Islamic Schools Of Thought

A distilled depiction of America would be a contemporary, progressive, diverse, independent, free enterprise, freedom loving culture.

Around the globe many suppressed and oppressed people being held hostage by totalitarian regimes admire and aspire to these traits. These people want the freedom we enjoy.

These same traits are the very attributes that ignite and unite others in bitter hatred of our culture. These people want to destroy the freedom we enjoy in favor of a totalitarian government.

Both schools of thought have deep roots in the religion of Islam. Our American mentality prompts us to wants to know which is true Islam. The answer is both.

If you think Christianity has a lot of denominations the diversity in Islam will amaze you. As the Sunni and Shi’a branches of Islam jockeyed for dominance various groups emerged.

The Murji’tes became advocates of tolerance and equality. They were proponents of peace and espoused equality.

The Mu’tazilites promoted the principal that reason could determine truth without the benefit of revelation. Evil and good could be discerned simply by reason without revelation.

A third group, the Kharijites, opposed any persons they considered to have strayed from the perfect practice of Islam. Such persons were considered worthy of death. Any leader not holding to the true tenants of Islam was considered illegitimate and should be overthrown and killed.

Is the picture getting clear? Currently modern radical Islamists emulate this ancient sect.

The Mu’tazilites emerged as the dominant power in the early 800s. Classical learning blossomed. Science, math, architecture, and art flourished under their guidance. However, a resentful fourth party began to solidify during this time. These proponents of legalism supplanted the Mu’tazilites within a century. They were a coalescence of three parties.

One group, the qadis, were administrators in the government. A group of intellectual legal scholars paralleled them and developed a definitive school of law. A third group, the pietists, opposed them and advocating the empire adopting Koranic standards. These three merged to become the legalists. Legalism closed the door on Islamic creativity. They advanced what they consider immutable divinely authored law.

It is that system of law that today’s fanatics want to see replace our American contemporary, progressive, diverse, independent, free enterprise, freedom loving culture. They are a resurrection of the legalists that ended the era of progressive Muslim societies.

Their hope is that by creating global terror governments and people will capitulate and allow them to Interlink Islamic theocracies under their control. If you wonder what that would be like reflect on Afghanistan of two years ago.

In the past other more rational Islamic groups brought their totalitarian dominance to an end.

Islam The Peaceful Religion

Islam is a peaceful religion we are told. Most of us accept that. However, that being true, there are some confusing facts.

Why is it that in Cairo’s largest mosque Friday prayer time is used to call for people to take up arms against America?

Why is it that in Pakistan during the anti-American riots protesters hold up signs with pictures of Osama Bin Laden and the words: “Hero of Islam?” Irony of irony these signs are not written in the language of Pakistan but English.

Why is it Imams threaten America in worship assemblies? Why are anti-American films depicting violence and glorify killing shown in Islamic schools in their homelands while here in America tolerance is encouraged?

Our president stopped using the term “crusade” and Billy Graham discontinued calling his meetings “crusades” out of respect for persons of the Moslem faith. Yet the religious leaders in Islamic nations call for a Jihad, a holy war against America.

Perhaps those who engage in these confusing acts have read only part of the Qur’an. Qur’an is Arabic for “recitation.” The injunction Mohammed said Gabriel gave him meant “make vocal what is already written.”

After Mohammed’s military victory at Medina he continued to fashion his revelations. The portion of the Qur’an “sent down” during his early writings were poetic and mystical. After the Medina conquest his works took on a more aggressive political and legal tone.

Mohammed learned about “the people of the Book” (Jews and Christians) in his youth. The post-Medina portion of the “recitations” became more warlike. It is these segments some have evidently come to rely upon almost exclusively. Moslems of good faith need to help others understand how they should properly interpret these passages. Recitations such as the following are hard for some People of the Book to whom they relate to understand:

“God fight them, what liars they are” (Surah 9:30).

