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Faith-Based Initiatives: Beheadings and Wars

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From the NY Times –

Acting on Threat, Saudi Militant Group Kills Captive American
By Neil MacFarquhar

“CAIRO, June 18 — A Saudi militant group said Friday that it had carried out its threat to execute a kidnapped American engineer, posting three grisly pictures of his beheaded corpse on a Web site before leaving the body in a remote neighborhood of the capital, Riyadh.

Within hours, Abdelaziz al-Muqrin, the leader of the group — an offshoot of Al Qaeda that claimed responsibility for the kidnapping and a string of recent attacks on expatriates — was killed in a firefight with Saudi security forces in downtown Riyadh, local press reports said.

…In Washington, the killing brought swift criticism from President Bush, who called it a “barbaric” act.

…in Washington, Adel al-Jubeir, speaking for the [Saudi] government, said, “The people of Saudi Arabia are outraged by the cruel and cold-blooded murder of this innocent man.”

…[a statement on the murderer’s web site said]…the group was determined to humiliate all “polytheists until we establish a country of Islamic law and justice.” This was a reference to their goal of driving all non-Muslims out of the Arabian peninsula and to undermining the ruling al-Saud dynasty.

…The statement threatened all Americans and their allies with a similar fate, saying the killing was a lesson for those in the kingdom.

…Mr. Jubeir, the Saudi spokesman, said …”It is a terrible lie that the cowards who committed this inhumane act claim to be Muslim…”

…After the murder, discussion raged on Islamist Web sites whether such acts fell within accepted behavior in the religion. The country’s senior clerics used their pulpits on Friday to condemn the violence, while other imams said it was a Muslim’s duty to drive the infidels from the country.

== end of excerpt ==

Muslims are “debating” whether the beheading of an innocent man is justified by their religion. Sounds like somebody needs a new religion.

Shark’s take:

1) We’ll never win this “war” on terrorism;

2) “war” is probably not a good word; a war is between states with armies; one can either win or lose a war — this is more of a battle, a battle that we’ll be fighting for decades. (I predict that the central conflict of the 21st century will be the ongoing struggle between Islam and the West.)

3) The Saudi Monarchy is ripe for old cliches: “they’re between a rock and a hard place, the chickens have come home to roost, the worm turns, and be careful what you wish for.”

The Saudi “government” has to respond to their home-grown terrorists, who have now decided to turn against their previous masters, the Royal Family. If the Royals get any closer to the US, they’ll further isolate and encourage the poor, disenfranchised in their country, who already show some ‘support’ for bin Laden and his agenda. If they don’t respond hard/effectively enough, America will put more pressure, send more FBI/CIA, and make more demands on their security forces, which — again, will “…further isolate and encourage the poor, disenfranchised in their country, who already show some ‘support’ for bin Laden and his agenda.”

The Royal Saudis are in a LOSE-LOSE situation. Their time is limited. They will not survive pressure from militant Islam. It’s only a matter of time.

4) No civilized nation can stomach the idea of a nut-bar facist theocracy of terrorists running the world’s gas station. BTW: The FIRST interview given yesterday by a Republican Senator mentioned that this beheading, etc. was the signal for us to open the Arctic wilds for oil exploration. Not a FUCKNG WORD about conservation.

6) As I see it there are only two possible scenarios for the future:

a) An ongoing escalation, ending with violent, facist theocracies popping up all over the Middle East, (Saudi Arabia being the most critical because of their oil + our addiction) — followed by military take-over the entire Middle East, occupation, and possibly explicit genocide of all males over a certain age. (Then we’ll end up exactly where we are now in Iraq; a long occupation facing an incremental urban guerilla nightmare/”quagmire”, not to mention becoming facist “barbarians” in the process.)

(Actually, I think the NEO-CONS might further their own long-term “plan” for the US EMPIRE by encouraging the above scenario (a) — ie. Let the militant Islamic whackjobs take over Saudi Arabia, execute all the corrupt, Westernized males, including most, if not all, of the Royal Family, set up a “State” that we can actually fight a legitimate “war” against.)

That sounds a bit conspiratorial (I don’t trust anybody these days, especially the Bush Administration’s invisible puppet masters), but it could work. If you remember, that was one of the justificiations for the war in Iraq; get all the murderous Islamic roaches to move into the kitchen; that way, they’re easier to exterminate… etc. etc.

b) A REFORM OF ISLAM – Judaism and Christianity had theirs; it’s about time this barbaric, medieval “religion” was updated for a world of bipedal, domesticated primates who have opposing thumbs, cell phones, computers, and reality TV.

