analyticalQ frequent visitor writes:
I am an agnostic and do not have much time for religion myself. But I am interested in it from a social anthropological and historical point of view. It therefore worries me when allegedly educated people (such as those you told me about) profess a belief that Islam breeds terrorism. To believe that would be to believe that Christianity bred and sanctioned the Spanish inquisition, the Catholic raising of Byzantine Constantinople (cradle of Eastern Orthodoxy), slavery,and more recently the Ku Klux Klan. Nothing in the scriptures of these religions allows or advocates mass murder.
Contrary to what these terrorist call themselves and claim their acts in the name of, theirs is a political movement not a religious one. They are no more "Islamic or Muslim warriors" then the IRA are "Catholic freedom fighters"(pre Sep-11 the reference of choice in NY Times), or the Hindu RSS are protectors and keepers of the Hindu faith (they go around burning churches and mosques and massacring converted Catholics in India). A quick perusal of history shows us innumerable crimes committed in the name of one religion or another.
As for being labelled anti-American for questioning and trying to understand the US actions. The values and ideals I hold close to my heart are those based on respect of human rights, freedom of speech, respect for others, tolerance of other faiths (even though I do not believe), equality of sexes, races, creeds etc, belief in democracy, independent judiciary, free press, respect for the environment, non-violence, to name but a few. These are to be found in abundance in the US. I love the Americans but I question their government on the conduct of their foreign policy. Just as I question my own parents when I might not agree with them totally. Debate, is the life blood of a robust and thriving democracy. If we do not allow opposing points of view, then we will kill the very thing we are protecting and allow authoritarianism. I want the oppressed in the world to enjoy the freedoms the Americans enjoy in their own country. It is a model to aspire to.
That the US had to retaliate, of this there is no question in my mind. I want the perpetrators of that brutal act brought to justice. But I don't want the world to forget the millions of innocent Afghans. These afghans did not choose the Taliban as their government let alone allow or have knowledge of terrorists being given refuge in their country. Yet they pay the price. Somehow that doesnt seem fair. But what else can we do? Maybe there is no alternative to the bombings. But I do know what we can do after the bombings finish. We should stand by these wretched people and help them build a civil socitey. We should not allow the US to abandon them just as they did 10 years ago. Remember, the CIA armed and trained (Saudi funding, CIA arms and training, General Zia's bases) these very mujahideens to fight the world's all important war against communism and the Soviets. President Reagan, even referred to them "as the moral equivalent of our founding fathers" !
And merely questioning and debating does not make us a Taliban sympathiser. It's downright offensive for anyone to even suggest that.