Religion, Terrorism and Warfare: ISIS, Islam, Christianity and Cultures in Conflict

Religion, Terrorism and Warfare: ISIS, Islam, Christianity and Cultures in Conflict


>>EVER SINCE THE FALL OF
THE BERLIN WALL AND THE END OF THE COLD WAR WE THOUGHT THE
WORLD WAS GOING TO BE DIFFERENT. WE THOUGHT THE WORLD WAS
GOING TO BECOME AT LEAST SOME OF THE MOST OUTSPOKEN
OBSERVERS THOUGHT THAT EVERYBODY WAS
GOING TO BE LIKE US. WELL THAT TURNED
OUT TO BE THE CASE. THE LAST COUPLE OF DECADES HAVE
BEEN ONE OF ARISE OF NEW FORMS OF ETHNIC AND RELIGIOUS
VIOLENCE AROUND THE WORLD AND I THINK THE TWO
THINGS ARE RELATED. ARAB GLOBALIZATION
AND THE INSECURITY OF THE NATION STATE ARE THE KIND
OF RAPID SOCIAL TRANSFORMATION AROUND THE WORLD HAS
CREATED THE INSECURITIES THAT PRODUCE THE NEW
TRIBALIZATION OF RELIGIOUS AND ETHNIC VIOLENCE IN EVERY
RELIGIOUS TRADITION AND SO FOR ME, SOMEBODY WHO STUDIED
RELIGION AND POLITICS FOR MOST OF MY CAREER, THE QUESTION
WAS WHY NOW AND WHY RELIGION? WHAT DOES RELIGION
HAVE TO DO WITH IT? SO I BECAME ENGAGED IN A
WHOLE SERIES OF CASE STUDIES AND PROJECTS THAT HAVE
LED TO A SERIES OF BOOKS ON THE TOPIC INCLUDING THE MOST
RECENT ONE “GLOBAL REBELLION: RELIGIOUS CHALLENGES OF
THE SECULAR STATE” BUT ALL OF THIS BEGAN IN THE PUNJAB
IN INDIA AND IT BEGAN THERE BECAUSE I USED TO LIVE THERE. FOR YEARS I LIVED IN THE PUNJAB IN NORTHERN INDIA
WHERE THE SIKHS LIVE. THESE ARE PEOPLE WITH THE
LONG HAIR AND TURBANS. THE MEN CANNOT WEAR THEIR HAIR AND IT’S A REALLY
WONDERFUL COMMUNITY OF PEOPLE TO LIVE WITH. I DON’T KNOW WHETHER YOU
KNOW SIKHS BUT THEY’RE GREAT. THEY’RE OUTGOING, LIVELY NOT LIKE THOSE STUFFY HINDUS THEY’RE
REALLY FUN PEOPLE TO BE WITH. I KNOW I’M INSULTING
SOMEBODY BUT I CAN’T HELP IT. I LOVE SIKHS. SO IN THE 1980S, WHEN AN
AWFUL SPIRAL OF VIOLENCE BEGAN BETWEEN YOUNG SIKH MEN AND
THE INDIAN GOVERNMENT LED BY THIS MAN, SANT JARNAIL
SINGH BHINDRANWALE I WANTED TO KNOW WHY AND IT WAS NOT
JUST AN INTELLECTUAL CONCERN, IT WAS ALSO A PERSONAL ONE. HOW COULD PEOPLE I KNEW
SUCH A LOVELY, GREGARIOUS AND LIVELY PEOPLE BE INVOLVED IN
THIS VICIOUS SPIRAL OF VIOLENCE? SO I WENT BACK TO
INDIA TO LISTEN TO THE SERVICE OF BHINDRANWALE. BY THE TIME I GOT THERE HE HAD
BEEN KILLED BUT WAS ABLE TO TALK WITH HIS FOLLOWERS, TO TALK WITH
THE PEOPLE CLOSE TO HIM AND LOOK AT THE TAPES AND
INVARIABLY I’D SEE SOMEBODY– I EXPECTED TO SEE WHAT WE
WERE TOLD YOU WILL FIND IN SUCH CASES HOW WILEY
POLITICIANS USE RELIGION FOR POLITICAL PURPOSES AND
THAT’S NOT WHAT I FOUND. BHINDRANWALE WAS NOT
A WILEY POLITICIAN. HE WAS SOMETHING OF A COUNTRY
PREACHER AND HE WOULD COME OUT AND HE WOULD LOOK OVER A SEA
OF INVARIABLY YOUNG SIKH MEN, USED THE MEN AND HE WOULD GROWL