This religion badly needs a “Luther” to nail 95 theses to the door of Bin Laden’s forehead — or the Kabba — wherever they think might be appropriate. One man needs to arise who has the intelligence, charisma, influence, and political skills to reform this dangerous, fucked-up religion. (Don’t start with me on the ‘racist’ shit; any religion whose spiritual leaders have a quiet, “rational” debate about the value of beheading an infidel needs to be exterminated from the face of the earth. (BTW: I don’t discriminate. My suggestion: eliminate ALL religions from the face of the earth, but some might think that’s a tad harsh, although I would argue it might give us a slight chance to avoid extinction by the year 2100.)

Islam also needs a feminist uprising modeled on many western feminist movements, from suffragettes to bra-burners (they could light up the entire city of Riyadh on the darkest night by burning those tent-robes and medieval masks they wear!)

The women of Islam could do the world, their children, and the future of humankind some good by taking a clue from Lysistrada and cutting off their men from sex (under the black mobile tent) until the men agree to stop making war, killing innocent infidels, and finally allow them to drive cars and dress like Paris Hilton.

So Islam needs some reform, or — dare I say what’s on everybody elses’ minds — IT’S GOTTA GO, (get voted off the spinning blue carbon-based Island known as Earth).

The bad news: after The Reformation, a few decades of bloodletting had to take place before things settled down, which indicates that if Islam produced a reformer TOMORROW, it might be closer to the end of this century by the time the blood stopped flowing and Muslims started to be peaceful, corrupt — and party-down like the rest of us.

I think the ultimate IRONY in all this: while we call for a more LIBERAL ISLAM, our own country is quickly drifting toward a more conservative, less tolerant, state-sanctioned form of FUNDAMENTALIST CHRISTIANITY.


I think…

…as a species…




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About Mark Shark

  • You should have gotten more comments than nine.
    Here you go…

  • My fact checking shows that the UK is a constitutional monarchy. There are, of course, different types of monarchies as there are different types of republics and democracies. Still by definition, the United Kingdom is a monarchy.

    To say the situation with the IRA has vastly improved doesn’t deflect from the truth. The UK has Christian terrorists. They’ve had them for years. The cause? King Henry the VIII and sexism (the need to have a male heir). This is how the Anglican church formed and brought Protestant Christianity into the political realm of England.

    Should religion (Catholicism) be tossed just because of a King’s whims that were not based in the Bible but on cultural notions that men make better rulers? But do we really want a Pope making decisions for sovereign nations? How long has this problem been debated? How many people were exiled, killed or beheaded?

    Currently, I think Christians or at least people from Christian backgrounds are debating what is acceptable during times of war. But as I prefaced my remarks, the exact comments and proof that these Muslim people are coming from a religious rational was not provided by the writer who then condemns the religion of Islam. We cannot see for the purposes of debate if these people are truly religious or are simply using their cultural rhetoric as Hitler did in Germany to justify the extermination of the Jews. We cannot evaluate the sources as being far-right or far left, fringe or intellectual.

    From what I have read, I do not believe that Bush is coming from a truly religious stance any more than Saddam Hussein or Osama bin Laden. I believe that McKinley did make a decision about the Philippines based on his misguided religious beliefs.

    And I have provided quotes and sources.

    The United States is debating what is justified during times of war. Can we justify the incarceration of people who have not been accused of a crime for more than a week? Under George W. Bush, just as under FDR, we have kept people for over a year and some for a couple of years. This is a matter open to debate.

    I have brought up examples of American Christian-based terrorists who are part of a debate about abortion and race relations.

    The United States still debates the merits of the death penalty. If you know anything about the statistical information and true stories of people who were convicted by juries but exonerated by science, you’d know that in America many innocents die by execution.

    But this is the legal system. The organization that killed the person in question is not a part of the government. So I have compared them to the KKK and given examples of current day executions.

    To glibly say that they (Muslims) need a new religion is to mock the meaning of freedom of speech and to ignore the beneficial effects that the world, including America, has felt from both Islam and Christianity.

    Unfortunately, it is too easy for the ignorant to dismiss things that they have only superficial knowledge of.

  • bhw

    “Like the UK, it is a monarchy. And the UK still has a problem with the IRA and their treatment of suspected terrorists.”

    I can’t believe I have to say this, but the UK is NOT a monarchy. The royal family in England are celebrities who have a few official, public duties. They don’t run the country. Have you heard of Parliament? The Prime Minister?

    And the IRA situation has vastly improved over the past several years.

  • One writer asks for examples and yet gives generalizations that can lead to no further discussion or dispute because the statements are so nebulous.

    Before you condemn all religions, consider both sides. Religions have inspired great good in people like India’s Mother Teresa. Religions have inspired great works of art, great humanitarian acts and social change.

    As a non-Christian in a Christian nation, I am constantly deluged with Christianity. And in America, I see ignorance toward Islam. Most of the people have written as if there are no Americans who are Muslim. But roughly 1 in every 33 people in the US are from a Muslim background. That’s about 6.5 million people.

