We, the people of the world, must step up and take responsibility to stop the madness, death and destruction that is being wrought in the name of religion and patriotism.
Only we, the people of the world, can stop it -- not by becoming part of the problem, but by realizing the solution. For peace will not be "won" when all sides are wrong. Peace will be made -- when what is crooked is made straight, when truth prevails over myths and falsehoods, when grievances are redressed, when all offenders make amends. And that will not happen unless and until we bring about a Reformation of Governments and a Reformation of Religions -- especially of Judaism, Christianity and Islam.
After all, Islam is not the only Abrahamic religion that is plagued with conflicts and divisions. There are some Jews and Christians who are also as blind flocks led astray by blind shepherds and false prophets.
In fact, certain sects of all three Abrahamic religions have been coopted and taken over by proud, militant, self-serving extremists who claim to serve God, but actually ignore and betray God. They are spiritually blind shepherds who divide and alienate their blind flocks and lead them astray, even into carnal, deadly warfare. Thus it is misguided Jews, Christians and Muslims who are causing the most conflict, division, violence, death and destruction in the world, and their deadly actions are having disastrous repercussions in the spiritual and material state of our world.
We must understand that they are ignorant of God and the Spirit of truth, which tells us that the only "weapons" of God are words of truth and wisdom. And only truth and wisdom will overcome and prevail over false doctrines and myths, just as only love will overcome and prevail over hate, and only good will overcome and prevail over evil. For two wrongs do not make a right.
Remember, as the wise Solomon wrote: "Wisdom is beneficent and kind. She is the aura of the power of God, the radiance of the eternal Divine Light, a spotless mirror of God. She renews all things, and passing into holy souls from age to age, She produces friends of God and prophets. She is firm, but Her ways are ways of pleasantness, and all Her paths are peace. She is a tree of life to them that lay hold upon Her. And Wisdom is far better than weapons of war."
The trouble is, certain arrogant, proud and militant "religious" leaders do not know that. They do not have wisdom, but claim they do, and they tend to be self-important, self-righteous and theocratic in their attempts to rule. They may have originally become religious leaders out of truly good intentions, but gradually, whether unwittingly or otherwise, they became corrupted by egocentric delusion and/or the misguided doctrines of men. And some are so corrupted and malicious that they could be considered as evil masquerading as good, and as wolves wearing sheep's clothing.
Fortunately there are truly good, faithful Jews, Christians and Muslims, just like there are truly good, faithful Buddhists, Hindus, Taoists, Zoroastrians, etc. They are likened to "sheep" because they are humble, gentle, peaceful and loving, and they understand that the meek shall ultimately inherit the earth. But, unfortunately, on the other hand are sanctimonious hypocrites who can be likened to "goats" because they are arrogantly proud, bigoted and militant, and want to rule over us through theocratic imposition.
That is why some Jews and some Christians are misled, and it is especially why some Muslims are misled.
In other articles I have discussed the problems with misguided Jews and Christians, but here I will discuss Muslims because it is crucial that we understand why they are so divided, why the Shiites and the Sunnis are so at odds, and why the Taliban and al Queda are even more misguided. We need to understand some important parts of the history of Islam, and, more importantly, we all need to understand what True Islam is really about.
This is important because most Americans know nothing about true Islam, and many Americans have been led to believe that most Muslims hate America and want it destroyed. That is not true. Surveys have shown that most Muslims do not hate the American people, and that they actually admire America for its technology, democracy and freedom of speech.
For example, Georgetown University Professor John Esposito, and Dalia Mogahed, executive director of the Gallup Center for Muslim Studies, helped organize a survey and published their findings into a new book, Who Speaks for Islam? What a Billion Muslims Really Think. It is based on a Gallup Poll, the largest of its kind, which surveyed some 50,000 Muslims in more than 35 countries. It asked questions about gender, race, terrorism, the separation of church and state, and the prospects of peace with the West.
This research shows that most Muslims in the world admire the West for its technology and democracy. They support freedom of speech, the rule of law, and the transparency of government. Even in places like Iran and Saudi Arabia, only very small percentages said they admired nothing about the West. But what most of them disliked most about the West is the lack of proper judgment and restraint. (And no wonder.)
However, the most important thing Americans should understand about Muslims is that ONLY SEVEN PERCENT of Muslims think that the al Queda attacks on the U.S. on September 11, 2001 were completely justified. Furthermore, even those seven percent of Muslims do not think there is any religious justification for suicide bombers and their attacks on civilians. Instead, their attitudes are more revolutionary, in the sense that they are against military imperialism and occupation of Muslim lands by the West, and by Israel. And it is not piety that motivated their responses, but politics and the desire for independence, autonomy, and respect.
Another important thing to understand is that very few of that seven percent are actually the terrorists who do the killing. The leaders who incite murderous terrorist groups are a but a very few, self-important, deluded, power-hungry hotheads. But, it is important that we understand that seven percent of Muslims is 100 million people, and they are sympathetic to those terrorists who are willing to die to fight Israeli and American occupation and imperialism.
That is why Americans and Israelis need to fully understand that, and redress the grievances that so many Muslims have (see the page on the Israeli-Palestinian Conflict). For only when amends are made and Muslim grievances are redressed, and only when the minority of misguided Muslims follow True Islam rather than bigoted, hypocritical hatemongers and warmongers, will we have peace.