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What Makes Islam, Islam?

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Religion can be viewed from many different perspectives. People throughout the world hold different religious values. One person’s religious value will not match the religious values of another person. Globalization as a whole has affected the way we view the different religions and our feelings towards them; it has moved towards a more symbolic representation of ideologies. Many have come to believe that the west is more superior to others. Martha Crenshaw argues that globalization is a key driver of terrorism because there is a comparison between countries having less access to means of production and others having more access. Furthermore, most religions go against each other’s beliefs and as for Islam; they have neglected the ideologies of the west. In order to understand how religious values are interconnected is through language games; we think in certain ways because of issues of power.

There is a strong belief that Islam and politics are directly tied. They are tied in the sense that the building blocks of the religion dictate how they ought to behave in the political environment. Through this mandatory follow up behavior that the religion delineates, many have come to believe that its teachings are a form of terrorism. Mandaville argues that what has challenged the Islamic link between politics and religion was the emergence of secularism, which went against the belief that politics and religion could go together. Islam has been a religion that has been accused of supporting terrorist activities in the world. Different assumptions have been brought up to understand better the linkages between what really lies behind the Islam religion and politics. Peter Mandaville argues that Islam is dynamic and that it has changed over time; situated within time and politics.

Through day-to-day knowledge of what is happening in the world there is observable evidence that Islamic followers have employed different techniques to proclaim ‘power’. The techniques being employed are basically inflicting pain in the opponent by methods of kidnapping, hijackings, and recruiting members (such as Al-Qaeda in the Middle East) in order to make them a more powerful and a more appealing group in their societies. According to Mandaville, Islam is directly linked to politics (they cannot be separated); Muslims wanted to challenge new technological innovations as well as new institutions without forgetting about their religious values. Mandaville proclaims an important aspect of the Islamic religion. During the Ottoman Empire many Muslims gained important power and began to interact with Europeans in order to move into a more modern system; but times have changed.

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Islamic individuals no longer hold such believe, for them, their culture is never valued in the international system; hence they attack those perceived to be demeaning their ways of life. Many groups of Muslims have held the belief that Americans and Europeans target them by formulating harsh policies towards their society in general. This conflict has persisted for many years now and it will continue to persist, even though that at some point in history, Muslims interpret terrorism in a different lens. They have interpreted it to be a struggle between religions; that is, Islam and Christianity.

It was in the Middle East, where Osama Bin Laden, the leader of the terrorism group, described his adversaries/opponents as being too aggressive and he urged his supporters and all Muslims to attack them in order to defend the Islamic religion (their long standing traditions). In fact, terrorist groups have justified for so long that their actions can be linked to acts of claiming that they fight for the rights of Islam; rights that have been neglected for long.

For instance, one example of this scenario is Muslims blaming the West for implanting Israel in their land; which technically makes them hold a strong rage that the land was taken from them. Muslims have interpreted this action as a violation of their rights and freedom. In 1948, the United Nations declared Israel an independent state without ‘consulting’ Muslims around the Middle East region. This action angered many Muslims around the world, which further facilitated terrorism. This and many similar historical scenarios make it hard to separate Islam from terrorism in the contemporary global system.

Religion as a cause of terrorism:

Many people in the world have perceived Islam to be directly linked with terrorism because of the secluded value system that this religion holds. However, religion is generally associated with terrorist activities around the world. Religion has specific values, doctrines and dogmas that make them unique. According to Mahmood Mamdani, how people behave politically can be translated to their religious views and culture. Such religious practices predispose members to terrorist practices across the world because the different value systems tend to collide on what they think is appropriate and true. In most cases, religious terrorism aims at fulfilling the will of the One we look up to and it takes no value for human life. Different religions (believes) have been part of human life for centuries; technically without them it would have been difficult to have a socially structured life and something to look up to. Religions have shaped human life and will continue to do so; conflicts and terrorism will persist as a way of going against each other believes and values; it will be a non-ending cycle.

Many groups in the world have justified their actions, such as Islam, using religious values. However, it has been pointed out that many terrorist groups use their religious laws purposefully to their own advantage. As far as I perceive; not one religion has the loss of human life as their main values and as their aim. Most of time religious terrorist are guided by the principles and ideologies of a single human being who interprets the religious laws to suit his/her aims. For instance, leaders in the Middle East rose against the west because they were never consulted before the state of Israel was created. According to them, this was a violation of their rights since they could no longer control the society. The US and the west in general have always supported the state of Israel. In many occasions the US has defended Israel’s a violent actions against Muslim countries. For example; recently Israel sunk a ship carrying humanitarian aid (food) and the United States and the west did nothing about it. This particular action does not go down well with Muslims across the world.

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