Sunday, June 4, 2017

In Need of a Gandhi

Tony and I practically awoke to the news of the London attacks. It is disturbing and disheartening. How will the people in the camps feel? What will they think? How did they get the news?

Each terrorist attack reduces their chances of resettlement. These are the same kind of people, purveyors of hate, they are trying to escape from too. Jihadists have destroyed their cities, their countries, their families, their peace. My American friend tells me that just ten years ago, her family was living in the tranquility of Syria.

Imagine you are part of a beloved religion to which you are dedicated. Imagine there is an offshoot who turns to violence. Imagine these rebels taking something sacred and perverting it to serve their own discontent and hatred.

Imagine being a devoted Christian. You believe in the Old Testament and the New. You are aware of the violence in the Old Testament, but you understand it was a different time. And besides, as a Christian, Jesus Christ came to do away with the old law and bring in the new. Instead of reacting, Jesus required us to consciously act, to forgive, to turn the other cheek--to love thy neighbor as thyself. But even then, his word was perverted for gain: the Middle Age inquisitions, the crusades. Yet today, to be a Christian is to know it is wrong to hurt, even with words. To kill is an abhorrent act. We have popes, ministers, LDS prophets, the Billy Grahams who lead, who set standards for Christian behavior, who espouse the true words of Jesus Christ.

Imagine being a devoted Muslim who also comes from a history of violence, but there has never been a Savior who came with divine powers to show the Muslim world a new way. In modern times, Muslims wish to live in peace too, but a small group of leaders, the Qutbs, the blind sheiks, the bin Ladens, the Zawahiris, discontented with the lot given to the Arab world, made a call to return to the old days of violence. They felt the only true government was a return to sharia law, to be led by Muslim authority. That call came within, takfir, the right for one Muslim to destroy another when his lifestyle was deemed out of step with true devotion. The call came for those who lived outside of the religion too: the infidel.

Now imagine how that devoted-to-peace Muslim feels on the morning after the bloody London attacks done in the name of Allah. Imagine how a Christian would feel if a group of Christians turned to the old violence of the Old Testament. What if they started stoning adulterers and sabbath breakers.   We wouldn't put up with it. The outcry would echo around the world. Christian leaders, reasonable people would condemn, common sense would prevail, the rule of law would prohibit. ***=

This pattern provides a solution, a way for change: a Muslim cleric who espouses peace must come forth. The world of Islam needs a Messiah. He or she needs publicity, a platform, he needs support and protection. It would have to be organic. He couldn't emerge with western support. The peaceful Muslims must find the cleric, the imam. They must bring him forth, broadcast him on al Jazeera and CNN.

This cleric must be completely selfless and devoted to the cause without regard to his own life. He must love Muslims, must love the world, must be brave enough to know the ultimate sacrifice will be required--his own life. Is there such a human being?

The Muslims need a Mahatma Gandhi. History attests to his peaceful impact. He was a great man, but unfortunately, few others come to mind. Perhaps it takes more. The Messiah was only capable because he was the son of God. The gospel of peace, the lasting impact could only be brought by the divine.

We are at a desperate point in time when a shift is needed, a new and everlasting law of peace must be established.  A great person is needed to stop this mayhem. But perhaps it is beyond the call of a mere man or a woman; beyond the possibility of a great Muslim cleric to establish peace among his people. And that is perhaps why the Old and New Testament are replete with the message of the Savior's imminent return, his second coming. Perhaps it is only him who can get us out of this mess.

***like a puzzle I have tried to piece together the complexities of Islam/extremism through the lens of a westerner. I am always eager to see this from a different perspective and learn if my theories are wrong , part wrong or part right. Please feel free to leave a comment to enlighten my point of view.

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