    The first Muslims in the US are believed to have been brought here as slaves. So they have a long history as Americans. In the 1880s, immigrants came as traders and laborers. In Cedar Rapids, Iowa, there is a Muslim community that is over 100 years old.

    Of the 1 billion Muslims worldwide, fewer than 20 percent are Arab. And yet, Americans seem to judge Muslims not by American Muslims or Asian Muslims, but by Arab and Persian Muslims.

    Some of the things that Americans believe are a part of Islam are, in reality, much older. Customs like female circumcision and honor killings are cultural.

    And don’t we have honor killings in America? Isn’t that what gang killings are about? Isn’t that what happens when one spouse kills an unfaithful spouse? Isn’t that what happened to Emmett Till when he whistled at a white woman?

    There are terrorist organizations in the US that use Christian rhetoric. The KKK isn’t a thing of the past. In Clinton, NC a grand dragon and his wife are facing federal charges of murder. The FBI found bombs at their home as well.

    You want to talk about mutilation and a beheading? Then talk about James Byrd whose mutilated body sans head was found in June 1998. The Klan held a rally in that Texas town.

    The Klan was begun in 1865. A Klan Web site for children today claims, “Today the KKK still stands for the unity of all white Christians. We don’t hate other people. We just are watching out for our white brothers and sisters.”

    And who is burning black churches? Not Islamic terrorists. Who bombed Oklahoma City? A white person from a Christian background.

    What about “The Army of God” and men like Eric Robert Rudolph who target, harass and bomb abortion clinics? Aren’t these people also Christian terrorists? Haven’t they also taken hostages? Haven’t they also killed?

    And what about all those pedophile Catholic priests? Were they driven to do so because they are Catholic?

    Don’t you wonder: Are Arabs holding such people up as examples just as Americans hold up Muslim extremists as the true character of not only a world religion but also a group of people?

    In his book Mein Kampf Hitler wrote that he felt he was acting in accordance with God’s Will by defending himself and his people against the Jew.

    But was he a true Christian?

    Saddam Hussein and Osama bin Laden are not spiritual leaders. They are not mullahs. They are not the Muslim equivalent of Billy Graham or the pope. They are men, living in a Muslim nation using Islamic rhetoric much in the same way that George W. Bush has and, yes, even Hitler. They are speaking the language of their people.

    Manifest Destiny was a part of a righteous Christian movement. William McKinley as many Imperialists saw the white man’s burden to bring Christianity to the world. Of the Philippines, he said, “There was nothing left to do but to take them all, and to educate the Filipinos, and uplift and civilize and Christianize them, and by God’s grace do the very best we could for them, as our fellowmen for whom Christ also died”

    People can pervert the word of God for their own selfish reasons. People can delude themselves because of hate, prejudice and ignorance.

    Someone asks why Muslim women have not been strong enough to stand up and fight. What ignorance that statement shows. What of Tahirih? What of Benazir Bhutto, the first woman to head an Islamic nation. In the Protestant Christian US, we still haven’t done that. Can we Americans blame this on religion?

    Someone was critical of discussion of the morality of the recent beheading of an American civilian. Yet if there was no discussion, surely someone would criticize the same people as not understanding democracy and free speech. In America there is discussion also. Part of the problem with a democratic nation is that we cannot blithely dismiss religious terrorists and throw them all into jail.

    Yes, Saudi Arabia is not a democracy. Like the UK, it is a monarchy. And the UK still has a problem with the IRA and their treatment of suspected terrorists.

    The information on Islam is out there. Americans are free to find it and read it and make an informed judgement.

    I am, BTW, also not Muslim. I have met American Muslims and I make an effort to understand the problems they face here in America as non-Christians.

    I have read parts of the Bible. I have read parts of the Koran. But it seems to me, that few Americans of Christian backgrounds make the effort to understand and even tolerate religions outside of Christianity and Judaism.

    But it is an American ideal that there should be freedom of religion and too often this only pertains to Christians.

  • Shark

    SFC Ski, thanks for reading, and thanks for the lucid comments.

    re. the US military NOT being an agent of Christianity:

    Excellent point. And that’s an important distinction to make as we kick ass and take names across the Muslim world. To the terrorists, our Stars and Stripes probably represents ‘Christianity/infidels’, but to most Muslims on the street, I think it probably represents Starbucks, Gap, Levis, Coke, and Casio. Those are our people! We’ll win their “hearts minds” as soon as we can convince them that Allah doesn’t give a shit whether they ride a camel or an air-conditioned Excursion — and that Ford is not only as close as they’ll get to Paradise in this life, but it also holds up to 70 virgins!

    re: Christianity and Hyperbole – I think, given Christianity’s sordid, bloody past — and the fact that some politicians see the Xian Right as such a powerful voting block — their combined potential should cause any lover of our secular democracy to be both fearful and digilent. In the U.S. we have — on a number of issues — an attempt to make incremental changes in law based on fundamental Biblical interpretations.