AT THEM AND THEN WOULD SAY, “LOOK YOU, YOU’VE GIVEN IT UP. LOOK AT YOU. YOU’VE TRIMMED YOUR
HAIR AND BEARD. YOU’RE WEARING SHINY SHOES AND
FANCY PANTS AND YOU’RE HANKERING AFTER GOVERNMENT JOBS
AND UNIVERSITY POSITIONS. YOU’VE LOST IT. WHAT ABOUT THE TOUGH WAYS OF
THE GURUS, OF YOUR FOREFATHERS? THERE’S A WAR GOING
ON OUT THERE. A BATTLE BETWEEN GOOD AND EVIL
AND RIGHT AND WRONG AND RELIGION AND IRRELIGION AND THE TIME HAS
COME FOR YOU TO TAKE THE ARM OF FAITH AND STAND UP
FOR WHAT YOU BELIEVE, TO FOLLOW THE PATH
OF THE FOREFATHERS.” WELL WHAT AN EXCITING
CALL TO ACTION. WHO WOULDN’T BE MESMERIZED
BY SUCH A THING? AND AS I LISTENED TO THOSE
WORDS I SAID TO MYSELF, YOU KNOW I’VE HEARD THIS BEFORE. NOW BY SAYING THAT I
DIDN’T, I WASN’T RAISED AS A SIKH YOUNG MAN
IN AN INDIAN VILLAGE. I GREW UP IN THE MID-WEST IN A
VERY MUCH OF A BIBLE BELT AREA OF SOUTHERN ILLINOIS NEAR
ST. LOUIS AND IT WAS A PLACE, A SMALL TOWN, A LITTLE
FARMING COMMUNITY AND DURING THE SUMMER
ESPECIALLY THINGS GOT HOT AND THE FLIES WERE BUZZING AND I CAN’T TELL YOU HOW
INCREDIBLY BORING LIFE WAS UNTIL THE REVIVALS CAME TO TOWN
AND THEN SUDDENLY THE TENT WENT UP AND THE PREACHERS CAME OUT
AND THE GOSPEL SINGING BEGAN AND HALLELUJAH WE BEGAN TO
BE EXCITED BY THE MESSAGE OF PROPHETS AND THE REVIVALISTS
AND THEN WE WOULD BEGIN TO BE STIRRED INTO ACTION. I REMEMBER THIS ONE GUY DRESSED
IN CAMOUFLAGE AND ARMY UNIFORM. HE WOULD STAND UP IN
FRONT OF EVERYBODY AND SAY YOU KNOW,
“LOOK AT YOU PEOPLE. YOU’VE LOST IT. YOU’RE GIVING UP
EVERYTHING FOR THE EASY LIFE. YOU KNOW THERE’S
A BATTLE GOING ON. THERE’S A WAR BETWEEN GOOD
AND EVIL AND RIGHT AND WRONG AND RELIGION AND IRRELIGION
AND THE TIME HAS COME RIGHT NOW FOR YOU TO TAKE UP THE
SWORD OF FAITH AND WALK DOWN THE SAWDUST PATH AND
ACCEPT THE LORD JESUS CHRIST AS YOUR SAVIOR, HALLELUJAH
AND BE SAVED.” WELL, WHAT A STIRRING
CALLED TO ACTION. I MEAN WHO OF US WHO
LEADS MESSY LIVES AND ALL OF US LEAD MESSY LIVES,
WOULDN’T BE ATTRACTED TO DOING SOMETHING SERIOUS WITH
OUR LIFE, TO TAKING UP THE SWORD OF FAITH, BEING REALLY INVOLVED, LIVE IN A WAY THAT’S NOT
JUST GIVING UP TO THE EASY, HUM-DRUM EXISTENCE BUT IS
ACTUALLY MEETING THE CHALLENGES? SO I MYSELF WAS SAVED ON
MORE THAN ONE OCCASION BECAUSE IT WAS AN EXCITING WAY
TO BE, TO BE INVOLVED IN A WORLD WHERE THERE WAS SOMETHING A WAR,
SOMETHING BIGGER THAN OURSELVES. NOW, I KNEW IT WAS A METAPHOR. NONE OF US THOUGHT WE WERE GOING
TO ACTUALLY TAKE UP A SWORD AND ACTUALLY GOING TO KILL
PEOPLE BUT THAT’S WHAT IT IS IN CHRISTIANITY,
RIGHT, A METAPHOR. NOT FOR EVERYBODY. THERE ARE GROUPS WITHIN
THE CHRISTIAN RIGHT FOR WHOM THE IDEA OF THE
