Posts Tagged ‘Radical Islam’

Over 300 people are now dead. Twenty-seven are children. Why?

A group of truly evil people seem to think that Sufism is heretical. This must be because a branch of a great religion that focuses on peace and joy is anathema to fundamentalist ideology. After all, when did you ever see a dervish with an assault rifle? A dervish with a suicide belt? A dervish with anything but ecstasy? Clearly, no matter how “Godly” these perverse fools think there precious brand of nutcase Islam is, joy isn’t part of their God’s plan.

I find this especially appalling because, in my personal theology, and my broader religious community, JOY is exactly the purpose of living! Any religion whose theology mandates the killing of another person is not a religion of MY God. Not only that, killing a Sufi of all things could not be anything but an act of evil.

Paramahansa Yogananda once said “If you only knew how much God loved you, you would die of joy“. OK… he wasn’t Jewish but there are a lot in our community for whom that must resonate. I know that Jesus would say the same and I’ll bet the Prophet Muhammad would too, if only the crazy people would stop murdering others and would LISTEN. In fact, I’d propose that every major religion would agree. I’d also propose that every major religion has some segment of believers who let dogma trump that message.

What we have seen this week is yet another senseless MURDER of 300 precious members of our species. That is yet another bastardization of irrational dogma in the name of religion. Worse, it even twists the word religion to make that just another cover for hate.

So, to you who would kill 300 praying Sufis, I want you to know that I hate you too. The difference between you and me is that I’d never kill you for that. You see, I recognize that even you are precious members of the human family. Even you have been given the blessing of life no matter how you distort the image of God within you. You are stupid but you are sentient; and killing sentient beings because they aren’t like you is never acceptable. Not even with evil people like you.

So, this Thanksgiving I am grateful for joy. I am grateful to live. I am grateful for the love and friendship I share. I am grateful that the violent fanatics are a tiny subset of Muslims. And… yes… in memory of those men, women, and children you brutally murdered…

I am grateful that there is a branch of Islam devoted to joy.

This morning, as I was driving in to work, I was listening to Donald Trump supporters who were explaining why they agree with The Donald that we should ban all Muslims from entering the US. Some of these supporters were surprisingly articulate. For example, one guy’s response was:

  • ” ‘Cuz I don’ like ’em here”.

Another great response was:

  • “I’m scared and we gotta pertect Americans.”

Now, those are some rock solid debaters if ever I’ve seen one.

You may think I’m being biased when I quote people with an IQ of 16 but I’m not. Clearly, there are some intelligent people who have equally inane ideas. The problem comes when you put them all into a crowd where they are mutually supportive and where, in turn, they generate energy. That energy gives the leader greater and greater power. So, like we saw in Nazi Germany, or in Darfur, or at any political rally no mater who is speaking, crows give leaders power.

That is why I want to encourage everyone I know to read Elias Canetti’s seminal book “Crowds and Power“. Even right after the Holocaust, Canetti knew we could bring ourselves to extinction. He said:

  • “There is no doubt: the study of man is just beginning, at the same time that his end is in sight.”

He knew we could likely do it through war but that we always would need an invented enemy:

  • “Rulers who want to unleash war know very well that they must procure or invent a first victim.”

He seems to have even known that Donald Trump was coming when he said:

  • “The paranoiac is the exact image of the ruler. The only difference is their position in the world. One might even think the paranoiac the more impressive of the two because he is sufficient unto himself and cannot be shaken by failure.”

Canetti knew, way back then, that all Trump would need to do is to create fear by selecting an “enemy” that most of us don’t understand:

  • “There is nothing that man fears more than the touch of the unknown.”

And, of course, he knew what would happen if Mr. Trump spewed his nasty rhetoric in front of a large group:

  • “As soon as a man has surrendered himself to the crowd, he ceases to fear its touch. Ideally, all are equal there: no distinctions count, not even that of sex. That man pressed against him is the same as himself. He feels him as he feels himself. Suddenly, it is as though everything were happening in one and the same body.”

