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Opinions of Thursday, 4 February 2016

Columnist: Akwah, Nana

The recent terrorist incident in Burkina Faso

A Clear Manifestation Of The Danger Lurking In The Unknown

There are hawks that accept and support violence in the name of religion. All the same that does not imply that religion promotes war. On the other hand “Religion” has a very substantial and imposing power to bring peace. But it does not seem to occur to most of us that there is not a single unified entity called “religion,” or that different religions actually teach different values.

Most people assumes that whatever is labeled “religion” teaches peace, and that anyone who commits violence in the name of “religion” must be importing his violent impulses from elsewhere, not deriving them from the teachings of “religion.” Such assumptions are not facts of the truth, as history teach that the Church inquisition and the crusaders of the Church can be said to be similar to what prevails now in the ideological slants of the "terrorism jihad".

Terrorist attacks occur every single day around the world. Most are barely mentioned by the media, and if they are, they are hidden behind other stories which apparently make better headlines.

A car bomb here, a beheading there, and a few dozen rapes and slaughters over there is usually thought of as being in a country so far away, therefore we just don’t care. But we should.

The terrorists’ immigration into our country is growing, along with the terror attacks which come along with it getting closer home. The recent terrorist incident in Burkina Faso is a clear manifestation of the danger lurking in the unknown. But most of us don't know or see the danger that comes with it or fail to appreciate that the Fulani herdsmen like the unknown are all catalyst to terrorist acts.

If attacks taking place in a far-off country in our sub-region or elsewhere on the continent or in part of the world do not affect us, just think if they ever happens in our own backyard. These people who come to our countries arrive from these places and bring their ideology with them.

Is the freedom of religion so sacred that we are willing to sacrifice our country, our way of life and ultimately our very own freedom on the altar of jihadist ideology and religion in order to protect a doctrine whose believers preach the death and destruction of the rest of us? That is where the irony comes into play.

The ideal of freedom of religion along with political correctness is what dictates that we must be silent and allow others the right to worship as they please. But the practice of religion is like no other. Just think about the "Jihadist" ideological theology it is very clear: kill the unbelievers. And who are those unbelievers? We are.

Does the “Holy Book of Islam” really contain over a hundred verses prompting and promoting violence?

The theology from which springs their faith contains at least 109 verses that call Jihadists to war with nonbelievers for the sake of Islamic rule. Some are quite graphic, with commands to chop off heads and fingers and kill infidels wherever they may be hiding.

A very worrying concern is that, even practitioners of lslam who do not join the fight are called 'hypocrites' and warned that Allah will send them to Hell if they do not join the slaughter. Unlike nearly all of the Old Testament verses of violence, the verses of violence in the Jihadists ideological theology are mostly open-ended, meaning that they are not restrained by the historical context of the surrounding text. They are part of the eternal, unchanging word of Allah, and just as relevant or subject to interpretation as anything else in the Islamic theology.

The problem emanating from the hellish scourge could be traced to the context of violent passages that are more ambiguous than might be expected of a perfect book from a loving God.

Interestingly, a good many of contemporary Islamic Practitioners and believers exercise a personal choice to interpret their holy book's call to arms according to their own moral preconceptions about the so called justifiable violence.

On the other hand, their apologists attach importance to these preferences with tenuous arguments that, glossed over historical facts generally do not stand up to scrutiny. Still, it is important to note that the issue confronting us is not about bad people, but bad ideology.

The disturbing and the unfortunate truth is that, there are very few verses of tolerance and peace to abrogate or abate and even balance out the many that call for nonbelievers to be fought and subdued until they either accept humiliation, convert to Islam, or are killed.

Muhammad's own martial legateship, along with the remarkable stress on violence found in the Holy Book, have produced a trail of blood and tears across world history.

In our country, when the nation’s founding fathers to a great extent desired the freedom to worship as they wished, there were Christians, Animists and Practitioners of Islam whose beliefs differed from what was taught by the colonialists. They did not go to war or commit terrorist attacks against innocent civilians. They simply wanted to be left alone, did not want to be forced to be part of religious groups whose teachings differed from their own. They wanted the freedom to be able to practice their religion. Why allow a few fanatics whose political inclinations and pursuit blur out conscience to truth, resort to a path that has a potential to wreak upon us violence disaster.

Our very existence has been the history of this favorite paradigm of freedom of religion. And when it comes to religious beliefs i.e. - Animists, Traditionalists, Atheist and others they simply want to be able to worship as they please and be left alone without infringing upon anyone else’s rights.

There is no comparison, however, between the history of this concept and what is happening today with the "ideological theology" thrust of the jihadists of Islam that their religion cannot coexist with other religions. The over 100 verses in the Qur’an which call for “Disciples of Islam to war with nonbelievers for the sake of Islamic rule has been the basis for the terrorist groups to act willingly without compassion.” Even practitioners of Islam who are seen as not adherents are murdered. A recent case in mind is about an activist who is reported to have murdered his mother who sought to persuade him.

The President and his collaborators action has opened a new frontier for the "jihadist to get to us. His high proclamation that we are “allies” gives the jihadists the bent to get to us. Now we fall in the category of nonbelievers, and inviting more "Jihadist Disciples" immigrants into the country is like welcoming the enemy to come and destroy our civilization.

Why must we throw in this ridiculous compassion theory now to muddy the waters? As a people our civilization has been uniquely different - we have a unique way of life that is very distinct in all aspects, for our strength as a country has laid and remained in our diversity. It is this platform from which we derive our strength and allow us to accommodate each and everyone irrespective of what your belief is.

We share love, appreciates each other cultural heritage, religious beliefs - that is what make us stronger and unique. We demonstrate compassion coupled with common sense to each other. We must not do anything to undermine these long lived courtesies and principles for the sake of political correctness.