CALL TO BATTLE, TO GO PICKING UP THE SWORD OF FAITH IS
VERY MUCH A PHYSICAL ACT, IS VERY MUCH AN ACT OF VIOLENCE
AND I’M NOT JUST TALKING ABOUT THE ARYAN NATION BUT THERE
IS THE ARYAN NATION BUT WHAT ABOUT TIMOTHY MCVEIGH, THE GUY
WHO BLEW UP THE WHOLE FRONT OF THE OKLAHOMA CITY FEDERAL
BUILDING, THE LARGEST ACT OF TERRORISM ON AMERICAN
SOIL BEFORE 9-11. NOW I DON’T YOU DON’T THINK OF
HIM AS A RELIGIOUS TERRORIST BECAUSE IT WASN’T IN THE INTERESTED EITHER THE
PROSECUTION OR THE DEFENSE TO PORTRAY HIM THAT WAY BUT IF
YOU LOOK AT WHAT WAS IMPORTANT TO HIM THAT HIS BIBLE, THIS
BOOK THAT YOU USED TO HAWK AT GUN SHOWS YOU’LL SEE
THAT TURNER DIARIES WAS ALL ABOUT COSMOTHEISM, THIS
RELIGIOUS VISION OF A NEW ORDER, OF TRYING TO TRANSFORM
THE UNITED STATES, OF TRYING TO SAVE AMERICA
FOR CHRISTIAN CIVILIZATION BECAUSE IT WAS BEING TAKEN OVER
BY A MULTI-CULTURAL SOCIETY OF ALIEN PEOPLE AND WE
NEEDED TO BE WAKENED UP. WE NEEDED TO BE SHOWN THAT
THERE WAS A WAR GOING ON AND SO BLOWING UP THE OKLAHOMA
CITY FEDERAL BUILDING WAS AN ACT OF CHRISTIAN TERRORISM TO TRY TO
SHOW US THAT THIS WAR IS REAL. IT’S A REAL THING THAT’S
HAPPENING IN THE WORLD. ANDERS BREIVIK JUST
A COUPLE OF YEARS AGO IN NORWAY WAS DOING
THE SAME THING. IF YOU LOOK AT HIS MANIFESTO HE
TALKED ABOUT HOW HE WAS TRYING TO DO BY THIS ACT OF VIOLENCE
EXPLODING BOMBS IN DOWNTOWN OSLO AND GOING INTO A YOUTH CAMP
OF PEOPLE THAT ARE ASSOCIATED WITH A MULTI-CULTURAL
POLITICAL SOCIETY AND STARTED KILLING
PEOPLE, KILLING YOUNG PEOPLE IN COLD-BLOOD HE WAS TRYING
IN HIS MIND STOP A PROGRESS OF MULTI-CULTURALISM IN NORWAY THAT HE THOUGHT WAS UNDERCUTTING
CHRISTIAN CIVILIZATION. AND HE TITLED HIS MANIFESTO WITH
A DATE THAT HARKED BACK TO GATES OF VIENNA WHERE THE MUSLIM
ARMIES HAD BEEN STOPPED AT AN EARLIER POINT
IN EUROPEAN HISTORY AND HE THOUGHT HE WAS DOING THE
SAME THING A CHRISTIAN TERRORIST WHO TOOK THIS IDEA OF
WARFARE LITERALLY, SERIOUSLY. THE ATTACK ON THE
ATLANTA OLYMPICS WAS BY CHRISTIAN IDENTITY
PEOPLE WHO THOUGHT THAT THEY WERE BRINGING
ABOUT THIS WAR. I INTERVIEWED A GUY WHO HAD
BOMBED ABORTION CLINICS UP AND THE DOWN THE EAST
COAST AND LESBIAN BARS AND WRITTEN A BOOK
CALLED “A TIME TO KILL” OUT OF ECCLESIASTES. HE WAS A LUTHERAN PASTOR,
TRAINED AS A LUTHERAN PASTOR BUT HE SAW THE IDEA OF WARFARE
IN CHRISTIANITY AS A REAL THING AND THOUGHT THAT THE TIME HAD
COME UP AS ECCLESIASTES SAID, “IT WAS A TIME TO KILL” AND HE WROTE A WHOLE
HANDBOOK ON HOW TO DO IT. ONE OF HIS BEST FRIENDS DAVID
HILL WHO’S PRESBYTERIAN PASTOR TOOK HIS MESSAGE LITERALLY
AND HE THOUGHT A PASSAGE OF SCRIPTURE HAD
INSTRUCTED HIM TO MOW DOWN SOME ABORTION
CLINIC PROVIDERS AS THEY ENTERED A
