The Endless Crusade

The Clash of Radicals?

The pastor of a small Florida church threatens to burn the Koran. He relents, but supposedly under the condition that an Islamic cultural center, incorrectly called a mosque, is moved from out of the shadows of the former World Trade Center. In Tennessee, a similar center sparks similar controversy.

It would almost seem that we're still fighting the Crusades.  Too many Americans are convinced that 'Christian America' needs to be protected from the Islamic infidels.

To start with, this all seems to be contrary to one of the reasons many of the colonists came to America, and why many immigrated here, to escape religious persecution; The Pilgrims, the Irish, the Jews, and even many Muslims, all came here with the promise that they could worship without state interference. Yet with the centers in New York and Tennessee, it seems that the state is allowing radicals from one faith to deny another their right to practice.

Second, is how many people know how many common threads that exist between Islam, Christianity and Judaism. All three faiths are seen as 'people of the book'. Moses, Abraham, and Christ himself all appear in the Koran. The same ideas are present too; charity, concern for the less fortunate, regular worship, etc.

But why is Islam seen as a threat? Part of it may have to do with how it's portrayed in the media. The face of Islam presented by much of the media is one of a radical fringe. Imagine if folks like the Westboro Baptist Church were presented as the face of Christianity, and you may have an idea of how I see Islam portrayed in the media.

Also, in America, and much of Europe, Islam is a religion of the foreigner. Right-wing parties all across Europe have taken a page from the American Right and turned Muslims into their own "outgroup". When the Muslims try and protest, they become 'terrorists' or 'radicals'.

There's also a perception that Islam is a violent faith. These folks have not paid much attention to much of the Old Testament. Much of Exodus and Judges, tell a tale of war and violence. It's not until the New Testament that we see the "Blessed Peacemakers" appear.

Of course, there may be one last thing going on. The need for fundamentalists of all three faiths to 'stir the pot'. Radical Christians feel a need to accelerate the Second Coming, despite admonitions that no one knows that day or hour, and they enlist and ally with the radical Zionists of Israel's Right. This leads to retaliation and rhetoric from the militants of Islam,and the battle rages on. 

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    Further Reading

    The Battle for God
    The Battle for God

    A look at Fundamentalism in the three major Western Faiths, perhaps the basis for so much of the conflict between them.

     
    Islam: A Short History (Modern Library Chronicles)
    Islam: A Short History (Modern Library Chronicles)

    A concise history of a misunderstood religion

     
    The Koran
    The Koran

    The translation of the Koran I used

     
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