“O believers take not Jews and Christians as friends; they are friends to each other.
Whoso of you makes them his friends is one of them. God guides not the people of the evil doers” (Surah 5:56).

There are radicals and extremist in every movement. They give all who rally around their banner a bad name. We must avoid stereotyping all Moslems as fanatical anti-Americans as well as Jew and Christian haters. They simply are not. Many friendships exists between people in these differing groups and there are many pro-US Moslem American citizens.

Moslems in America could do much to aid their image if they would be more outspoken in condemnation of violence. Such statements by their Imams would be meaningful. It would improve public opinion if they would voluntarily turn in their colleagues thought to have terrorist leanings. If political and religious leaders in their homelands would be as discrete in their expressions as President Bush and Billy Graham it would make for a better understanding and cool hot heads among their own.

Is It Gambling Or Gaming?

Gambling is disappearing in America. Betting continues at a record pace but it is not called gambling. It is now called gaming. Is it just a game?

The popularity of poker games on TV has caught on in a big way. Youth are especially absorbed in it. In some cities there are floating youth poker games held at a different place each night with guards. Increasingly after parents go to bed at night their youth stay up and gamble on line.

A survey is soon to be released on gambling among college athletes. I am privy to the part of the study that is complete. It shows a dramatic rise in gambling among athletes. There is more gambling among Division III athletes than any other. The sports in which participants bet most often are, in order, golf, lacrosse, and wrestling. Athletes involved in these sports normally come from more affluent backgrounds and have more money to wager.

However, 82 Division I athletes reported being involved in gambling on the outcome of a football game. That may not represent 82 different games but it does involve 82 individuals.

Is it gaming not gambling?
Following is a true story told to me by the Division I coach involved. One of his athletes came to him very upset. He had been offered a ride to practice by a complimentary individual he thought to be a fan. The dorm and practice field were some distance apart. As they drove the driver complimented the athlete as being “a game breaker.” He recounted plays in earlier games in which a play involving the athlete had determined the outcome of the game.

The driver parked on the edge of the parking lot and told the athlete he wanted his team to lose and that he could determine the outcome. Then he told the athlete to open the glove compartment. Upon doing so he saw a couple of bundles of one hundred dollar bills with a gun on top of them. The driver said, “You are going to get one of those. The choice is yours.”

The school had a losing tradition but was now winning big. The bookies were late catching on to this and it was costing them big money.

The coach called the FBI and they took charge of the case. The athlete was clean and played out the winning season as a champion. Gaming?

On line gambling, lottery, and TV’s popular gambling shows all saturate our culture. On the Internet enter the keyword “gambling” and you will find 800,001 sites. By now probably more. It is the current in thing with youth. The habituating nature has spawned a number of organizations dedicated to helping problem gamblers. Many of these have web sites. There are also sites designed to teach a person the basis of betting. Excuse me, gaming.

This is another item for parents to put on their list of things about which to talk with their youth. Remember, there are no free lunches. When someone wins a lot of folks lose.

Iraqi War Casualities

Casualties of war are a grief for a nation. Each of us is diminished by the death of any one of us in war. The grief is compounded when the one killed is a loved one or friend. Daily casualty reports bring sorrow and empathy for the families related.

It does help to put things in perspective. Since what was thought to be the end of the war in Iraq approximately 230 Americans have been killed in the continuing conflict. That is 230 too many for most of us.

However, in the last year in America more police officers than that have been killed in the combat zone known as the United States. Within our own borders as many public servants have died in defense of individual rights.

The statistics related to the wars of our nation are astronomical. Consider these totals: Revolutionary War 25,324, Civil War 498,332, Spanish American War I 1,862, World War II 407,316, Korean War 54,546, Viet Nam War 58,098, and Desert Storm 146. There are other wars and “conflicts” in our history but that paints the general picture.

