By Joe White
Most of us are familiar with, if not respectful of, the adage from Edmund Burke, “Those who do not know history are doomed to repeat it.” These days, given some facile media perplexity with regard to ISIS and Islam, Burke’s adage should be our daily mantra. While there are over one billion Moslems in the world and ISIS consists of approximately 30,000 members, to describe ISIS as representing Islam is to say, as Kareem Abdul-Jabbar said this week, that the Ku Klux Klan represents Christianity.
Since Islam is one of the three primary Abrahamic religious traditions, along with Judaism and Christianity, is there any surprise that ISIS destroys cities, beheads captives and kills children? The only people shocked by such behavior must be those who have either never read the Bible nor have read any political history. The Book of Joshua, for just one case, is a sort of playbook for ISIS. What was the fate of the city of Jericho, to take perhaps the most popular case from the Israelite Joshua’s genocidal conquest of that familiar violent land ISIS now haunts? Book of Joshua 6:20-21, “So the people shouted, and the trumpets were blown. As soon as the people heard the sound of the trumpet, the people raised a great shout, and the wall fell down flat, so that the people went up into the city every man straight before him, and they took the city. Then they utterly destroyed all in the city, both men and women, young and old, oxen, sheep and asses, with the edge of the sword.”
Let us not forget the Story of Noah with its global genocide of every man, woman, child except Noah and his seven family members. What was the capital offense of all of those drowned children and babies around the world? This is not to simply pick on the Bible, though that is a common book for all three faiths now dominating the Middle East and their various mutant varieties. Ironically, this Holy Land is also now one of the most dangerous, violent places in the world.
If you are not particularly taken with the history of fanaticism or the present fanatical acts of ISIS, then remember that just one month ago, yes late January 2015, two Muslim men were burned alive in India and another beaten to death. If you follow history all the way back to 2013, then you will recall that in September 2013, more than 60 people — most of them Muslim — died during sectarian rioting in the Muzaffarnagar district of Uttar Pradesh state. Fanaticism, religious or secular, has a long, wide, very dark, troubled shadow cast back over human history.
Our core problem is that ideologies, sacred or secular, that are considered by their adherents to be orthodox, comprehensive and, significantly, in need of expanding by whatever meansare toxic in our now global, complex, pluralistic world. It is not an issue of these ideologies simply being expansionistic, as most of us in the west have had to deal with those polite, young Mormon missionaries as well as others who generously provide us with their Watch Tower literature. Expanding in this way, by means of words, allows for social stability but expanding by the sword, today, will create conflict and instability. Violence will beget violence. Orthodox, expansionistic-by-the-sword ideologies are on the wrong side of history. ISIS is but a vivid case of what the majority of humanity clearly does not embrace and finally will not tolerate. ISIS is but the bad breath of our past. JOIN the future of humanity and SUPPORT 2020 A Year Without War. LIKE on Facebook, SHARE and let’s push back on all toxic historical throw backs.
NOTE: I’ve embedded these references in the blog.