He certainly knew that the key to gaining power would be fear:

  • “All the distance which men place around themselves are dictated by this fear.”

And…. unquestionably the great Canetti knew that we have no longer any reason to believe that we have some divinely ordained right to even continue on. He observed:

  • “The planet’s survival has become so uncertain that any effort, any thought that presupposes an assured future amounts to a mad gamble.”

But, perhaps most amazing of all is that Canetti knew exactly what Mr. Trump needed to do to gain ever greater power. Knowing that a man like Trump gained the most from being continually in the press he said:

  • “Success is the space one occupies in the newspaper. Success is one day’s insolence.”

I’m giving you all these Canetti quotes because “Crowds and Power” is, perhaps, even more important now than it was after WWII. You see, for every person who is intelligent enough to rationally reason about political issues, engaged enough to make decisions based on data, concerned enough to look beyond their own small communities, and compassionate enough to see people who they don’t understand as a part of the rich fabric of humanity, there are dozens of people who don’t care, don’t pay attention, don’t see beyond their micro-worlds, don’t think, or are simply too stupid to understand that a threat to others is a threat to themselves. Put all the latter types into a room with Donald Trump and soon they will be cheering for laws against Muslims.

I hope you know where that path leads! It leads to religious laws, then racial laws, then explicit discrimination, then perhaps internment camps, and then…. I dare not say it.

Will all the people who support the coming tragedy be evil? Of course not. What they will be is part of an out-of-control machine that will be heading down a slippery slope with no breaks. We can’t let that happen.

Please people: Read Canetti!

If you think it can’t happen here, think again.

 

 

 

 

130 people were killed, and hundreds more wounded, in the horrific attacks in Paris. At least 19 people died when murders in the guise of “religious” zealots attacked a hotel in Mali. Yesterday Belgum went to its highest threat level and warned its people not to congregate. It seems that many people think that simply saying “Allahu Akbar” before murdering people in cold blood, absolves all the sin of taking a life. That is horrific, criminal, sinful, and, in a word, immoral. These people are acting out their psychoses in the name of God; using God as no more than an excuse: it’s intolerable.

But, I tell you from experience that this is NOT a trait of Islam and that Muslims are not de facto murderers. The problem is that a tiny fraction of a billion people is still a lot of whackos. Yet, to fear Islam and to act our violently or prejudicially against law-abiding, everyday Muslims is also tragic.

Yesterday, presidential candidate Donald Trump advocated (or perhaps simply did not dispute) the idea of a national registry for Muslims. As horrible as the psychopaths are, who murder Parisians and storm hotels yelling Allahu Akbar, the idea of a national registry is equally reprehensible. 

We are not Nazis. We need no Muslim version of the Nuremburg laws. We are a nation that must respect religious diversity. There is no other choice if the United States wants to remain a beacon of Liberty. No other choice!

Do you want to know when the hate-filled, radical, Islamic psychopaths are winning the war against the west? It’s when even a fraction of one percent of the American people think it’s okay to do to Muslims what the Nazis did to the Jews with the Nuremburg laws. 

I personally don’t care how many of the insane nutcases die or kill themselves in the name of 70 virgins, the hidden Iman, or an eschatology of golden paved streets of Islamic glory. I do care when they take other human life with them. I do care that the don’t respect every individual human soul. I do care when they are arbitrary. I do care about every dead human being and every grieving survivor.

But, as I care about each of these individuals, I also remember that they ARE INDIVIDUALS; and our American society must stand up for the value of every individual. We can’t do that when we allow a presidential candidate to advocate for government registries.

Do you want to know when the hate-filled, radical, Islamic psychopaths are winning the war against the west? It’s right now. It’s when we are scared enough to sacrifice our foundational value of universal Liberty by treating an entire group of people as our enemy. 

Let’s put the Trumpian bullshit to bed, never succumb to the fear they want us to feel, and never let the  motherfuckers win.