Confused by Islam

Religion is a strange thing. It has such power over people of this world, to do so much good an on the flip side to perform acts of incredible evil.

The Islamic faith is in the spotlight yet again, though it has never been far removed from it, more so now because of the conflict between Israel and Palestine, but also because of the tragedy unfolding in Iraq thanks to Isis.

I've tried to understand the Muslim faith, tried to learn about it to gain some form of context to what the core belief is and differences it has in regions of the Middle East. But still I do not get it. But then to a normal person living at the bottom end of Africa how would one ever grasp what it’s like being in the melting pot that is the Middle East. All we see is conflict; fundamentalist rhetoric, Jihad after Jihad it’s frankly endless.

What triggered my questioning of Islam was the very recent series of marches held in Cape Town by the pro Palestine supporters, a 30,000 strong march the one day then the seemingly weekly protest over the weekend. Not to mention the sudden appearance of Hamas and Isis flags – that in itself is a worrying factor.

We have all seen the propaganda on both sides of the fence and who is more just than the other in this particular conflict is a highly charged topic; one I believe has less to do with religion than meets the eye, though it keeps portrayed as such.

But a question that has since been asked and is doing the rounds of the social channels is why do the local Muslims march against Israel when they feel there religion is being ‘attacked’ and keep silent to the terrifying ordeal taking place in Iraq and Syria due to the rise of the extremely fundamental group Isis, who has just beheaded a journalist. A group that beheads captured soldiers and civilians in public squares like barbarians, a group that openly states the local Christian and minority populations must either convert to Islam or be executed, rapes women among other horrors. 

Where is the protest or outcry of condemnation now I ask?

I am not defending Israel for a second and they should be held accountable for the innocents and children killed by their rockets. But I don’t remember hearing Israel state that every Muslim living within or on their borders must move/convert or die? I don’t see them beheading prisoner Hama’s militants, I don’t see them burning Islamic holy sites, yet we see this from Isis and the  more radical Muslim populations in the Middle East and the local communities remain silent? 

Again my question is why?

When those poor girls were abducted by Boko Haram where were the protests?

When the Kenyan shopping centre was attacked and innocent women and kids killed, where were the protests?

Understandably one cannot protest all the time against such acts, as the sad thing is this world is full of them, but it’s when a group picks a stance, in this case religion, and then ignores all the atrocities those sharing your religion make, that’s when question starts being asked.

I face quite a cross roads to how I view this faith. I work and deal with many Muslims and they are kind and friendly, good people. They surely cannot be grouped under the same banner as those in Iraq and elsewhere in the world, chasing away the minorities or worse killing them.  That’s like saying because I am a Christian I belong to the same faith as the Catholic priests that prey on young children. I do not share a faith with those men, and we definitely believe in a different God, just as I feel the God our local Muslim community believe in is not the same as those murderers in Iraq. 

But then the silence is quite deafening.

I would ask a reader to try answer this question, am I simplifying it too much? For I sincerely think Islam also preaches that one must be good, just and live a good life?

When you hear of Islam, immediately the connotations are those of terrorists, bombings, Hama’s, Isis, the Taliban, Hezbollah, Boko Haram and the list goes on.  The bad far outshines the good, and why? Why do you allow it? Why do you keep silent time after time? A non-muslim community in is attacked all is quiet, but a Muslim community is attacked, the Islamic world loses its shit and burns American flags, threatens all Westerners calls for Jihad it doesn't make sense. 

Fundamentalist in all aspects give a cause, ideal, belief or religion a bad name. They cannot be rationalised with, not ever. They are resolute to the death and that is scary, and they will do everything and anything to succeed for their belief. That is why it is so important the moderates and the sane people of this world condone these ridiculous acts and arcane views of religion from the outset.

There was a book written a good few years back, called the ‘Clash of Civilisations’ where the authors argument was simple. After the cold war that was the end of ‘history’. The next chapter will be the clash of worlds, and by ‘world’ he means religions.  On the face of it he does not seem too far off.

This may all seem like a bashing of Islam, but it’s not meant to be. It’s an attempt to try understand why things are the way they are. The above is how the faith is portrayed to me through society, of a violent, intolerant religion but I believe it is so much better than that and that surely is not the full story.

Yet the outrage is muted? Again why