Author, C.J. Werleman wrote this for Alternet.org, "We've spent the last half century waging and funding wars in the Middle East, playing one side off against the other, stoking ethnic rivalries, and arming regimes that inflict economic oppression upon their people. We've encircled the entire region with nearly 50 U.S. military bases and parked an aircraft carrier group permanently at their shores. The 17 Saudi 9/11 hijackers made their intent clear; they wanted the U.S. out of Saudi Arabia.["]When the U.S. removed Saddam and put 1 million Sunnis on the unemployment line, the 20th-century Western-manufactured country of Iraq disappeared, and Iraqis reached back for older identities: Sunni, Shiite and Kurd."
The Bush administration sold us the need for the invasion that created this instability and now we are being sold the fable that the problems in the Mideast are caused by religious extremism. If we think critically about this we will see that, although religious extremism is the apparent reason, it is a symptom of much deeper issues.
But we don't have time for critical thinking. We're too busy blaming Muslims in general for the problems we've created. After all, they do have this holy book that contains all those verses that call for killing in the name of God. It just proves that they are not a religion of peace as they claim.
But wait! Before we rest in our comfortable Judeo-Christian certainty claiming the higher moral ground. Religious extremism can have many manifestations and can be justified by using quotes from the Bible as easily as those found in the Koran.
There's lots to choose from: Kill Nonbelievers (2 Chronicles) Infidels and Gays Should Die (Romans) Kill People for Working on the Sabbath (Exodus)Kill People Who Don't Listen to Priests (Deuteronomy) ) Kill the Everyone in Town if One Person Worships Another God (Deuteronomy) Death to Witches (Exodus) Death to Homosexuals (Leviticus) Death to Fortunetellers (Leviticus) Death for Cursing Parents (Proverbs) and (Leviticus) Death for Adultery (Leviticus) Death for Fornication (Leviticus) Death to Followers of Other Religions (Exodus) Death for Hitting you Father (Exodus) Kill False Prophets (Zechariah Kill Women Who Are Not Virgins On Their Wedding Night (Deuteronomy ) Kill Followers of Other Religions. (Deuteronomy) Death for Blasphemy (Leviticus) Kill False Prophets (Deuteronomy) Kill Anyone who Approaches the Tabernacle (Numbers)
You see, it's easy to use extremist Islam to sensationalize the issues in support of a militarized agenda when our government decides to bomb someone in the Mideast.
And it's even easier to appeal to our religious prejudices to convince us that God is on our side while we bomb, exactly like those barbarians are convinced He is on their side while they behead.
Here's something to think about: Do their beheadings frighten us or make us angry and strengthen our resolve? What do you think bombing does to the innocent majority suffering in the conflagration we unleash in our efforts to stop the guilty few?
The issue is the use of extremist religious verses to justify extremist human behaviors because those justifications are so easily found in ancient texts. But for a moment, let's delve deeper and remember this all started when Western countries decided how to carve up the Mideast for their own benefit and ignored local customs, religions, and tribal loyalties.
Now it's exploding in our faces. Blaming religion, superficial as it is, may be a sufficient answer for those unaware of history. But if you really want to know the root causes of our current problems in the Mideast, follow the money and the West's ability to justify just about any action, including our own barbarism, in its pursuit.
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