CLINIC IN PENSACOLA, FLORIDA AS GUARDS STOOD AROUND
INCLUDING THE POLICE WATCHED HIM IN HORROR AS HE KILLED THEM IN
COLD-BLOOD AND THEN HE THREW DOWN THE GUN AND
SAID, “ARREST ME.” AND OF COURSE THEY DID
AND THEY TOOK HIM OFF. THE STATE OF FLORIDA
EXECUTED DAVID HILL. IS HE A CHRISTIAN
SUICIDE ATTACKER? HE KNEW WE WAS GOING TO
BE CAUGHT AND EXECUTED BUT HE TOOK LITERALLY
THE IDEA OF COSMIC WAR. YOU KNOW THE INTERESTING THING
IS THE VERY SAME THINKING WAS INVOLVED IN SOME OF
THE PEOPLE INVOLVED IN WORLD TRADE CENTER ATTACK. NOW YOU ALL KNOW ABOUT 9-11. IN 1993 THERE WAS ANOTHER ATTACK
ON THE WORLD TRADE CENTER. IN FACT, IF THEY
HAD BEEN SUCCESSFUL IN 1993 THE TOWERS
WOULD NOT HAVE BEEN COME DOWN WITHIN AN HOUR OR SO. THEY WOULD HAVE COME
DOWN IMMEDIATELY BECAUSE THEY HAD RYDER RENTAL
TRUCKS FULL OF FUEL OIL AND FERTILIZER THAT WAS
SUPPOSED TO EXPLODE UNDER ONE OF THE CENTRAL COLUMNS
OF ONE OF THE TOWERS AND LIKE TREES FALLING IN THE FOREST THE FIRST
TOWER WOULD HAVE FALLEN INTO THE SECOND TOWER. THE SECOND TOWER WOULD HAVE
FALLEN INTO ALL THE BUILDINGS WITHIN THE SHADOWS OF THOSE
TWO ENORMOUS EDIFICES. IF YOU GO TO MANHATTAN TODAY
YOU’LL SEE THAT THE FOOTPRINT OF THE WORLD TRADE CENTER TOWERS
ARE RIGHT ACROSS THE STREET FROM VERY HIGH RISE BUILDINGS. IN 9-11 THEY IMPLODED
AFTER AN HOUR WHICH ALLOWED THOUSANDS
OF PEOPLE TO ESCAPE. I DID THE CALCULATION THAT
25,000 IN EITHER TOWER, PEOPLE WORKING THERE 25,000,
ANOTHER 25,000 GUESTS. THAT’S 100,000 IN THE TOWERS
AND THIS WAS HIGH NOON IN 1993 NOT FIRST THING
IN THE MORNING LIKE 9-11 AND THEN ANOTHER 100,000. TWO HUNDRED THOUSAND PEOPLE
WOULD HAVE BEEN KILLED, SO WHEN I FIRST SAW 9-11 THE
TELEVISION PICTURES I THOUGHT HAVE TO BE TENS OF THOUSANDS
MAYBE HUNDREDS OF THOUSANDS OF PEOPLE KILLED AND IT WAS
A HUGE RELIEF, I MEAN TRAGIC OF COURSE FOR THE 3,000,
UNDER 3,000 THAT WERE KILLED BUT WHAT THE SAME GROUP OF
PEOPLE WERE TRYING TO DO IN 1993 HAS RESULTED IN
THIS, A BIG EXPLOSION IN ONE OF THE SUB-BUILDINGS OF THE–
UNDER ONE OF THE TOWERS OF 9-11 AND THIS WAS A GROUP OF PEOPLE
WHO WERE BROUGHT TO JUSTICE AND ARE SERVING PRISON TIME
RIGHT NOW IN THE UNITED STATES IN AMERICAN, MANHATTAN
COURTROOMS THE SAME CONNECTIONS WITH PEOPLE WHO IN FACT
WERE INVOLVED WITH 9-11. RAMZI YOUSEF, UP THERE IN
THE UPPER LEFT HAND CORNER, HE IS THE NEPHEW OF
SHEIKH KHALID MOHAMMED, THE GUY WHO IN FACT IS THE
CENTRAL CONSPIRATOR ACCORDING TO THE 9-11 COMMISSION
REPORT IN 9-11. YOU THINK IT’S OSAMA BIN LADEN. I KNOW. HE’S BECOME THE SYMBOL BUT IT WAS HIS UNCLE
KHALID SHEIKH MOHAMMED AND THIS IS HIS NEPHEW,
RAMZI YOUSEF AND THE FELLOW DOWN HERE MAHMUD ABOUHALIMA WAS
IDENTIFIED BY “TIME MAGAZINE” AS THE CHIEF CONSPIRATOR,
