Wednesday, 8 September 2010

America's Problem with Islam

America seems to have an increasingly disturbing problem with Islam.

Latest polls indicate that approximately 1 in 5 Americans mistakenly believe that Barack Obama is a Muslim. The idea that it was agents of Islam that caused the attack on the World Trade Center has led to an argument about the decision to build a mosque close to the site.

And now, on the anniversary of the 9/11 attacks, Evangelical Christians in Florida are planning to burn copies of the Koran in protest.

Now, I am not lining up to defend the 9/11 attacks - they were cowardly, heinous and despicable, and I understand how passionate Americans are about it - the UK has been the subject of terrorist attacks many times in my lifetime. But just because those that caused the attacks describe themselves as Muslims doesn't mean that Islam itself is inherently evil.

There is no justification for this

The Christian Crusaders used their religion as an excuse to wage war on the Holy Land. Genocide was committed during the Crusades, as hundreds of thousands were murdered in the name of God. But we do not regard Christianity as evil because of this. We recognise these events in context - that they weren't about religion at all, but power, authority and wealth.

These events need to be taken in context. Our enemy is a small, fanatical group of fundamentalists, who are using a warped interpretation of their religion as an excuse to justify murder and terrorism. Their actions aren't about religion - they're about power, authority and ultimately, wealth. They are the Crusaders of modern times.

The argument of these fundamentalists is that Western society despises Islam, and is out to destroy it, and that only by destroying the free world will they be safe. Rash actions like burning the Koran only reinforce that assertion.