Saturday, December 16, 2006

What Is the Difference Between Sunni and Shiite Muslims--and Why Does It Matter?

I thought I would post these articles in concordance with my last post.


Understanding Islam



Bonus Article

Bonus excerpt:

According to Peter Galbraith, a former U.S. diplomat, the President that began the war was unaware there were multiple sects of Islam in the first place.

"A year after his 'Axis of Evil' speech before the U.S. Congress, President Bush met with three Iraqi Americans, one of whom became postwar Iraq’s first representative to the United States. The three described what they thought would be the political situation after the fall of Saddam Hussein. During their conversation with the President, Galbraith claims, it became apparent to them that Bush was unfamiliar with the distinction between Sunnis and Shiites.

Galbraith reports that the three of them spent some time explaining to Bush that there are two different sects in Islam--to which the President allegedly responded, 'I thought the Iraqis were Muslims!'”

It doesn't matter what party affiliation is in charge - to be so entirely ignorant of the situation in which we've put our troops is absolutely unacceptable at any level. But for Hume to report that a Democrat is so ill informed, without mentioning the person that started the war in the first place was even more uninformed, in what is supposed to be a "fair and balanced" report is intellectually dishonest.


Starrider said... not forget that there are even more factions in play within the conflicts of the Mid-East and in Iraq, including the Kurds and the Baathists there.

D.S. Martin said...

The fact is the sects hate each other with a delightful passion.
That is, they relish their enmity.
They hate America with only a slightly greater intensity.
They hate Israel with still, only a slightly greater intensity.
In other words, killing Jews is the greatest joy in life.
Killing Americans will do if no Jews are available.
Killing a disparate sect of Muslims will do if no Americans or Jews are present.

"We will only have peace with the Arabs when they love their children more than they hate us."

~Golda Meir

I hope that the joys of hate & misery will soon be vanquished.


Starrider said...

It seems fundamental to any aspiration to put down strife and hatred- to understand WHY it exists in any particular expression. It is essential to understand an enemy before it can be defeated. A lot of folks tend to act as if "terrorism" just sprang from a vacuum and an irrational hatred rather than to grapple with the mechanisms that have brought it out. In fact, in many circles to even ask why is a mentally, morally ridiculous endeavor. Negotiation is seen as a weakness of reason and of character in spite of the evidence that without it we are doomed to a self sustaining cycle of violence and revenge.

Starrider said...

Ya know, I was just talking about all of this with a workmate recently. he stated something I have heard quite a bit of in the discourse on the Iraq war.

he said that the only thing that the Muslim respects and understands in dominance and power. Therefore, if we just let them have it...hit them hard enough...then they'll respect us and the conflicts will be over.

Forgive me for saying so...but isn't this the same approach the "terrorists" are employing? Can you ever concieve such an approach working on our populace? I submit that it won't work on them either.

As I have discussed elsewhere in this blog- the Myth of Redemptive Violence is one of the greatest fallacies and heresies of our world.

Cut and paste this post to find discussion on this in a previous post in the October archives of this blog:

D.S. Martin said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
D.S. Martin said...

First, I should preface by saying that I do not disagree with the underlying premise, i.e. "Redemptive Violence is one of the greatest fallacies...".

But, this is from the NYTimes Bio on Golda Meir
'When President Sadat arrived in Israel, he seemed more at ease with her than with any of the other prominent Israelis he saw, and she gave him a gift for a newly born grandchild. He later confided to interviewers that he would have preferred to negotiate with her because he regarded her as "a tough old lady" who had the will to persevere on the road to peace.'
It seems to confirm your workmate's contentions.
You know my thinking on this, as it relates to responding or reacting or pro-acting with violence. It is not the Lord's way, therefore, it is not His people's way.
With that said, I don't believe that 'understanding what motivates sinners' will make them non-sinners. Yes, each side is committing sin. Yes, this will always lead to enmity. Yes, the enmity will grow exponentially as enmity begets enmity.
But, we are focusing on the wrong example, if we are wanting to 'better understand people's sinfull actions.' I say instead focus on the One "perfect example" and draw others gaze to this focal point. When we focus on a thing we inherently move toward that thing.
I learned this lesson once when I had my Cutlass Supreme, I think that Dean was with me, but I don't recall if you were there. Anyway, I was focusing on a guardrail and unfortunately I "inherently moved toward it."

Starrider said...

I understand what you are saying and I am not actually addressing it on these thoughts as much as reflecting on the mainstream perceptions out there.

In this you said-I find us making the same point:

"I say instead focus on the One "perfect example" and draw others gaze to this focal point."

How do we make converts when we use or condone the use of torture and destruction and somehow believe we are emulating the "One Perfect Example" whom actually taught the complete opposite approach to conflict resolution?

I'm thinking there is no other way than to confront the non-sensical paradox of this to make any legitimate or credible advances in helping anyone focus on the "One Perfect Example".

Starrider said...


I think one has to be very "tough" to be stand up and forthrightly speak truth to power and to confront conventional wisdom. Too often "toughness" is equated to ruthlessness and the will to opertate under the doctrine of mutually assured destruction.
Ruthlessness is actually based in fear of the loss of self and is therefore not "toughness" actually.

"Toughness" is actually the will to maintain God's legitimate spiritual values in the face of physical or worldly conflicts.

Hey I just made a quotable quote.

Like the Man said..."What does it profit a man to gain the whole world and lose his own soul?"

D.S. Martin said...

I see.

Hey what do you think of my pensive snowman.
He's contemplating two things
1)his existential being
2)self-actualization as described by Kurt Goldstein versus that expounded by Maslow.

D.S. Martin said...

He's leaning toward Maslow, though.
"People that have reached self actualization are characterized by certain behaviors. Common traits amongst people that have reached self actualization are as follows:
• They embrace reality and facts rather than denying truth
• They are spontaneous
• They are interested in solving problems which may include personal problems or the emotional conflicts of others
• They are accepting of themselves and others and lack prejudice"