Do you remember the Baskin Robbins ice cream stores?
I can still remember the jingle:
Look for the sign of the big 31;
It’s Baskin Robbins, where ice cream’s fun!
I particularly liked both the watermelon and the peaches and cream flavors. Sometimes I would get a scoop of each on the same cone. Yummy! Their principle attraction was that they had many wonderful, off-the-wall flavors. I have not been to a Baskin Robbins ice cream store for years, so I am not sure how they are performing amongst the plethora of ice cream and yogurt shops in today’s economy.
As a part of my continuing effort to educate myself and to educate the three or four people that read my blog, I have decided to learn something about the Islamic religion. After all, they are now in the news constantly. How can you miss the beheadings of two journalists? News has just been released about the execution of over 700 Iraqi soldiers by ISIS in the month of June. We now have word of a second Minnesotan killed while fighting for Islamic terrorists.
How many flavors of the Islamic religion do we have and what is it in the Muslim religion that promotes widespread terrorism and killing?
The number of Islamic religious sects changes as frequently as the tide. According to one source, there are 78. According to the prophet Muhammad, himself, there is 74. Another source says there are over 150 branches of the Islamic religion.
Be that as it may, the two principle sects are the Sunnis and the Shia (Shiites.) The Sunnis make up approximately 75-90% of the world’s Muslim population. The Shia are estimated at 10-20% of the world’s Muslim population. The discrepancy of those statistics should indicate the inexactness of these estimates.
The majority of Muslims live in Asia and Africa. Approximately 62% of the world’s Muslims live in Asia, with over 683 million adherents in Indonesia, Pakistan, India and Bangladesh. Approximately 57 countries are Muslim-majority, and Arabs account for around 20% of all Muslims worldwide. Twenty-three percent of the world’s population, or 1.57 billion people, are Muslim, making it the second largest religion in the world.
The division between Shia and Sunni dates back to the death of their Prophet Muhammad, and the question of who was to take over the leadership of the Muslim nation. Sunni Muslims agree with the position taken by many of the Prophet’s companions that the new leader should be elected from among those capable of the job. This is what was done, and Muhammad’s close friend and adviser, Abu Bakr, became the first Caliph of the Islamic nation.
On the other hand, some Muslims share the belief that leadership should have stayed within Muhammad’s own family, among those specifically appointed by him, or among Imams appointed by God himself. This is the Shia belief, and they believe that the successor to Muhammad should have been his cousin/son-in-law.
Shia Muslims believe that the Imam’s authority is infallible and it comes directly from God. Sunni Muslims counter that there is no basis in Islam for a hereditary privileged class of spiritual leaders. Therefore, they contend that leadership of the community is not a birthright, but a trust that is earned and which may be given or taken away by the people themselves.
Over the centuries, there were many wars fought over who should rule the Muslim empire. The Sunnis had their Caliphs, and the Shia had their Imams. As time passed, smaller minority sects were formed as offshoots to a particularly popular Caliph or Imam.
As an outsider looking in at the Muslim religion, I am intrigued by the similarities to Christianity. The Islamic ‘bible’ is the Quran. The Quran is viewed by Muslims as the final revelation and literal word of God. Muslims believe that the verses of the Quran were revealed to Muhammad by God through the archangel Gabriel on many occasions before his death. It is divided into 114 chapters and contains 6,236 verses. Muhammad’s followers copied the verses as received while Muhammad was alive. The Quran mentions the names of numerous figures considered prophets in Islam, including Adam, Noah, Abraham, Moses and Jesus. Of course, us Christians are familiar with all of these men. Mohammad is considered the last Muslim prophet.
So much for the similarities; now we get to the differences. Whereas most Christians reside in democratic countries that have judicial law systems tracing their roots to Roman origins, the Muslims believe in Sharia law. Sharia law is the law of Islam. The Sharia law is cast from the actions and words of Muhammad, which are called ‘Sunnah,” and the Quran, which he authored. The Sharia law itself cannot be altered. As a legal system, the Sharia law covers a very wide range of topics. While other legal codes deal primarily with public behavior, Sharia law covers public behavior, private behavior and private beliefs. Of all legal systems in the world today, Islam’s Sharia law is the most intrusive and strict, especially against women.
According to Sharia law:
Theft is punishable by amputation of the right hand.
Criticizing or denying any part of the Quran is punishable by death.
Criticizing or denying that Muhammad is a prophet is punishable by death.
Criticizing or denying Allah, the Moon-God of Islam, is punishable by death.
A Muslim who becomes a non-Muslim is punishable by death.
