Donald Sensing points to a fascinating essay by Ibrahim Amin atThe Free Muslims Coalition, a nonprofit organization made up of American Muslims and Arabs of all backgrounds who feel that religious violence and terrorism have not been fully rejected by the Muslim community in the post 9-11 era.
The thrust of the article is to look at pragmatic methods to deal with the killing epidemic that is sweeping the world.
Broadly speaking there are three types of enemy which we are fighting in this war. The first are the personal killers, those who would crash planes into American cities or set off bombs in Iraq. These are of course the most immediately dangerous individuals....The second group is comprised of those such as Bin Laden who directly command their followers to go out and kill in their name...But it is the third group which gets the attention from this writer, the mullahs and imams, religious and community leaders who constantly poison the minds of their pupils, constituents, or congregations.
So far, so good. But when I got to the following paragraph I winced. Something here fails to square with both my politics and my faith. Something manipulative that doesn't pass the smell test. I pass along the link because I have a very high regard for Donald Sensing, a former Army officer, now a minister. No one who reads my blog would accuse me of being suspicious of any Muslim seeking solutions to terorism. I am sure that these ideas are being advanced with the best of good intentions, but I think that in the end they will amount to yet another ticking social bomb.
A more cunning method of dealing with the Iago form of villain would be to adopt the exact same tactics. It goes without saying that the average person in the Middle East is guided more by their imams than by the Quran. When it comes to religion, most accept what they are spoon-fed rather than adopting a position after careful personal research and contemplation. Such is human nature. Therefore a logical counter would be to either ‘convert’ hostile imams, help build up the standing of existing imams whose views are in our favour, or set up completely new religious readers. The first option is pretty self-explanatory. Through bribery or blackmail hostile imams could be made to stop spreading their poison, and perhaps even manipulate their followers to turn against the terrorists instead. Naturally this would have to be done very carefully, as with all such actions. Governments are unfortunately rather good at failing at these enterprises, so a great deal of cunning and proper planning would have to be employed. The second and third options essentially amount to the same thing. The west would have to surreptitiously support pro-west, anti-terror religious leaders, and cause them to triumph over their rivals. The methods of achieving this could vary considerably, ranging from giving money and oratorical training to these imams to manufacturing miracles designed to make it appear as if God is endorsing them. Once again it would not be easy, but if done skilfully it should be perfectly possible.