Look at just one of those wars in a bit more detail. The campaign in France, Belgium, the Netherlands, and Germany form D-Day through V-E Day cost the Western allied Armies 766,294 casualties. Included in that number were some 200,000 dead. Approximately sixty per cent were Americans. Of the 5,412,219 troops landed the casualty rate was 14.2 percent or roughly 1 in 7. There were also 50,000 allied civilians killed.

We in the West have been discrete in not referring to the present engagement as a war against Islam. Billy Graham even discontinued calling his revivals “crusades” in order not to offend Muslims as a result of the historical connotation of the term.

However, in 1999 Osama ben Ladin called for a jihad, a holy war. Saddam has repeatedly encouraged the same. Not all who are of the Islamic faith consider it to be a religious war, but those waging it certainly do. In trying to end it that must be taken into consideration. Those conducting the war are zealots fighting for and willing to gladly give their lives for their god. Their holy book distinctly teaches there is a great reward awaiting those who die for the faith.

Most wars are politically and diplomatically based and resolved. This conflict isn’t. It is a different kind of war never known in modern history. It combines gorilla tactics with religious fervor. Couple that with the fact Saddam released from prison 150,000 hardened criminals shortly before the outbreak of the war and there is a bigger challenge.

One element necessary for victory is a characteristic every previous generation of Americans has had to show in war and one for which this generation is not known. It is patience.

Another trait is one those who fought World War II showed in garnering the title “The Greatest Generation.” In an unsophisticated word, guts. Fortitude is basic.

Many American adhere to a religious faith other than that of the Islamic enthusiasts. We should wage peace through prayer.

International Intelligence Service

Syria is a country suspected of harboring terrorist training camps and secret bank accounts for Saddam worth billions. What is known of this we may never know. However, based on Israel’s dealing with Syria leading up to the battle for the Golan Heights it is likely they know a great deal. The Golan Heights fell in days as a result of years of preparation.

Years before the 1967 war members of the Israeli Secret Forces, the Musad, visited a young man named Eli Cohn working in a store in Nazareth. Living in an Arab city he was bilingual. They offered his an opportunity to work for them. He refused saying he liked his job. They left their card and told him if he ever changed his mind to contact them. The next day he was fired and soon called the Musad for an interview. He was set up as a Syrian citizen and sent to Argentina where he lived and worked for some time. Later he traveled to Syria with credentials as a highly successful Arab business man from Argentine.

In a short time he worked his way into the Syrian government and became the number two man in power. Eventually he asked for and was given a tour of the Syrian defenses of the Golan Heights. He complimented the fortifications but noted their gun placements were so well hidden that if communications were disrupted during a conflict there would be no way for friendly forces to know where they were. He suggested they plant eucalyptus trees by each bunker in order for their own welfare.

All the time he was communicating with the Musad in Israel. When the war broke out the Israeli army knew to strike the stands of eucalyptus and the Syrian defenses failed badly. Most of the defense force retreated to the summit of the Golan preparing to make a stand.

Syria knew they had to draw Russia into the dispute. Their U.N. Ambassador was on the floor of the U.N. making an appeal when handed a note. He read it aloud. It was a report that the defenses had failed and the Syrian army had retreated to Damascus. His hope was this would incite the Russians to intervene. The Syrian forces still on the Golan hearing this on their radios concluded that if they were the only ones not to have gotten orders to retreat they should withdraw. They did immediately.

The note given the ambassador was a bogus report sent by Israel’s man in Damascus. In reality there had been no withdrawal from the Golan until that moment. Thus, the battle for the Golan Heights was an easy victory for Israel.

The Syrians by this time realized they had a security leak. They walked in on Israel’s mole while he was transmitting to Israel. His arrest caused the U.S. to appeal to Syria for his release. That confirmed for the Syrians they had a big fish. Cohn was immediately condemned to death. Persons were bussed into the city square of Damascus to witness his public hanging. This ended a classic case of intriguing infiltration.

There is no way of knowing how many such agents are presently at work in Syria.