Thursday, August 28, 2014

ISIS

I don’t know about you but I long for the days when the only thing called ISIS was the dog on Downton Abbey.

Practically every day for weeks now mornings have brought fresh images of some ghastly beheading or indiscriminate slaughter perpetrated by this band of black-garbed Muslim fighters. We are told that it is their intention to establish a worldwide caliphate and to one day raise their black flag over the White House. This is a group who executes Christians and anyone else they encounter who doesn’t prescribe to their brand of Islam, including fellow Muslims. They have no use for gays, and like their women barefoot, pregnant and young. In just a few short months they have stormed onto the scene and cut a swath of land from Syria to Iraq which they now “control” in much the same way as prison guards “control” a prison. Religion of peace, indeed.

We are reminded by tenured professors, secure in their ivory towers 5000 miles from the slaughter, that ISIS represents a small minority of Islamic thought. We are assured that the vast majority of Muslims are peaceful folks just like us who just want to live in peace. Perhaps they are right. However, whenever I see these professors on television I am reminded that it was these same men and women who assured us three years ago that the “Arab Spring” was about to bloom all over the Middle East, ushering in a new era of democracy and pluralism.

I have no doubt that ISIS and other violent permutations of Islam do indeed represent a minority of thought in a religion as vast as Islam. However, they are the ones with the guns and they are the ones that always seem to grab the initiative. It is also true that the Nazi’s in Germany never won a majority of the German vote in their rise to power. But the majority of German thought had neither the energy nor the will to stand up to Hitler, so in the end it didn’t matter.

From the PLO, through Hamas, and Al Qaeda, now to ISIS, the only strain of thought that has ever mattered in the Muslim world has been the guys with the AK-47’s.
 
I eagerly await the day when the world is talking about the groundbreaking medical research being done in the great Islamic universities. I can’t wait to discover the Islamic Shakespeare, Michelangelo, Dante and Bach. I’m counting the days until some Islamic businessman dies and endows a peace prize to rival the Nobel.

But until that happy day, I’ll have to be reassured by all the smart people that Islam is in fact a religion of peace, and what I have witnessed for the past fifty years is all a big misunderstanding.