that Islam is the closest religion one could come to a social democratic society. The problem lies always with those ‘scholars’ that are distorting and literally interpreting verses to further their own evil political agenda.

          • Simon Kaleab

            Selam Abraham H.,

            Why don’t you post those verses that advocate “forgiveness and mercifulness”? But remember, they must be related to the questions I asked Ismail Omar-Ali.

          • Saleh Johar

            Selam Simon,

            I believe you are a bookworm! Why don’t you read the Quraan yourself instead of giving Abraham what looks like a test paper 🙂

            But honestly, I am really disappointed by the shallow manner you are handling this debate–you have deeper knowledge than that, and you can easily find it if you just try to be objective.

            I would like to bring to your attention that the bible story of Moses, and Joshua, are too gruesome to even repeat here. Anyone trying to make the followers of one religion appear better than the others is simply playing gantai-gantakha, something one doesn’t expect from learned people. As a Muslim, all three Abrahamic religions are mine–so, trying to compare one against the other, with the intention of proving a non-existent competition, is hypocritical and a waste of time.

            Here I will give you one information that you may find useful.

            1) Each aya (verse) in the Quraan was revealed at a given time, for a given reason–it has a context. Picking an aya and trying to apply it in a different context is misleading. The ayas can only be perceived in the context they were revealed. All scriptures has that and all divine books are my books, I see no difference in them.

            2)When the first state in Islam was established in Medina, Muslims were guided by revelations and the leadership of the prophet to structure the state apparatus. Of course, the state had to develop a military doctrine like any other state. The versus were revealed as guidance and instructions on how to deal with the prevailing situations. As time went by, Muslims scholars interpret the ayas to be adoptable to the following eras.

            3) To defend themselves, the first Muslims followed aya 8:60 which reads as follows:
            “And prepare against them what force you can and horses tied at the frontier, to frighten thereby the enemy of Allah and your enemy and others besides them, whom you do not know (but) Allah knows them; and whatever thing you will spend in Allah’s way, it will be paid back to you fully and you shall not be dealt with unjustly.”

            Though that is part of the doctrine, horses and arrows as a decisive military tools became obsolete–imagine some army equipped with horses and arrows to fight a modern war! Therefore, scholars interpreted that to mean modern weapons–tanks and artillery and guns. But some scholars might interpreter that literally and insist on fighting modern warfare on a horseback– and you wouldn’t blame Islam for that.

            4) Military doctrine developed with time, through jurisprudence. When the Moghuls invaded Muslim countries and destroyed the libraries of Baghdad, which contained thousands of books, translation of Greek philosophies, mathematics, and science (which helped kick-start the European renaissance, by learning of lost Greek knowledge through Muslim translations), Muslims scholars developed strategies to fight the invasion of the Moghul hordes. One of the most prominent of those scholars was the embittered scholar Ibn Teymiya (a very long story)–I believe ISIS is using that same strategy which was developed in time of war to face the Moghul invasion. The laymen might quote an aya here and there, but out of context, and you can’t blame Islam for that but ignorance of human-beings.

            5) I don’t know if this fits your requirements or not, as requested from Abraham, but I will give you two versus that might help you:

            I- Quraan 2:62 “Truly those who keep the faith, and the Jews, and the Christians, and the Sabaeans — whoever believes in God and the Last Day and performs virtuous deeds — surely their reward is with their Lord, and no fear shall come upon them, neither shall they grieve.”

            II- Quraan 6:151 “Take not life which Allah has made sacred”

            III-Quraan 5:32 “… We decreed upon the Children of Israel that whoever kills a soul unless for a soul or for corruption [done] in the land – it is as if he had slain mankind entirely. And whoever saves one – it is as if he had saved mankind entirely….”

            Dear Simon, remember, the above have context and I encourage you not to take them as they are without understanding the context in which they were revealed. I just brought them up to help you argue as an informed man from a leaned point of view. And remember, for every violent verse you bring from the Bible of the Quraan, I will bring you two from the bible or the Quraan–and as Ammanuel explained, you cannot separate the old and new testaments–they are inseparable twins. If you think the the new testament cleared the violence of the old, there are equivalents in Islam known as “Neskh” (roughly meaning abrogation–a a term used in Islamic legal exegesis. In short, this kind of debate that has been raging since thousands of years will not end. We better come to terms with them and not be too arrogant in thinking we can bring it to an end.