    While Mike and I are both easily frightened and love to indulge in hyperbole, we’re also aware of history’s reminder that today’s successful heavy-metal lead *singer at Madison Square Garden is tomorrow’s witch burning on the commons of downtown Salem.

    *see Courtney Love (now that I think about it, maybe a ‘witch dunking’ on Ms. Love might not be such a bad idea?)

    Anyway, you, Sir, are probably a bit too rational to be discussing anything with Mike and me, and but I appreciate your calm and logical demeanor.

    Stay safe.

  • SFC SKi

    Good points, with a few exceptions in both the posts and its following comments.

    First and foremost, The U.S. military is not an agent of Christianity in this endeavor. We have American flags on our uniforms, not crosses. We don’t run into into battle screaming,”For America, Geeorge Bush, and Jesus!”. Individually, U.S. Servicemen may consider this to be a holy cause, or it may only be their duty to the nation at the orders of the commander in chief.
    These are important distinctions, because the terrorists do hold themselves as examples of the “One True Faith” and holy warriors in its cause.

    I’ll jump ahead and say that despite your fear of fundamentalist Christianity, it is not likely that will will see wich burnings, forced conversion, shunning, or deportation of unbelievers from the US anytime soon.

    Mike, your example s are a bit absurd, show me examples of fundamentalist Christians performing honor killings of their daughters when they are merely seen talking to a male not of their family, or taking non-Christians hostage and beheading them, then I will grant you that all fundamentalists are equally dangerous.
    Show me video or transcripts of Billy Graham in national news outlets calling for Christians to take up arms and kill all unbelievers, maybe then you will have made a proper analogy. When the Vatican sanctions use of carbombings in order to advance Catholicism, I will agree with you.

    I can understand your disdain for religion, but it is a true fact that the most vocal are usually the poorest examples of moral virtue, whle the best example are noticed by only a few.

    Islamic reform is necessary, but the most dangerous Islamic fundamentalists are those that allow no reform. In a way, this is a big factor in the current conflict in Islam. The Jihadis call for all Muslims to return to the 7th century roots of Islamic practice, or be counted among the unbelievers and killed. This conflict has been long brewing, but now it can be acted upon worldwide. Currently, the threats are backed up by limitd forceful intimidation in the West, but it is much more open and violent here in the ME.
    Shark, you have a true wit, thanks for making me laugh.

  • Shark

    Mike: I agree.

    See my caveat above:

    “…BTW: I don’t discriminate. My suggestion: eliminate ALL religions from the face of the earth, but some might think that’s a tad harsh, although I would argue it might give us a slight chance to avoid extinction by the year 2100…”


  • mike

    Let’s just rewrite that a bit:

    “…After the murder [of civilians by the U.S. in Fallujah today], discussion raged on right wing and Christian Web sites whether such acts fell within accepted behavior in the religion. Some of the U.S.’s senior clerics used their pulpits to condemn the violence, while other pastors and spokesmen said it was a Christian’s duty to drive the terrorists from the country.”

    And again:

    “At the moment, people are still scared in the West to voice too much criticism of fundamentalist Christianity for fear of being branded anti-religious by the bone-headed right wing crowd, when in fact it ought to be the most conservative and right wing cause of all to insist that the barbarism of fundamentalist Christianity be challenged.”

  • Shark

    After 9/1 — it could be argued — we should have invaded Saudi Arabia — (but that would have meant less perks for Bush & Co. from the Prince Charmings of the Desert.)

    Another incredible IRONY is that probably the most ‘stable’, secular nation in the Arab Middle East was Saddam’s Iraq.

    (regardless of how you view his dictatorial ways, the guy was *big on Law & Order).

    *see Mussolini for more!

  • Johnathan Pearce

    Very good post. Your harsh language is totally justified. And it is absolutely essential for the long-term that Islam reforms and adapts to the requirements of individual liberty.

    At the moment, people are still scared in the West to voice too much criticism of fundamentalist Islam for fear of being branded a racist by the bone-headed PC crowd, when in fact it ought to be the most progressive and liberal cause of all to insist that the barbarism of fundamentalist Islam be challenged.

    There can be no debate with people who behead “infidels”, blow up skyscrapers or massacre teenagers in pizza joints.

    Bush and Co. do not in my mind show that they have understood how serious the Saudi situation is. I supported the overthrow of the Taliban and Saddam, but frankly have lost a lot of confidence in Bush’s strategy. There does not seem to be any plan about what happens next once the Coalition hands over power and leaves.