Sunday, July 10, 2016

The Call of Islamic State


A year ago, the International Centre for Counter-Terrorism – The Hague (ICCT) reported that about 4000 people from the West left their homes and countries to join the Islamic State (IS).  Many of them are women.  The reporters had made a special study of the women who joined the terrorist outfit and found that it was difficult to categorise which type of women were particularly drawn to IS. “While most of the girls are young, some as young as fifteen,” says the report,  “there are also mothers with young children who make the trip. Some of the girls have difficulties in school and are said to have an IQ below average,  but there are also women who are highly educated. It also appears that even though a relatively large portion of the girls had (or still have) a troubled childhood, there are some who come from families with no known problems with the authorities. Most of the girls come from religiously moderate Muslim families,  yet some converted to Islam at a later age. While some of the young girls seem vulnerable and impressionable, others appear to be strong and hold deep convictions.”

Nimisha (left) converted by Ezza (middle) into Fathima (right)
Both went missing from Kerala recently
Picture courtesy Malayala Manorama
All sorts of people are being trapped by the pie in the sky offered by the terrorist outfit.  Today’s newspapers in Kerala carry front page reports about young people of the state who have supposedly joined the IS.  People go missing and after a gap of silence they contact from somewhere to say that they are on some divine mission associated with Islamic paradises. 

It’s mostly young and impressionable people who go “missing.”  Some of them are converted to Islam from Hinduism or Christianity.  Some are girls married by Muslim men and converted.  The erstwhile stories about love jihad were not all figments of fervid imaginations, it seems. 

There is a method in this madness called Islamic State and allied outfits.  They want to convert the whole world into a Caliphate with one divine ruler up in the clouds and his imams and mullahs clouding the earth with divine revelations. 

Divine revelations.  That’s the secret of the success of IS and other similar outfits.  It’s about a utopia.  A utopia supported by none other than god.  The Western culture and civilisation that dominate today’s world is seen as too worldly and evil.  It is spiritually empty.  It offers no purpose to life.  No meaning. 

And Islamic State offers meaning and purpose.  Through barrels of guns and shrapnel of bombs.

PS. A new Genesis for the purpose seekers: 

“In the beginning, God created the earth, and he looked upon it in His cosmic loneliness.

And God said, "Let Us make living creatures out of mud, so the mud can see what We have done." And God created every living creature that now moveth, and one was man. Mud as man alone could speak. God leaned close to mud as man sat up, looked around, and spoke. Man blinked. "What is the purpose of all this?" he asked politely.

"Everything must have a purpose?" asked God.

"Certainly," said man.

"Then I leave it to you to think of one for all this," said God.

And He went away.” 


                                  ― Kurt VonnegutCat's Cradle


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33 comments:

  1. He will go on thinking for purpose till he becomes God

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    1. ... or kills others in the name of some god(s)!

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  2. Can I profess here how much I loved Cat's cradle and indeed to end absurdity some become faithful to a purpose. Can I hope that right education with applied thinking would wise the belief?

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    1. The world is in turmoil, thanks to various types of terrorism that have gripped it. Can we hope for good days, wise days? I'm as hopeful as you are.

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  3. I love your extract from The Cat's Cradle. Truly the attraction IS holds is a mystery. Seeing their hideous crimes one would think they are mostly social deviants. Confused and unhappy people who want to cause suffering. I don't know what this 'Western world is empty of spirituality' story is about. Spirituality is all around - you just have to reach out to it if you want to. Just because we have shrines under every peepul tree in India or mouth empty praises of God while doing nothing spiritual whatsoever doesn't mean Indians are more spiritual. They are just better at pretending.

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    1. Aren't most religious practices mere pretensions? That's what I understand as I watch people who are overtly religious. I have seen plunderers and crooks in the garb of godmen and their worshippers. I have seen absolute hypocrites preaching the most sanctimonious lessons.

      Religion, as I have maintained for long, is about power and grabbing what belongs to others. Gods sanctify crusades and jihads. And sheer plundering.

      Spirituality needs no religion.

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    2. Absolutely! Most religious practices are mere feel good devices for people who refuse to do the actual work of internal growth. Who in their right mind would think crusades and jihads are what your 'god' wants. Rightly said - spirituality needs no religion.

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  4. It's also one kind of imperialism in the name of God.What I CONFUSED with is, these angels not ashamed of using the weapons and technology invented by western unbelievers.

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    1. Their very use of the technology developed by 'western' or at least secular science is a contradiction. You are absolutely right in pointing that out. That alone goes to show the bankruptcy of their imagination.

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  5. Sure enough the attraction of IS is to be seriously considered. Is it all in the name of God. Obviously No. Which holy book say about killing people for God.The only way to put a stop for this trend is only to make proper understanding of the religions and to respect all religions. But money is the motive behind all these activities. In this era people are loosing moral values very badly

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    1. I'm immensely happy to see you share such thoughts, Jojo.