            Thank you

          • Simon Kaleab

            Selam Saleh J.,

            I quoted some Qur’anic verses not for the sake of quoting but in response to the unconvincing reply of Ismail Omer-Ali’s gave to my questions.

            These questions are pragmatic and very important for the building of a secular Eritrea. I hope you will be able to give satisfactory answers to them. They are:

            What is Islam’s attitude to the following?

            – A Muslim changing his/her religion

            – Anyone criticising the Islamic prophet Muhammad

            – Anyone criticising the Qur’an and Islam

            – A Muslim woman having an affair before marriage or choosing a marriage partner by herself

            – A Muslim committing adultery

          • Saleh Johar

            Hi Simon,

            I will answer your questions to the best of my ability, but pleae never think that Muslims are a hindrance to secular rule in Eritra as many “white Eritreans” think 🙂

            1. What is Islams towards a Muslim changing his/her religion?

            Please google freedom of belief in Islam on your own, it is too long to add here. But simply put, there no single aya in the Quraan that sanctions killing anyone who changes his religion from Islam. The only source that says that is in the narration of Bukhari, and it’s a single, weak narration that even the narrator Muslim didn’t authenticate: “men beddela dinehu fa’aqtiluhu”(translation, kill whoever changes his religion) the source of the alleged statement by the prophet is a lone person named Akrima and he is discredited untrustworthy as per many sources, even the narrator Muslim didn’t accept him as a trustworthy source.

            Many scholars explain the issue clearly, including the late Shiekh Al Bouti, who was killed by terrorist attack in Syria a few yearsbago. who makes it very clear Quraan doesn’t sanction such killing.

            In the early days of Islam, when states were known for their religion, Mdina was the Muslim stste and Mecca (and other states were enemies and were t war–so, crossing to the enemy lins was considered treason and entailed killing.–the term used to describe one who cchanges his religion is “Murted” and it means , “return”, as in someone joins the Islamic community in Medina and then returns to enemy camp in Mecca, but no one was ever killed by the prophet for changing his religion, in fact there are incidents were some individuals crossed to enemy lines, came back and apologized to become prominent commanders. Check some explanation here: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=EonUAQ3ztgM

            That being the understanding of the overwhelming Muslims, there are followers of a ultra narrow sect that promote the idea, and here such a scholar defending that positions, based on a questionable sources, by a fallible human being, one person, and he defends it with a very relaxed demeanor: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=wMwpEV70c5A

            2. What happens to you if you criticize Isaias in Asmara? Your question 2 and 3 are too vague and they looks as if it one is looking for an excuse–it is a boilerplate question, please do not even repeat is–it is very elementary. But I do not know how any of the 1.5 million Muslims would react. I do not know how Christians would react in Axum if you criticized St. Mary, or Criticized the prophet in Karachi. But if you do it to provoke them, you will get what you wanted in the first place. People react the way the react, be it Muslims or otherwise. And people have the right to protest and demonstrate against what they do not approve–isn’t that all about secular democracy, the right to free expression? I think it includes Muslims.

            3. The Crotch questions: the rule of that is similar in all divine books, why do you even ask as if Islam has a different rule? Adultery is one of the ten commandments, remember?

            As for a Muslim woman choosing her husband, she cannot be forced to marry aga8nst her will. The Quraan is clear on that. However, I will give you the example of Eritea as an answer (I hope you were born and raised in Eritrea, otherwise tell me and I will provide another example): There is not much difference in the Muslim and Christian culture of wedding–the two cultures are equally oppressive of women, women are usually promised to someone when they are too young, and betrothed in similar traditional ways.

            Finally, don’t ever think one is superior to the other based on religion by extension (in other developed countries), as far as Eritrea and similar places are concerned.

          • Abraham H.

            Hi Simon K., I hope Saleh Gadi has given you a good explanation of the issue; I think it is important to read the verses with openness and not with the intention of ‘finding faults’ in order to ‘explain’ the fanatic actions of some extremists who kill innocent people in the name of Islam.