A non-Muslim who leads a Muslim away from Islam is punishable by death.
A non-Muslim man who marries a Muslim woman is punishable by death.
A man can marry an infant girl and consummate the marriage when she is 9 years old.
Girls’ clitoris should be cut (per Muhammad’s words in Book 41, Kitab Al-Adab, Hadith 5251.)
A woman can have one husband, but a man can have up to 4 wives.
A man can unilaterally divorce his wife but a woman needs her husband’s consent to divorce.
A man can beat his wife for insubordination.
Testimonies of four male witnesses are required to prove rape against a woman.
A woman who has been raped cannot testify in court against her rapist(s).
A female heir inherits half of what a male heir inherits.
A woman cannot drive a car, as it leads to upheaval.
A woman cannot speak alone to a man who is not her husband or relative.
Meat to be eaten must come from animals that have been sacrificed to Allah.
Muslims should engage in Taglyya and lie to non-Muslims to advance Islam.
The list goes on………………..
Talk about chauvinistic! During the 60s and 70s, when women were burning their bras and accusing men of being chauvinistic pigs, they had no idea they were going against sharia law, the preferred law of 23% of the world’s population! After reading some of the tenants of Sharia law, doesn’t it make you wonder why any woman raised in a western civilization as a Christian would want to marry a Muslim? It perplexes me, but it is done all the time. One example is the young wife of the Boston marathon bomber. (It is estimated that over 90% of Iraqi citizens would prefer Sharia law over the democracy established by the US!)
One can only hope that not all the Muslims in the world take each and every tenant of Sharia law literally. After all, look what happens when the Bible is taken literally. When I was younger and my head was full of mush and my body had raging hormones, my favorite excuse for my actions was that, “I haven’t done anything that is not in the Bible.” Everything is in the Bible! Murder, sacrifices, war, adultery – you name it, and it is there.
But our laws are only as good (or bad) as our leaders. In the Muslim world, it would be their religious leaders. Need an example of bad Christian leaders? Remember that little dust-up during the Middle Ages called the Crusades? Yep. A few popes called on all ‘believers‘ to eliminate the non-believing Muslims in the Holy Lands. Jerusalem needed to be liberated! There were actually over ten major and minor Crusades over a 200 year period. The home team (Muslims) eventually won the match.
So here we are, about 800 years after the last Crusade, and now we have various Muslim groups warring, pillaging, raping and murdering with impunity. What gives with that?
Here is my theory on this whole mess. Religion may be the gun, but money is the bullet. Yup. Grandpa T thinks all of this religious hocus-pocus has money and wealth at its core. No doubt there are some religious zealots involved, but the latest group of terrorists are too well-organized and too well-funded to be a groundswell Islamic movement. The participants are professionals, not ordinary people off the street. (The Crusaders brought back boatloads of loot, and they shared it with the Catholic Church!)
We need to find out who is doing the funding. Then we need to act. It often appears that our nation is afraid to admit who is actually funding these different terrorist groups because we indirectly funded them ourselves with petro-dollars. Did you pick up on that tenant from Sharia law that you can lie to advance the Islamic religion? Could this be taken to the national level? Hmmm.
We need to find out who is doing the recruiting. Again, we need to act. Unfortunately, too many of these recruits are coming from the US, England and other western nations. It is estimated that close to two hundred Muslim Somalis from Minnesota are currently fighting for one of these terrorist groups. Many of these people were born in the US! England is estimating that up to two thousand of their citizens are currently fighting with terrorists.
If the primary motivation of these acts of terrorism was not money, why would the Muslims be killing other Muslims? The terrorists don’t seem to be taking the time to differentiate as to what brand of Muslim they are killing. They just seem to be killing. The killing of Christians serves both to get publicity and garner more financial and recruiting support. It also draws the support of disaffected westerners, who have never had a cause or been a part of a team. Thus, they have decided it would be adventurous to sample this flavor – i.e. join Team Terrorist!
England is going to invalidate passports of English citizens believed to be fighting with terrorist organizations. The US needs to do the same. Additionally, we need to punish these people with the use of a military tribunal. After all, if a US citizen decides to fight with our enemy, they have declared war on their home country! No ACLU. No lengthy, public civil trial. Only the swift justice of a military tribunal. (Which brings up the question, why has Nidal Malik Hasan not been brought to trial for the November 9, 2009, Fort Hood shooting in which 13 people were killed?)
After researching this blog, I will tell you that the Muslim religion is complicated to understand. Their flavors don’t appeal to this retired veteran of the U.S. Army. Recognizing greed is much easier than attempting to comprehend the Muslim religion.