Thursday, February 15, 2007

Sunni vs. Shi'a: It's Not All Islam

Ralph Peters wrote in RealClearPolitics Among the worst members of the it's-all-a-conspiracy pack are those who insist that every Muslim is in on a vast Jihadi conspiracy to make Natalie Maines of the Dixie Chicks wear a chador (not a bad idea, aesthetically speaking).

Actually a Chador or a Hijab exposes the entire face. I think something better for her would be a nijab, so you could not see the gag that should block her mouth.
But those most anxious to condemn Islam in its entirety skip over annoying facts: Overwhelmingly, the victims of Islamist terror have been other Muslims; even the Taliban or the Khomeinist regime never rivaled the Inquistion's ferocity; and Europeans, not Muslims, long have been the heavyweight champions of genocide (with the Turks a distant runner-up).
Not really. Muhammad wiped out a number of Jewish and Christian tribes when they did not accept his twisted version of their faiths.
All monotheist religions have been really good haters. We just take turns.
There may be violence reported in the Torah and the Bible, but it never has God ordering it, other than perhaps to one particular group of people.
But the biggest obstacle to establishing the Caliphate in California is that Shi'a "Islam" never bought into the Caliphate at all. At bottom, it's a different religion from Sunni Islam.
It has many differences with Sunni Islam, but what is the 12th Imam to do but establish a worldwide Caliphate.
They're not just different branches of a faith, as with Protestantism and Catholicism, but separate faiths whose core differences are more-pronounced than those between Christians and Jews.
The big difference between them is who should have taken power when Muhammad died. The one who did, who was not a relative of Muhammad, or the relative that took power a few years later.
Technically, Sunni militants are correct when they label the Shi'a "heretics."
And Shi'a are technicall correct, according to their beliefs, when they criticize Sunni Islam.
Persians and their closest neighbors, with long memories of great civilizations, were never comfortable with the crudeness of Arabian Islam--which the anthropologist Claude Levi-Strauss aptly called "a barracks religion."
I am not comfortable with it either, but I don't think rule by the Iranian Mullah's is much better than Sharia Law under the Taliban.
The struggle has never ended between the ascetic, intolerant Bedouin faith of Arabia, with its fascist obsession on behavior, and the profound theologies of Persian civilization that absorbed and transformed Islam.
How about comparing the ascetic, intolerant Persian interpretation, with its own fascist obsession on behavior, vs the profound theologies of the Bedouins? Both would take us back to the seventh century.
While Shi'ism only prevailed in Persia within the last millennium (nudging out Sunni Islam at last), "Aryan" Islam had long been shaped by Zoroastrianism and other ineradicable pre-Islamic legacies. Persians made the new faith their own, incorporating cherished traditions--just as northern Europeans made Christianity their own through Protestantism. It's illuminating to hear Iran's president rumor the return of the Twelfth Imam, since the coming of that messiah figure is pure Zoroastrianism, with no connection to the Koran or the Hadiths.

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