More deaths in the War on Terror ... this time in Spain, and again some are blaming Islam.
But, why Islam?
Why does Islam exist at all?
Why could not all those Muslims just accept Christianity or Judaism … and be like the rest of “us”?
This was exactly what some people were asking the followers of the Prophet Muhammad some 1400 years ago (2:135):
Why don't you become Jews or Christians? — “Become Jews or Christians, and you will be guided [onto the Path of Righteousness]!”
The answer given to this invitation in the Qur'an was:
“But, the religion of Abraham is true, and he did not add other gods to the Creator of the Universe.”
The Prophet saw the need to lead his people away from the idolatry which they practiced to the belief in one God, the Creator of the Universe, as established by Abraham. He was also aware of the existence of Jews and Christians.
He was prepared to accept from the Jews and the Christians the following beliefs (2:285):
and this included the beliefs in Hell and Paradise, in the Creation of the Earth in Seven Days, in the Flood, in the Exodus from Egypt of the Children of Israel, in the birth of Jesus without a human father — in fact, the Prophet Muhammad had accepted more of the Jewish and Christian beliefs, than most of the present day Jews and Christians believe today1.
He could not accept: (1) the belief of the Jews that they had a monopoly over God, and (2) the belief of the Christians, that Jesus was a son of God in the sense of a family relationship. He could accept, though, that Jesus was created without a human father, in the same way as Adam was created, but not in the sense of human paternity. — God is not a man. It is whatever created the Universe. Why would the Creator of the Universe need a wife and a child, like a human male?
So had the Jews not claimed that they had a monopoly over God, and had the Christians not invented their Trinitarian Doctrine, the Prophet Muhammad would have no need to establish another religion, because what the Jews and Christians would have believed would have been Islam, as it was understood by the Prophet — a sincere and pure belief in One God and One God alone.
The Prophet even called on the Jews and the Christians to abandon their inventions and deviations from the Religion of Abraham, but his calls were disregarded. Thus, he had no choice but to establish a separate religion free from the myths and superstitions of the Jews and Christians of his time.
And this is why Islam.
But why do Muslims kill people in Spain and in Turkey and in Bali?
Is this not because they are “blood‐thirsty extremists”?
The answer to this question is not in the history of religions — it is in the history of politics.
It all goes back to the attempts of the Europeans to conquer the countries of Africa and Asia.
When the European empires collapsed, the Europeans withdrew and left after themselves some “conflicts”, like the ones in Palestine and Kashmir.
Then there was the Russian war against Afghanistan, and now against Chechnya. Add to this the American interventions in Somalia and Algeria, and now in Afghanistan and Iraq, and the number of deaths in all those places exceeds manifold the deaths in Spain, Turkey, Bali, New York and Washington taken all together.
These deaths are not given much attention in Europe and the USA, but they are well known in Africa and Asia, and they lead to the hostilities like those in Spain.
The War on Terror proclaimed by George Bush did not stop “terrorism”, it turned it into a world‐wide guerrilla war. This is because, instead of seeking to understand the phenomenon of terrorism and removing the causes for its existence, politicians chose to boost their own popularity and to justify their own lawlessness by exploiting the public reaction to terrorists attacks.
But, unlike wars waged by governments, guerrilla wars cannot be finished by winning a “decisive battle” — they continue until the causes of such wars disappear. Thus, in the case of the most common cause of guerrilla wars — foreign occupation — guerrilla wars finish only when the occupiers withdraw. This is what happened with the European colonies, the Russian war in Afghanistan and the American war in Vietnam.
Thus, because the Americans are still determined to pursue their War on Terror, the global violence unleashed by that war will continue until the American Administration decide to stop that war and to concentrate their efforts on removal of the causes of terrorism.
And, as it can take a few decades for the American administration to change their minds, the global violence will continue to claim lives of people, whose only “fault” is being governed by political demagogues, rather than by honest and competent administrators.
1) The Qur'an notes, however, that the Prophet had not witnessed the Creation of the World, nor had he witnessed the Birth of Jesus, and what seems to Man as a day, might be thousands of years.