            For example, you gave Qur’an 4:89 as to what awaits a muslim changing his religion. If you read the verses immediately after it, you would find:

            -Quran Verse 4:90: Except for those who take refuge with a people between yourselves and whom is a treaty or those who come to you, their hearts strained at [the prospect of] fighting you or fighting their own people. And if Allah had willed, He could have given them power over you, and they would have fought you. So if they remove themselves from you and do not fight you and offer you peace, then Allah has not made for you a cause [for fighting] against them.

            -Quran Verse 4:91: You will find others who wish to obtain security from you and [to] obtain security from their people. Every time they are returned to [the influence of] disbelief, they fall back into it. So if they do not withdraw from you or offer you peace or restrain their hands, then seize them and kill them wherever you overtake them. And those – We have made for you against them a clear authorization.
            These two verses shows me that the one you quoted was actually meant for self defense purposes, it is not unprovoked violence; and who doesn’t have the right of self-defense?

            -Quran Verse 33:48 regarding disbelievers says: And do not obey the disbelievers and the hypocrites but do not harm them, and rely upon Allah . And sufficient is Allah as Disposer of affairs.

            -Quran verses 88:21-22 says:
            Therefore do remind, for you are only a reminder. You are not a watcher over them;

            -Quran Verse 2:256:
            There shall be no compulsion in [acceptance of] the religion. The right course has become clear from the wrong. So whoever disbelieves in Taghut and believes in Allah has grasped the most trustworthy handhold with no break in it. And Allah is Hearing and Knowing.

            -Quran Verse 10:99
            And if your Lord had pleased, surely all those who are in the earth would have believed, all of them; will you then force men till they become believers?

            -Quran Verse 18:29
            Say, “The truth is from your Lord”: Let him who will believe, and let him who will, reject (it): for the wrong-doers We have prepared a Fire whose (smoke and flames), like the walls and roof of a tent, will hem them in: if they implore relief they will be granted water like melted brass, that will scald their faces, how dreadful the drink! How uncomfortable a couch to recline on!
            etc.

          • Amanuel Hidrat

            Selam Abraham,

            Not only religious verses are contradictory to each other, but also are subject to interpretatipns and subject to emphasis on certain books of the Bible. Take for instance the various Christian denominations: they have the same holy book “the bible”, but they differ on how they interpret certain verses of the books. Good example is the first commandments which prohibits worshiping deities and idolatry other than Yahweh. The Catholics and orthodox interpret differently than protestants. Even the straight forward verses are still subject to interpretations by religious leaders. So debating on religion is always controversial and unsettling subject.

            Regards

          • Fanti Ghana

            Selam Simon,

            We will talk about the man made-ness some other time, preferably in person, but no, I don’t know Abubakr al Baghdadi. If I may guess what he may have said it is possible several (numerous) scholars do have different understandings and interpretations of religious verses.

            In some cases it could be an honest assumption of what a particular verse meant to them, but quite often some scholars may interpret verse for some sort of personal vendetta against some one or to just be an old fashioned contrarian.

            It is a human nature to disagree regardless of how simple or difficult an issue is. My be that is how we are sharpened!

          • Collateral Damage

            Hi Fanti
            Both the bible and the Quran have violent verses and good ones, they are like a supermarket you pick what you like, a knife to kill your friend or a bread to feed the homeless.

            But it’s a bit disingenuous to equate the current followers of the two religions, After a violent and crazy 1000 years Christians started calming down in 16th century, the rise of Protestantism, capitalism and European Renaissance might have contributed for that. But Islam is yet pass through that stage. The super majority of Muslims are peaceful, but denying the violent elements are inspired by the holly book is denying the root cause of the problem.

            Because the others did it in 16th century cannot be a justification for doing it in 21st century.

            tip: you might listen orthodox priest in Ethiopia reading how the holy people of Ethiopia buried their opponents-“deke-estifanosiawian”(a slightly different sect than orthodox Christians) part of their body below their neck and galloped a horse on their head. St Marry approved that and the whole town was lighted with a heavenly light-hence debrebirehan

          • Saleh Johar

            Collateral Damage,
            The Lord’s army in Uganda was not in the 16th century, it was a few years ago. The Irish republican army stopped just a few decades ago. The Serbian genocide was in 1990. That if off y head. Crazy people do crazy things, crazy people say crazy things. At the end, no one should be forced to bear responsibility by association.

