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Few months ago, I was attending a conference in London. One evening as I lay in my bed, my attention was focused on a solitary fly on the window of my room. The fly was located on an upper pane of glass. The window itself was slightly raised at the bottom edge. At first, as if by deliberation, the fly moved time and time again around the periphery of the section to which it had become attached. Then it would crawl diagonally, fly in desperation only to crash against the deceptive transparency. It again moved monotonously back and forth horizontally across the full surface of the windowpane. Random movements followed. Punctured again by furious flight ending always in near disaster. For whole minutes, as it stunned into stupor, the fly would remain motionless. Energy restored finally, it would commence its futile motions again. It crashed again like a firecracker out of control careening crazily around the ceiling.
This fly, I said to myself, is a prisoner of his frame of reference, or probably, his lack of frame of reference. If flight into freedom was his object, if indeed any objective existed at all, then there was an obvious avenue of escape. An adequate passage was readily accessible at the bottom of the window. Driven by instinct alone, bereft by reason, caught up in a meaningless space, behavior could only be blind and it could end only in frustration, fury and futility.
This episode has specific application and relevance to the current cartoon crisis, Iranian nuclear crisis, Islamic terrorism, and the violence and terror perpetuated by Hamas in the Middle East and Jihad terrorists in Kashmir, Afghanistan, Bangladesh, Iraq, Sudan, Yemen and Pakistan. It may well be that Muslim fundamentalists are caught up in the limitations of their own frame of reference. It is conceivable that Jihad Muslims are squandering resources in wealth, manpower and human energy, in a misguided quest for Islamic conquest, power and influence. If Muslims want to succeed in determining new directions and new dimensions, and if they want to influence the world, and restore the glory of Islam, they need urgently to reexamine their policies and priorities.
War, terrorism, violence, and hostility in the Islamic world have existed in one form or other since Mohamed converted the Middles east into a Muslim world. But today's Jihadi terrorism, homicide bombing, arson attack, nuclear threat, and the use of high-tech weapons for murderous attack on innocent civilians have far reaching economic, political, and social ramifications. Regardless of how much blood is spilled in the Middle East by Jihad terrorists and the relentless Jihad terrorism in Israel, Lebanon, Iraq, Pakistan and India, Muslims are not able to dramatically change the world. The Jihad terrorism and continued violence in Europe, Middle East and India has created unprecedented disruption in social life and economic, political and ecological crisis. The economic costs of Jihad terrorism in the United States, Israel, India and Denmark continues. Prices for fuel, food and consumer goods are soaring in several countries. The United States and many European countries are faced with additional task of absorbing millions of dollar for airport and flight security. Thousands of people died or injured of terrorism, several families suffer from the loss of family members and people are afraid of travel.
The Islamic hatred of democracy, pluralism, religious tolerance, co-existence, freedom of expression still continues unabated. The battle between rigid, closed, dogmatic ideology of Islam and free thinking is by no means decided, but its outcome will determine whether Muslims will embrace, freedom, democracy, pluralism, coexistence, progress and tolerance or succumb to non-compromising Islamic fundamentalism, conflict and relentless war against the civilized world. Social policy experts and intellectuals have predicted that the magnitude and impact of Islamic rage hostility and violence would further destabilize the entire world. Muslim hatred and determination to wipe out democratic Israel and non-believers make the situation more complex.
History demonstrates whenever Muslim nations arm it to the teeth they attack the neighboring country. Or they turn the weapons against their own ethnic and religious minorities, all in the name of fundamentalist Islam.
All the Islamic countries from Algeria to Yemen have either dynastic ruling or military dictatorships. Saudi Arabia, Pakistan, Jordan, Syria, Morocco, United Arab Emirates, Kuwait, Bangladesh, Iran, Muscat and Oman, Bahrain, Sudan and Libya have varied historical experience with tyranny, brutality, and persecution of minorities. Every Islamic country in the world is Islamic and non-believers have no religious freedom. Most of the Islamic nations, citizens are barred from the political or democratic process. Freedom of expression, political assembly, open debate and religious tolerance are nowhere to be seen in Islamic countries. Muslim countries have no bill of rights and modern impartial judiciary.
Whether it is a dictator, or dynasty, military or Mullah regime, persecution, torture, execution and public beheading are frequent in all Islamic countries. In Saudi Arabia, offenders are beheaded or have a limp amputated in public on Friday, the day of Islamic prayer. Since the Islamic revolution in Iran, thousands of innocent people are executed without legal proceedings. Two Islamic countries Iraq and Iran killed more than three million people during the war. Arab Islamic terrorists have killed hundreds of Jewish men, women and Children in their false hope of destroying Israel.
