Tuesday, April 21, 2009

It's not war against Islam

To claim that any religion as a whole is violent, evil is tantamount to ignoring the lessons of history.

Every major religion has had its dark periods - Christianity with the crusades and inquisitions, Hinduism - with its cast system and other dogmas, Islam - with terrorism and fundamentalism. Some extremist activities still happen in Christianity & Hinduism but they are relatively on the fringe and have thankfully not taken over the mainstream discussion.

The common theme to these dark episodes is almost always the so-called "religious leaders" and their interpretation of their religion's scripture(s) and holy texts.

What they fail to understand is the context in which these were scribed. The Bible, The Koran and The Vedas were written for a different era and a different kind of society. To expect their authors to be able to see thousands of years into the future and moderate their writing is naive.

The onus to evolve the religion and keep it sane and moderate falls upon subsequent leaders of that religion. Christianity and Hinduism have been through these "growing pains". Islam IMHO is going through these pains today. For the sake of humanity and all that we believe to be good, Islam has to find its moderate voice and make that its loudest. To just claim or state in a Washingtonpost.com comment that the Koran preaches peace is not sufficient. Those that truly love Islam and see it as a just and peaceful religion should make a concerted effort within their mosques to "re-"define their religion and what it stands for. They have to come out strongly against the fundamentalist forces such as the Taliban and LeT. They have to unite and collectively put out the fire that is now raging in their house. And they need to start by looking inwards.

Blaming the West or India for all their problems has become an all too easy excuse for Pakistan. Pakistani leaders for many years have been doing that AND have fooled their population into similar thinking, while conveniently ignoring(hiding) their own failures at economic and social progress.

Pakistanis need to look into the mirror and find answers to their pressing social & economic issues. They need to invest their legendary courage, strength and will into educating their people, building their infrastructure, reforming their justice system and modernizing their economy. That would be the true measure of their culture and society. Today, they are notorious/infamous for all the wrong reasons (Taliban, extremism, terrorism, suicide-bombers). No amount of US aid or funding can help them if they don't face up (own up) to their problems. The change that Pakistan seeks has to come from within. Can they do it? Sphere: Related Content