          • iSem

            Hi Saleh:
            “Crazy people say crazy things…..”. Aboslutely.
            Ismail Ali provoked us. I use provoke in a postive way, as in stimulated not as in teh Tigirniya, “toktiknna”:-)
            I like to say that the three cousins: Moses, Jesus and Mohammed conspired against us the citizens of the world like the two cousins IA and MZ have conspired against the citizens of Eri and Ethio. I

          • Collateral Damage

            Dear Saleh,
            I agree, no one should be forced to bear responsibility by association. As long as we agree on the root cause that the two holy books have a recipe for violence we can find a solution. Starting from family and community we all have a responsibility, we can’t just continue to teach our kids those holy books are word by word from God and perfect and then get surprised when 0.1% of them take it literally and act up on it.
            I am not ignorant of all the contributing factors, nationalism, poverty, injustice ..but I am interested on the primary sources not on the contributing factors.

            By the way I said “Christians started calming down” , we might agree they have come a long way from the days of Spanish Inquisition , that doesn’t mean they are perfect now.

            Thank you for giving us this platform for a civil discussion.,as East African we understand how that is a rare commodity.

          • Berhe Y

            Dear Collateral Damage,

            What I would like to add is, in the middle East, I think the actions of the state of Israel and the treatment of Palestinian people with the blind support of America, is the sources of the anger and it’s fueling the violence.

            Solving the problem of the Palestinian people should go along way to calm things down.

            Berhe

          • Saleh Johar

            Collatoral Damage<
            I have heard or read somewhere that “the only thing worse than religious fanatics are Atheist fanatics” 🙂

            Correct me if I didn’t understand your comment properly: do you believe that violence will disappear from the world if you stopped teaching religious books to children?

            I guess you have know about the history of violence in Russia, China, Cambodia, and many other nations from where God was literally banished, yet, that didn’t eradicate violence. Cain and Abel lived before the time of Quraan and Bible, and you know the story.

            Actually, violence is an expression of interest, greed, self-preservation and many other things. It’s just that people use whatever is readily available to advance their interests. If you stop the divine books today, humanity will adopt Shakespeare plays or Mickey Mouse cartoon magazines to be inspired for the next cycle of violence. I am sorry, but I find your explanation too simplistic

          • Collateral Damage

            Dear Saleh,
            Let me also use a quote I read somewhere
            “Morality is doing what is right, no matter what you are told. Religion is doing what you are told, no matter what is right”
            Probably I didn’t make myself clear, I don’t believe that the source of all violence is religion. in a separate thread we may discuss about how patriotism, poverty, injustice.. are a source of violence among other hundred reasons.
            But it’s my understanding that this thread is about religion based violence , specifically Islam.
            you asked me ” do you believe that violence will disappear from the world if you stopped teaching religious books to children” the answer is no.
            but if you ask me “can we reduce violence , if we don’t teach our children the bible and the quran as a perfect word of God and they should follow them blindly?” the answer is yes.
            Abrahamic religions have inherent problems , because the other side who believe in a different God is always the enemy, there is always one true way and the others are wrong. In numerous occasions in bible and quran believers are encouraged to destroy them, lucky us, not all religious people take the text literally, they take literally the good stuffs but interpret the bad stuffs figuratively.
            Sometimes I ask my friends “that doesn’t make sense , why do you believe that is true?” the answer is always I know it doesn’t make sense but who am I to question if God says so? I am sure there are a few suicide bombers who said “that doesn’t make sense” but got an answer of “who are you to question the infinite wisdom of God, if he says so”
            If we encourage our children to reason and question rather than force them to follow some ideology I believe we will live in a better world , not perfect but better.

            Lastly even if your comment imply that I am sure you didn’t mean that as long as there would a violence source somewhere we shouldn’t address a violence source at all. In a simple analogy , Ethiopia and Eritrea will not be a perfect place to live if we just succeed in removing the dictators but still we need to fight, Just because there are other source of problems shouldn’t be a license to continue the problem.
            one step at a time.