For the last fifty years, Arab Muslims have made no notable inventions or discoveries in science, medicine, and technology or in humanities. Islamic fundamentalists oppress women, and place restrictions in art, literature, philosophy and discussion on transcendental spiritual topics other than Islamic dogma. No Islamic nation has taken the path of secularism, rationalism, democracy, pluralism and human rights. From Morocco to Malaysia, Muslims follow dogmatism, Islamic fundamentalism and religious intolerance.
It is doubtful whether fundamentalist Muslims can last much longer without identifying with the changing values of pluralism, democracy, secularism, tolerance, co-existence and freedom. Muslims must accept the fact of change and difference. They have to escape from the closed dogmatic, imperialistic ideology and tolerate, and accept and genuinely respect those who differ from them. Their vision of the world and other religions is fragmented, distorted and their approach to problems is misguided. Because of their narrow reductionism and mechanistic framework of the world, they mistrust the non-Islamic world and rational, open, and democratic concepts and ideas. The closed paradigm of fundamentalist Islam and the will to interpret matters on the rigid, narrow-minded, bigoted and dogmatic Islamic term is the main reason for the present crisis, violence and terrorism that we experience.
A solution for the Islamic crisis can be found. The solution must begin with the identification of the problem. What we need is a fundamental change in Islamic thought, perception and values. The gravity and intensity of the crisis created by Muslims warrants refocus of their dualistic, rigid framework. For Muslims, problems are interpreted as conflict between infidels and faithful. Islamic fundamentalists declare that there is no solution for the Middle East problem except through Jihad. According to Koran, Jihad is a war against the non-believers. Sura (1:4) says, "those who disbelieve and hinder (men) from the path of Allah, their deeds will Allah render astray... Therefore, when you meet the unbelievers, smite their necks, at length, when you have thoroughly subdued them, build a barrier against them, thereafter (is the time for) either generosity or ransom, until war lays down its burden." Thus Islam views the world as though it were divided in two opposing camps... Darus Salam (Muslims) and Darul Harb (Infidels). Again Sura (8:39) says "and fight until there remains no more infidels or until they remain submissive only to Allah." Many liberals misconceive the reasons for Islamic rage, violence, unrest, brutality, beheading, arrogance and terrorism. What Iranian Mullahs, Iraq Jihadis, Al-Queda, Hamas, Muslim mob burning flags of democratic nations and Muslims kidnapping journalists are certainly displaying a patterns rooted in the Islamic dogmatism. The violence, intolerance, non-compromising attitude, and thinking errors are an integral and inseparable part of the total Koranic message. The violence, terrorism, and hostility will be continued ruthlessly and relentlessly against non-believers until final victory is assured. The strict adherence to the closed thinking, rigid paradigm and the dualistic Islamic concept of believers and non-believers has disastrous consequences. The crisis and terrorism we witness in the Middle East, Afghanistan, Pakistan, Iran, Iraq and other Islamic countries is due to interpretation of reality, distorted conceptualization and mechanistic problem solving model practiced by Muslims.
In the changing context of modern technology and pluralism, Muslims cannot survive in a closed system. They have to interpret, analyze, examine and accept the social, political, cultural, scientific and technological developments taking place around the world. Islamic society should undergo a planned change and learn to coexist with non-believers and accept rational and free expression of ideas.
Islamic scholars, thinkers, political leaders and media persons have an immense opportunity, responsibility and obligation to generate new knowledge, ideas and strategies based upon a rigorous and disciplined assessment of the present crisis. Islam needs a reformation and Muslims must embrace change, democracy, pluralism, coexistence, religious tolerance and freedom of expression. Creative and systemic problem solving strategies would reduce the possibility of future crisis and conflict with the civilized world. Introduction of integral humanism, secularism, and creative thinking can be an instrument for reform and reformation in the Islamic world. This would encourage Muslims to free themselves from the trap of absolutism, and the rigid reductionism. The institutionalization of such broad, eclectic knowledge is a prerequisite for world peace and harmony. To face the future, Muslims must show the discipline indispensable to the task of building a new order.
Dr. Babu Suseelan is a professor of psychology and director of a drug and alcohol treatment program in Pennsylvania. He writes on the effect of Islamic terrorists on Hindu society.
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