The West, and non-Moslems in
general, aren't the only ones suffering from the effects of Islamic extremism.
It isn't just the violence of terrorists, it's the threats and harassment.
Moslems suffer from this the most, and that has led to a strange revival of
Christianity in Moslem nations. In Algeria, for example, the local Christian community
has grown from a few hundred, to over 30,000, in the last 25 years. Moslems are
looking for a change, and those that cannot get out, try and find solutions
closer to home. This in spite of the fact that Islamic extremists are
particularly hostile to Moslems who convert to any other religion.
Lebanese civil war of 1975-1990, Christians and Moslems fought bitterly over
political, cultural and, ultimately, religious differences. The capital,
Beirut, was divided into Christian and Moslem sections by the Green Line. The
name came from the fact that in this ruble filled no man's land, only grass and
weeds survived. There have been a lot more Green Lines since then. Few realized
it at the time, but this war was but the first of many between Christians and
Moslems in the 20th and 21st centuries.
the earliest Moslem converts were Christians. And many of the peoples Moslem
armies unsuccessfully sought to conquer were Christian. But Islam as a
political force was in decline for several centuries until the 1970s. Then
things changed, and continue to change. Islam was again on the march, and few
have noticed how many places it was turning into religious war with Christians
and other non-Moslems.
In Asia we
have a green line between India and Pakistan. Inside India, many Moslem
communities remain, and feelings aren't always neighborly. Indonesia and the
Philippines suffer growing strife between Moslems and non-Moslems. Malaysia has
more fanatical Moslems persecuting more laid back ones, as well as some large
non-Moslem minorities. China has a large Moslem community that generates an
increasing amount of violence. Russia and America have formed a curious
partnership to deal with Islamic based terrorism coming out of Afghanistan. And
in Chechnya, Russia faces Islamic inspired violence all alone.
a rather dusty green line south of the semi-arid Sahel region. Many African
nations are split by increasingly sensitive religious differences. The Moslems
are in the north, Christians and animists in the south. Nigeria, Chad and Sudan
are among the more violent hot spots at the moment. Although when the Moslem
Somalis stop fighting each other they will return to raiding their Christian
and animist neighbors to the south and west.
East still contains many of non-Moslems. None have their own country, except
for Israel. But Egypt contains five million Copts, native Christians never
converted to Islam. Similar small Christian communities exist throughout the
Middle East, and growing hostility from Moslem neighbors causes many to
migrate, or get killed. Moslems have also turned their righteous wrath on
dissident Moslem sects. The Druze and Alawites are considered by many Moslems
as pagans pretending to be Moslems. Similarly, the Shias of Iran and
neighboring areas are considered less orthodox not just for their admitted
differences, but because many adherents openly practice customs of the
pre-Islamic Zoroastrian religion. These differences are less frequently
overlooked today. To survive, the many Druze have allied themselves with
Israel, and most of the current Syrian leadership are Alawites who ally
themselves with Shia Iran, the better to keep their majority Sunni population
Europe as a Green Line. The Moslems in the Balkans (Albanians and Bosnians)
have been a constant source of strife for the last decade. Moslem migrants in
Europe face even more persecution because of all those Green Lines, and this
makes it easier for radical groups to recruit and carry out their crusade
Green Lines are about more than religion. A lot of it is politics. One of the
reasons Islam ran out of steam centuries ago was that the Moslem areas never
embraced democracy, or many kinds of political and technological change. Until
the 20th century, most Moslems were ruled by colonial overlords or dictatorial tyrants.
The colonies are gone, but democracy has had a hard time taking hold. The
dictatorships are still there. And the people are restless. Radical Islam arose
as an alternative to all the other forms of government that never seemed to
work. In theory, establishing "Islamic Republics" would solve all
problems. People could vote, but only Moslems in good standing could be
candidates for office. A committee of Moslem holy men would have veto power
over political decisions. Islamic law would be used. It was simple, and it
makes sense to a lot of Moslems in nations ruled by thugs and thieves.
Republics don't seem to work. The only one that has been established (not
counting others that say they are but aren't) is in Iran. The major problems
were two fold. First, the radicals had too much power. Radical religious types
are no fun, and you can't argue with them because they are on a mission from
God. Most people tire of this in short order. To speed this disillusionment,
many of the once poor and now powerful religious leaders became corrupt. This
eventually sends your popularity ratings straight to hell.
take a generation or so for everyone in the Moslem world to figure out where
all this is going. This is already happening in Iran, where moderates are
getting stronger every day and everyone is trying to avoid a civil war. While
the radicals are a minority, they are a determined bunch.
throughout the Moslem world continue to take advantage of dissatisfaction among
the people and recruit terrorists and supporters. To help this process along
they invoke the ancient grudges popular among many Moslems. Most of these
legends involve Christians beating on Moslems. To most radicals it makes sense
to get people agitated at far away foreigners rather than some strongman
radicals lack the skills, money or ability to carry their struggle to far off
places. So most of the agitation takes place among Moslem populations. Any
violent attitudes generated are easily directed at available non-Moslems. Thus
we have all those Green Lines. But the more violence you have along those Green
Lines, the more really fanatical fighters are developed. These are the people
who are willing to travel to foreign lands and deal with non-believers, and
kill them for the cause. We call it terrorism, the fanatics call it doing God's
work. All because of religious wars in far off places.
many Christians see Moslem migrants as poor, ignorant refugees in need of help.
Many of those migrants see Christians as eventual converts to Islam. Many
Moslem clerics openly preach of this.
And some of these sermons remind the faithful that violence can be used
to make the infidels see the errors of their Christian ways.
ironic that so many Moslems back in the old country seek refuge in
Christianity, often at great risk to themselves and their families.