Here is an article by Thomas Friedman – which I think captures the issue of mess in the Islamic world in the best possible manner. I think it strikes at the root of the issues.
In the past few years, hundreds of Muslims have committed suicide amid innocent civilians — without making any concrete political demands and without generating any vigorous, sustained condemnation in the Muslim world.
Two trends are at work here: humiliation and atomization. Islam’s self-identity is that it is the most perfect and complete expression of God’s monotheistic message, and the Koran is God’s last and most perfect word. To put it another way, young Muslims are raised on the view that Islam is God 3.0. Christianity is God 2.0. Judaism is God 1.0. And Hinduism and all others are God 0.0.
One of the factors driving Muslim males, particularly educated ones, into these acts of extreme, expressive violence is that while they were taught that they have the most perfect and complete operating system, every day they’re confronted with the reality that people living by God 2.0., God 1.0 and God 0.0 are generally living much more prosperously, powerfully and democratically than those living under Islam.
This creates a real dissonance and humiliation. How could this be? Who did this to us? The Crusaders! The Jews! The West! It can never be something that they failed to learn, adapt to or build. This humiliation produces a lashing out.
It is this uncompromising posture that one holds of having the best and the ONLY version of God’s word… that makes one totally immune to any other version. In that mindset killing the other for establishing supremacy of ideas is a very natural corollary. For, if I do have God’s own statement, then ipso facto I "own" God!
To a great extent that is also true of Christian missionaries and fundamentalists.
And such a thinking and mindset did not errupt in vacuum. These two religions – Christianity and Islam came up competing against an established one – Judaism. While they could not openly revolt against it (as their ideas were not new – just recycled statements with extra seasoning) .. they had to take a hardline to have any semblance of future. If they did not establish an inherent and divine supremacy – in terms of ideas and "Truth", then what was the need to go to the next "version" of a religion which owed its origin to Abraham just like Judaism? It is also instructive that the God 2.0 and God 3.0 did not in any way bring out thoroughly "path-breaking" or innovative ideas. Whatever Jesus had achieved in spirituality, was frettered away in its translation and commentary by His not-so-illustrious followers, friends and colleagues – who were busy creating the next blockbuster after Judaism for their own good!
This need to "differentiate" and create a whole new market – a market that was loyal to a fault and blindingly faithful had to be nurtured by an uncompromising agenda. That is at the HEART of the conflict between the three religions. For, in themselves, the reasons for conflict are trifle and indeed childish in pretext! But taken in the context of being the raison d’etre of the very existence of the "chosen" religion, they assume .. well … biblical proportions!
Unless someone can actually call out the folly of these mischievious and nonsensical "creations" that accentuate and solidify the differences, there is little hope of any peace in future.
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