Newspaper article The Tuscaloosa News

PORT RAIL: Christianity and Islam: History 101

Newspaper article The Tuscaloosa News

PORT RAIL: Christianity and Islam: History 101

Article excerpt

We're revisiting this subject for obvious reasons, the latest being the attacks and assassinations in Paris by Islamic terrorists on the French satirical magazine Charlie Hebdo. Over a dozen people were shot in cold blood by three men (now themselves dead) who cried out that Muhammad has been avenged as they cut down their victims.

How you analyze what's happening in Europe, across Africa and the Middle East and even here at home in America depends a lot on your specialty.

Politicians will see political issues -- liberty, inequality, freedom of expression -- underlying the violence.

Economists will look at root causes at the structure of societies and cultures in Iraq, Syria, Iran, Saudi Arabia and throughout the Middle East and point to the unequal distribution of wealth and power and how Islamic radicals prosper in such an environment of frustration and unrealized dreams and aspirations.

Feminists will no doubt point to the crushing rules and dominance of males in Islam as a major contributing factor to the caldron of violence.

Historians will look back deeply in time and point out that Muslims and Christians have historically been at odds over the centuries. This is but a modern variation on an old theme. Think the Crusades, for example. And for you academics, also think post- colonialism, post-imperialism and post-

modernism for explanations.

Theologians will point to the theological gulfs that divide Islam from Christianity as the root cause, given expression by modern Islamic terrorists. Everyone has explanations, and some offer solutions.

Apologists will explain that Islam is not all blood and thunder and that the radicals have kidnapped true Islam and corrupted it with their hate. Some Christians will say that love will conquer all, even as brothers are being decapitated.

Some will argue -- and I agree -- that Islamic radicalism can only be stopped by killing it at its roots. It does no good to try to explain away its excesses and violence with sloppy philosophy and theology.

These guys are vile and venomous snakes. They need to be destroyed, not simply where they crop up in Europe, Asia or the United States, but in their homes and caves, in their recondite hiding places. The modern equivalents of napalm should flush them out, just as napalm was poured in flaming torrents on Japanese soldiers who refused to surrender in the Pacific archipelagos during World War II.

Let me borrow from the theologians for a spiritual take on why Islam and Christianity do not coexist very well, which is a really gross understatement if one remembers the smoking, flaming twin towers of the World Trade Center on Sept. …

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