Friday, July 29, 2005

Some Words History Has Waited For

Fiqh Council of North America Issues a Fatwa Against Terror::

"The Fiqh Council of North America wishes to reaffirm Islam's absolute condemnation of terrorism and religious extremism.
Islam strictly condemns religious extremism and the use of violence against innocent lives. There is no justification in Islam for extremism or terrorism. Targeting civilians life and property through suicide bombings or any other method of attack is haram or forbidden - and those who commit these barbaric acts are criminals, not
martyrs. "

BBC NEWS-UK Northern Ireland IRA says armed campaign is over

"The leadership of Oglaigh na hEireann (the IRA) has formally ordered an end to the armed campaign. This will take effect from 4 p.m. this afternoon. All IRA units have been ordered to dump arms. All volunteers have been instructed to assist the development of purely political and democratic programmes through exclusively peaceful means."

Tribe Platypus on TIKKUN'S call for Spiritual Progressives

From Tribe Platypus:
God is in our midst, once again. And while I am confident of the value religion has for politics of either side, I am even more certain that chaining it to politics runs the real risk of making religion itself "godless" in its orientation.
Rabbi Michael Lerner of TIKKUN joins others in the observation of how religious conservatives and the far right have managed to create an alliance over the years despite voting against their own interests. An uphill battle also seems to loom in which spiritual progressives on the Left need to not only reclaim religious values from within a largely skeptical or secularist movement, but must also press for a similar alliance for the sake of survival.

See related articles:

Tuesday, July 12, 2005

POLITICS-US: Response to Jim Lobe on London Bombings

POLITICS-US: Familiar Debate Resumes in Wake of London Bombings
Response by Jay Cuasay
We can continue to argue the premise of whether or not the correct (or a correct) response to terrorist attacks is “to take the fight to the enemy.” At that basic level, the two sides drawn debate whether to prosecute terrorist acts as a crime or to wage a war on terrorism. Sides have been taken, for whatever the ultimate outcome might be. Personally, I tend to side more with prosecuting terrorist acts as crimes. Despite that position, I strongly resist the characterizations made by Karl Rove and other spinsters for right wing ideology that want to paint that position as “offering therapy and understanding” to such terrorists. I actually agree with Pres. Bush’s language that says we will use all our options to combat terrorists (by which I took this to mean not just military actions).

On a deeper level, Lobe wants to highlight a different set of issues: Do terrorists hate who we are (i.e. the freedom that we stand for) or what we do (i.e. military occupation and capitalistic imperialism)? He also highlights international relations areas in which terrorism threatens progress: Israel-Palestine, the G8 Summit, EU-3 nuclear talks with Iran, for example.

Overall, it seems staunch conservatives want to argue that we must continue to fight the war on terror. To not do so is either “appeasement” which capitulates to “Islamofascist” who will interpret this as a sign of weakness and increase their attacks or it is a na├»ve “distraction” that the free world cannot afford to make. At this point, I also have to note that terms such as “Islamofascist” come off sounding like think tank jargon, which to be fair, does have its place. But perhaps too, it should be kept in its place.

I have neither the actual age nor the worldly history to back up this statement, but sometimes I feel like the U.S. is trying to make up for arriving late to world affairs. Dragged reluctantly into World Wars, which tended to be a more European affair or at least a war we fought “over there” to make the world safe for democracy, we now approach the world stage as if we understand what a global war is like. September 11th is our chance to rewrite the history of the Poland invasion, for example. It is our chance to stop a creeping evil empire.

The trouble is, for the most part, all of the first world countries have benefited and lived some semblance of peace time prosperity stemming from the Post-WWII period. Yes, there have been other conflicts, and indeed other wars. But nobody is particularly excited about gearing up for an all out offensive, non-stop, World War III. Nobody, especially Europe with its memories of World War, wants to live that way again.

We are not prepared or willing to be 100% vigilant and living under a militarization of whatever semblance of peace time we have. We do not want to live like we are Israelis (or Palestinians), and while the angst and perception of credible threat remains, we are still for the most part comfortable with our “distractions” of SUVs, reality-TV, Hollywood affairs, and celebrity scandal. We are also plagued by chronic issues of crime, poor education, environmental, and living standards, to name a few. And in that light, winning the war on this credible, great evil of a threat, does not seem to be the panacea.

Instead, I look at the British response to the latest bombings and note that rather than up the ante of wartime aggression, rather than pledge more boots on the ground to “bring the fight to the enemy”, more sabre rattling, more militaristic talk, they have continued to do what civilized people do. Bury their dead, repair their damages, and bring in the civil servants (as well as military intelligence) to route out suspects and investigate the situation. London is trying to get back to the business of being London and it is doing so without having to emote a display of Rambo-like testosterone.

So in conclusion, Lobe’s article tends to highlight what America (and in particular what staunch conservatives) think about the war on terror and what should be the world’s response to these events. But on the face of it, I do not see the world reaction to be following suit. Instead, I see investigations continuing, suspects being named, people restoring the balance of their lives—all without having to ratchet up the terror threat or ring the war alarm. Perhaps this is because this “war on terror” is looking less like a credible plan on the ground and our military presence in the endeavor is looking more like a misspent occupation of our time.