          • Saleh Johar

            Collateral Damage,

            That is condescending. Not all people who are brought up by religious parents are crazy fanatics. Look around you and tell me how many fanatics you know out of the people who were brought up by religious parents? How about the millions and millions of practicing religious people, are they mental defects? They are not.

            Ignorance breeds fanaticism, economic deprivation, lack of freedom feeds fanaticism. Can you tell me St. Augustine or Jallaedin A Rumi were fanatics, simply because they were religious people? My objection is your trying to condemn the billions and billions of religious people who roamed the earth by a few deranged individuals or groups. That is not right, not correct, and it is not tenable if we use rational thinking.

            Also, trying to source all violence to religion is very shallow, and can’t be proven. Please stop to define the entire humanity by a few bozos. There is already enough ignorance in the world, we do not need to add to it some more.

          • Fanti Ghana

            Hello Collateral Damage,

            Your “supermarket” analogy is very interesting, because Jeremiah 29:13 says: “You will seek me and find me when you seek me with all your heart.” I find this statement particularly very powerful because I interpret it to mean that if searching honestly, one will find enough reason to believe.

            I don’t think it is disingenuous. Think about it. After the “crazy 1000 years” the religion didn’t change, but people did; to some extent. By the same logic, whatever some Muslims may be doing could be a human factor and not necessarily the teaching of Islam.

            Of course, in both cases, there were/are misinterpretations, secondary goals, and hidden agendas by some entities, but that is a different story.

            I hope I was not sounding justifying any action at all. In general, my intention was to show that we have questionable verses in the Bible too, because there was a “comparison” element in the topic.

      • blink

        Dear ismael
        So all the honer killing has Nothing to do with Islam? Or any thing connected to it !!!
        Say what ever you like but you can not make all these old books to be purely free of heinous crimes , any religious book is full of crap . Religion is simply the death of reason. I find it funny that you guys try to explain the open book with many nice vocabularies. Islam must be reformed to be fit to the 21 century and beyond.

      • cool

        dear ismail donot answer questions simply out of you imagination,try to see things realistic.
        A muslim changing her/his religion Answer free to do so????question where ? in iran? in saudiarabia?in Afaghanistan? in somaly never and never the answer may be only in your mind.
        Anyone criticising the prophet, Free to do so`???didnot the whole muslim world go to the streets to demonstrate as one scandinavian film maker wanted to make fun of the prophet.
        Anyone criticising the quaran and islam .Answer free to do so????did you forget salman rushdie?

      • Stefanos Temelso

        This shows that the Islam of most Middle eastern countries is based on a false Islam. And if a woman is not free to do whatever she likes with her body before marriage she will face certain death. This is an abhorrent act for me. So, we must differentiate between individuals and the system. We witness all majority Moslem countries contravening the Koran; but nobody punishes them. If the people believe in Koran why don’t they rise up for the Koran is Holy? On the other hand they kill people for no religious offense? This is really very contradictory.

    • Brhan

      Hello Wedi Kaleab and Wedi Omer
      Why do not two of you talk a little of how you together lobby your MPs so that they do not allow PF(JD) cadres to hold their meetings in their cities like what Germany did to Turkey. Then when of two of you say good night , you go to your home and before your sleep pray the way you like, preach you like .
      HwKhum

  • sara

    Dear agapi
    Very interesting article that should have made it to time magazine if it wasn’t about we know who.
    Thanks

  • Ismail

    Selamat Agapi,

    Thanks,

    Ismail (pointblank)

  • Ismail AA

    Hayak Allah Ismail and all,

    After finishing my second reading of this article, I ended up having no hesitation to assess it as a down- to-earth narrative of what the title encompasses. The elegance and simplicity of the style neatly blende to demonstrate how the writer eployed his stored knowledge to serve his sharp analytical skill to argue cases that he feel contradict his perception.

    Though I read all articles of Ismail from the days of his debate with our equally erudite brother, Dawit Mesfin, and many more as well, I dare write that this article has unmistakably depicts his status as a writer. His approach to dealing with the complexity and potently controversial sense the subject matter the title embodies is superb and deserves admiration.

