Let's start with a list of terrorist attacks on America.
- The Islamic terrorist bomb on the World Trade Centre in New York City. That was back in 1993. Seven people were killed and more than 1,000 were injured.
- In 1995, the American barracks in Saudi Arabia were blown to smithereens by car bombings killing 19 Americans and injuring over 500.
- The Kenya and Tanzania Embassies were both bombed on the same day by Islamic terrorists in 1998, killing 258 and wounding more than 5,000.
- Seventeen service men were killed when Islamic extremists bombed the USS Cole that was sitting like a duck in a Yemen port in 2000.
- Four U.S. airliners were hijacked in 2001 and flew into the World Trade Centre towers, the Pentagon and one crashing into rural America, in total killing 3,000 people.
I could go on but I'll stop the list here. We are all familiar with the suicide air crashes that decimated the towers. Islamic Fundamentalism took centre stage.
The term Fundamentalist, in a Christian world is synonymous with the; "Bible Thumpers" and the televangelists, but lately the term has been used by us Westerners, to describe Muslims who promote strict adherence to traditional Islamic teachings.
There is no word for fundamentalism in Arabic, the closest is salafi, meaning reactionary, fundamentalism is a purely Western construct, used to describe the rise of Islamic forces in the Middle East.
Islam is the fastest growing religion in the world, second to Christianity in numbers. Muslims live in all parts of the world with the majority in the Middle East and Asia.
Islam has two meanings: Peace and Submission to Allah. Fundamentalists believe it is the only true religion and was revealed by the prophet Muhammad in Arabia in the seventh century.
Islamists adhere to the five pillars of Islam:
1. To acknowledge that there is no true god except God and Muhammad is the prophet of God.
2. Praying five times a day facing Mecca.
3. Give alms to the poor.
4. Fasting during the month of Ramadan (9th month of the lunar year)
5. For those able, to make an annual pilgramage to Mecca.
There are six articles of faith which Muslims are required to adhere to: Belief in God, believe in the messengers and prophets of God, belief in the Revelations and the Quran, belief in angels, belief in the Judgment day, and lastly the belief in God's decree and his ultimate power. Other rules concern the basics like diet, clothing, hygiene, ethics and the responsibilities of members of the family concerning; marriage, divorce, inheritance, civil and criminal law, defence of Islam and relations dealing with Non-Muslims. The list goes on, much too long to list here.
There are the Modernists and the Revivalists. Modernists believe in the Quran but interpret it in a modern context. They accept secular governments, religious diversity and the emancipation of women and condemn terrorism advocating individual relationships with God.
Muslim Revivalists on the other hand favour the literal interpretation of the Quran and the return to traditional Islamic views. They follow closely the teachings of the Quran and Muhammad. Regularly attend mosques promoting theocratic government and enforcement of Sharia Law. These are the people we refer to as Islamic Fundamentalists. They believe dogmatically in the absolute truth the Quran.
"The goal of Islamic fundamentalists is to abolish the Western, secular world order and replace it with a new Islamist divine order." - Bassam Tibi, the world's foremost authority on Islamic fundamentalism.
Many Islamic Fundamentalists resent American culture. They see Americans as unholy, in a state of moral and cultural decline. American presence and influence has made the Muslim deviate from the righteous path. They argue that Westerners must be expelled from Muslim homelands and that they must return to the literal interpretation of the Quran, rejecting Western politics and customs.
They maintain that Islam is the one true religion. They advocate overthrowing powerful secular governments and replacing them with a single Islamic absolute world authority.
Islamic fundamentalist's believe that one of the duties of a Muslim is to defend Islam from it's enemies. The United States, characterized by fundamentalists as the "Great Satan" is the number one enemy of Islam and heads the list of aggressors against Muslims.
Islamic fundamentalism is not going to go away, if anything it's becoming more mainstream. Expect more terrorism in the future. What does it take for America to understand the threat of Islamic Fundamentalism, another 911, another beheading?
Just look at the latest terrorist attack in the news today. A man is killed and 13 seriously injured as a mini van is driven into a crowded train stop in Jerusalem.
That will be another blog.
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