Exclusive: Many Americans and Westerners are baffled by the violent rage expressed by many Muslims, but the reasons for their anger are real, deriving from a “deep history” of anti-Islamic wars and colonial exploitation of the Middle East, as ex-U.S. diplomat William R. Polk describes.
By stirring up the Middle East – from Western exploitation of oil to Zionist expulsion of Palestinians – Christians and Jews set in motion today’s “clash of civilizations” with Islam and launched all three religions on a path toward dangerous primitivism, a threat to humanity’s future, writes Lawrence Davidson.
The West is quick to show disdain for the Muslim world and almost as quick to bomb it. But the only way to ultimately diffuse Islamic extremism is to understand the West’s historic role in causing the problem – and then pursuing practical ways to address legitimate concerns, as Alon Ben-Meir explains.
Though founded by a pacifist who spoke for the oppressed, Christianity has contributed to more wars, injustices and genocides – in all corners of the world – than any other religion. But President Obama’s glancing reference to this reality prompted howls of protests, as ex-CIA analyst Paul R. Pillar notes.
Though called a “satirical” magazine, Charlie Hebdo was really more “scatological,” obsessed with depicting the naked derrieres of political and religious figures often bent over in humiliating postures, especially Prophet Mohammed, a willful provocation that reflected more bigotry than free speech, notes Lawrence Davidson.
Since ancient times, mankind has struggled against chaos, often seeking to control differences and manage conflicts though violence and war. The Bible has played an insidious role in this history, though an alternate interpretation of its opening chapter would recognize an appeal to do good, not to harshly impose order, says Rev. Howard Bess.
Rather than making serious efforts at peace settlements, President Obama is skating toward possible U.S. involvement in two more Middle Eastern wars, with Syria and Iran. And ex-Vice President Cheney has no regrets about the Iraq War. Such attitudes ignore a core principle of all major religions, writes Winslow Myers.