    The thoroughness of the coverage leaves one with no chance to question or challenge the conclusions he arrived at because the analysis on phenomenon of violence stretches from a single member of humanity ( an individual) to complex societal sets in all ramifications at group and organized states levels. For that reason, I ended up with nothing to write about save posing a couple of rather marginal enquiries:

    – whether or not the finite nature of resources the mother earth offers to its inhabitants (all God’s creatures in ecosystems) should be the departure point (hope gitSAtSE is not reading this) of dealing with the genesis of violence.

    – While I agree that despotic rulers in the Middle East and their rules that deprived societies from progress and development in league with colonial and imperial forces, I wonder where we fit the extremely puritan interpretation of Islam in the Arabian Peninsula and the monarchies (families) ruling there and their funding of the horror groups wreaking
    outrages around the region and beyond.
    Best regards

    • Ismail

      Selamat Ismail,

      Do you really mean what you say above or are you just looking out for your Moksi(:-)? Just kidding there .. Thanks a lot for your kind words…I really appreciate them. I reciprocate by noting that every compliment you make above applies to you.

      At the end of your comment, you “wonder where we fit the extremely puritan interpretation of Islam in the Arabian Peninsula and the monarchies (families) ruling there and their funding of the horror groups wreaking
      outrages around the region and beyond.”

      It is a good point but remember that monarchies are also dictatorships. A dictator is one who holds “complete autocratic control’ over others. By that definition,The Monarchies you referred to, former Emperor of Ethiopia, Haile Selassie, Italy’s Mussolini, Daniel Ortega of Nicaragua, Raul Castro of Cuba, Omar Bashir of Sudan, Isayas, and many others would fit the term. They all exercised or continue to exercise absolute control over their people or nation.

      They are not all the same however. Broadly, we can categorize dictatorships into two types: traditional vs modern. I wrote an article on this issue many years ago but the two differ primarily on their reach and techniques.The former Emperor Haile Selassie and Salman of Saudi Arabia are traditional dictatorships. Dictators like Isayas and Mugabe on the other hand belong to a class of leaders collectively known as ‘populist tyrants’ or simply as modern dictators. What distinguishes the latter from the former is that unlike traditional dictators, their strategy is not limited to suppressing the opposition, but includes a slew of effective techniques designed to sustain their power.

      Modern dictators are distinguished from traditional by having a large base of supporters. Unlike the traditional dictator that relies mostly on the military to maintain control, modern dictators use hundreds or even thousands of supporters that actively propagate their message. They instinctively know that if they are to survive and maintain their hold on power, they have to develop and continue developing a base of supporters. To achieve total control, they therefore deny publicity to all opponents while simultaneously exposing their people to their exclusive message day and night. Remind you of someone? In short, Modern dictators are sophisticated rulers who use a combination of mass mobilization, propaganda and force to enforce their goals. Traditional dictators also rule by force and use hereditary means to transfer power but generally do not mobilize their societies at the grass roots level.

      Thanks
      Ismail (pointblank)

Terrerti And Their MP Aunts

05 Oct 2017 Saleh "Gadi" Johar Comments (268)

[this is an archive edition of Negarit from August 2, 2004 and maybe you could see how today is what…

Eritrean Economy: Transportation Crisis And Turf War

02 Oct 2017 Gedab News Comments (186)

A turf war has surfaced and it involves the Eritrean ministry of transportation and the economic arm of the ruling…

Territorial Integrity v. Human Dignity

29 Sep 2017 Beyan Negash Comments (363)

The motivation for this article culminates from the ongoing intense discussion that continues to precipitate based on the talk that…

ሹም ገደደን ቆርበትን [Archive]

27 Sep 2005 Saleh "Gadi" Johar Comments (11)

እዚኣ ዛንታ ነቶም ብሓይሊ ዝተዓስከሩ ግዳያት ዘይኮነ ነቶም ኣብ ላዕለዋይ ጸፍሒ ሰራዊት ኤርትራ ዝርከቡ ኣባላት  ዝተጻሕፈት እያ። ?ደ ሰብኣይ ንሓንቲ ጽብቕቲ በዓልቲ…

Music

Cartoons

Links

Follow Us

Email
Print