4. Islam’s Neglected Duty

Disclaimer: This is a journal for my class on Religious Violence. It is generally written as if it is addressing my teacher, Chuck, and is written in relation to the book Terror in the Mind of God by Mark Juergensmeyer.

“Islam’s Neglected Duty” was our chapter, and I enjoyed it very much. And here, I will freely admit to you, Chuck, that I was a somewhat poor reader and just lightly read the other case studies–they’re so hard to WRITE about, but really dug into this one. Ah, well.

The reader doesn’t know until the very end of the chapter what “Neglected Duty” comes from, or why the chapter is entitled that. “The Neglected Duty” was a pamphlet written by Faraj to ground the activities of modern Islamic terrorists in Islamic tradition. It professes that jihad, holy war, is the duty that has been profoundly neglected. It even goes as far as to say that peaceful and legal means for fighting are insufficient and that warfare must be embraced, as it says in the Qur’an (cough, selective reading, cough cough).

The second thing I noticed, which I have noticed throughout the book so far, is the intelligence, poise, and goodwill that people opposite us sport. It seems that many times I have been watching the news with friends or my parents and some blip on religious violence comes on, or any sort of violence, really, and inevitably someone will say, “What an idiot.”

That is SO not true. These people are EDUCATED. One could argue, with the severe lack of decent education standards in the U.S., that some of them are more educated than some of us! We seem to demonize other people because we can’t understand them. It’s like how people fear what the don’t understand. Why must our reaction to the unknown always carry negative connotations? Shouldn’t we embrace the chance to understand more of the world?

Anywho, direct examples of this are Dr. Rantisi and Abouhalima. They are both caring people–they just don’t care for the same things we do.

There was an example in this chapter that I found to be very striking–it compared a person with religion to a pen without ink. That idea of uselessness is very present in this chapter. At one point, it even goes as far as to say that secularist people are like dead bodies with motion. Does this mean that they consider us, Americans–who are largely viewed as secular by the rest of the international community, to be unworthy of human consideration? Are we humans at all, to them?

Wink’s eye-to-eye morality could be easily seen in this chapter as well. Dr. Rantisi says that their actions rare in a direct effort to make innocent Israelis feel the pain that innocent Palestinians felt. Does this acknowledgment enforce intelligence, or does it seem to make light of it? It seems like a huge contradiction–and if it is, how do people maintain validity in their faith and their people? The chapter admits that Islam has a history of military engagement almost from its beginning. Does that mean Islam is inherently evil, or at least violent? Islams doesn’t consider themselves to be aggressors–they are morally justified, in their eyes.

What does this mean to the rest of the world and their own individual acts of violence?

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~ by spim on October 23, 2008.

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