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  6. I don't think a religion has anything to do with spirituality. Yes a lot of westerners tired of the mundane matters become learners of Buddhism and Indian philosophies, that are kind of dealing with spiritual matters, but do not arm themselves to kill. This IS appears to me, the outcome of some kind of mental flaw, constituted by a lack of purpose in their life. It has something to do with the teachings of Quran. Islam believes in killing others, that's their holly jihad. Killing the infidels. Christianity preaches those who do not follow his ways do not reach heaven. That's why Hinduism cannot be called a religion, and the Hinduthwa leaders are trying to make it one.

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    1. You've raised a number of points, Prasanna.

      Spirituality need have nothing to do with religion. Many people who are deeply spiritual abandoned their religion and some of them were persecuted by the religion being labelled heretics and witches. Many took recourse to seclusion. Of course, there are also those who are both religious and spiritual.

      The West has had its fair share of killing and plundering. Colonialism is still fresh in our memory. But they have grown out of it.

      Islam seems to be passing through a phase that Christianity did in the Dark Ages. The reasons may be different leaving aside the hunger for power. Islam originated in the days of tribal wars. I wrote about it a few years ago:
      https://matheikal.wordpress.com/2011/09/07/the-tribal-mentality-in-islam/

      Hinduism stands a notch above other religions insofar as it imposes nothing on anyone. (The evils of the caste system, sati, etc cannot be forgotten, of course.) But as you've pointed out, today's Hindutva leaders have demeaned Hinduism by making it just like any other religion.

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  7. The sad part is people are giving in to this brainwashing easily. People are so gullible and vulnerable.
    Regards
    Tina

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    1. Perhaps people have been rendered helpless by the system which keeps bombarding them with rapid changes, tempting technology, and a lot of superficiality.

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  8. people seek MEANING for the why they are here...if parents don't lovingly guide....then a Zealot may tempt.

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    1. True, most people want MEANING to be handed over on a platter by someone and Religion or God becomes an easy authority.

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  9. And nobody has any answers for all of us to live in harmony.. It's really sad. So much hatefulness in the name of God and to me, my God, is love, peace, kindness, acceptance.

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    1. Those who have love, peace, kindness, etc within them will find a loving, peaceful and kind God too. But what about those who carry hatred within? Strife within?

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  10. Unfortunate incidents. The youth are misguided by a certain kind of propoganda

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    1. There's a lot of unsavoury propaganda in Islamic institutions. The President of Muslim Education Society in Kerala has already admitted it.

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  11. Isn't all this frightening....the way the promise of youth is being led astray.....The conclusion of your post puts Cat's Cradle in my reading List. Have you reviewed it?

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    1. I haven't read the book, Sunaina. I read about it recently.

      Youthful idealism is an easy prey in the hands of unscrupulous zealots.

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  12. That quote from Kurt Vonnegut sums up your exquisite write-up on the madness called Isis. It was but a few months ago that I run into a couple of boys hardly out of their teens purposefully lingering on the periphery of Hussain Sagar Lake in Hyderabad. They handed over a leaflet to me glistening in various shades of green, folded four times over. It began with a question at the top, potent enough to stop in tracks both discerning and the imbecile: "What is the purpose of life?" I will cut the long story short; the answer was printed there for all of us to see at the end of a long, fanciful sermon: "The purpose of life is Islam. Convert today! I looked back in the eyes of the messengers peddling the revelation. "Or pay the price!", was the conclusion writ large in their vacuous faces. All right, I might have made up that last bit. But you get the idea, do you not?

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    1. We are paying the price! The whole world is.

      There is a lot of propaganda taking place at various levels. Some of that creates terrorists. It's both silly and tragic at the same time.

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  13. It is an onslaught right under our noses carried with equal parts of terror and persuasion. That extract from Kurt's work does sum it indeed. But then anther man was created and another and today million men wander the planet, all wondering about / concluding their own purpose. It's a matter of time till those purposes are set on an inevitable collision course. Hey wait, they already are.

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    1. The collision is already at work. The question is when some sensible Muslims will wake up. And act.

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  14. I must say, I've never read Kurt Vonnegut, though I've heard of his writing. The part of Cat's Cradle you have shared makes much sense, and I wonder why religion has to serve a purpose such, and why one religion has to serve a different purpose from the other, rather than a similar purpose to serve humanity.

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    1. Let religions lend purposes to believers. No harm in that so long as they don't insist on everybody to buy them.

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  15. Seems it has become more of an ego issue that they keep on killing innocent people (and bringing down govt infrastructure) in whatever name they want to take!

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    1. It's mindless violence and cruelty. Nothing good comes out of such filth.

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  16. It is really sad as well as frightening, how youth can be so easily misled to such baseless activities. They kill innocent people in name of God.

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    1. Sad and frightening. Yes. Perhaps, this is how civilisations turn in their inevitable cycles. Having reached a zenith, our civilisation seems to be in for a downward journey.

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