THE ORGANIZER. I SAID, “I WANT TO
TALK WITH THIS GUY.” SO I FOUND OUT WHERE HE
WAS AND WHERE WAS HE? REMEMBER HE WAS TRIED
AND CONVICTED. HE WAS 15 MILES FROM MY
HOMETOWN IN SAN BARBARA, LOMPOC FEDERAL PENITENTIARY. SO I SAID I WANT TO GO
TO LOMPOC TO SEE HIM. IT TOOK ME TWO YEARS. IT’S EVEN HARDER TO BREAK
INTO PRISON THAN TO BREAK OUT OF PRISON BECAUSE I HAD
TO TALK WITH HIS LAWYER. I HAD TO TALK WITH THE WARDEN. ULTIMATELY I GOT WALTER
CAPPS WHO WAS MY CONGRESSMEN AT THE TIME TO GO INTERCEDE FOR
ME AND I WAS THE ONLY ACADEMIC OR REPORTER FOR THAT MATTER, ONLY PERSON TO HAVE INTERVIEWED
ABOUHALIMA WHICH I DID ON SEVERAL OCCASIONS IN WHAT
WAS A VERY INTERESTING SET OF INTERVIEWS. ABOUHALIMA WAS A VERY FRIENDLY,
OUTSPOKEN GUY WITH A KIND OF GREGARIOUS CALLED MAHMUD
THE RED BECAUSE OF HE KIND OF HAD RED HAIR,
EGYPTIAN BACKGROUND AND I DON’T KNOW WHAT
YOU THINK A TERRORIST IS BUT HE DIDN’T LOOK
LIKE A TERRORIST. HE DIDN’T TALK LIKE A TERRORIST. HE WOULD SAY DAMNED THIS, SHIT
THIS AND HE HAD A PENCHANT FOR BLONDE NORWEGIAN
WOMEN, FINE. WHEN IT CAME TO THE
SUBJECT OF RELIGION AND POLITICS HIS EYES KIND OF
DARKENED AND HE KIND OF HUNCHED OVER AND HE SAID “MR. MARK,” HE
SAYS, “YOU PEOPLE DON’T GET IT.” HE SAID, YOU’RE JUST LIKE SHEEP. YOUR GOVERNMENT’S FOOLING YOU. IT’S TRICKED YOU. YOU DON’T UNDERSTAND WHAT’S
GOING ON IN THE WORLD. YOUR NEWSPAPERS DON’T
REPORT ANYTHING. YOUR GOVERNMENT IS TRYING TO HIDE THE INFORMATION
FROM YOU, MR. MARK.” HE SAID, “THERE’S
A WAR GOING ON. THERE’S A BATTLE BETWEEN GOOD
AND EVIL AND RIGHT AND WRONG AND RELIGION AND IRRELIGION AND
YOUR GOVERNMENT IS THE ENEMY.” HE SAID, “THE PROBLEM
WITH YOU PEOPLE, YOU SHEEP YOU NEED
TO BE SHAKEN AWAKE. YOU NEED TO BE GRABBED BY
THE SHOULDERS AND SHAKEN SO YOU KNOW WHAT’S REALLY
HAPPENING IN THE WORLD.” AND I SAID, “IS THAT THE REASON
WHY PEOPLE BOMB BUILDINGS?” AND HE JUST LOOKED
AT ME AND SMILED AND HE SAID, “WELL
NOW YOU KNOW.” AFTER 9-11 OF COURSE
NOW WE ALL KNEW. FOR HIM THIS PERVASIVE IMAGE
OF COSMIC WAR, THE GREAT BATTLE BETWEEN GOOD AND EVIL
AND RIGHT AND WRONG WAS LIKE FOR TIMOTHY MCVEIGH
THE THING HE WANTED TO IMPRESS ON US. AND SO LIKE DRAMATIC
ACTS OF STREET THEATER, LIKE A KIND OF PERFORMANCE
VIOLENCE THESE INSTANCES OF TERRORISM THAT SEEM TO
US TO BE TERRORISM ARE MEANT TO BE VERY VISIBLE PORTRAYALS
OF A WAR THAT’S VERY REAL IN THE MIND OF THE PEOPLE
WHO ARE PERPETRATING THEM. THEY’RE NOT INTENDED
TO DO SOMETHING. IT’S NOT AFTER 9-11 SUDDENLY
BOAT LOADS OF JIHADIS WERE GOING TO END UP ON THE EAST
COAST AND TRY TO TAKE– NO. THE MEDIUM WAS THE MESSAGE. THAT WAS IT. LOOK AT IT. THERE’S A WAR GOING ON. GET IT? I MEAN THERE’S NO NEED
FOR A LITTLE CREEPER TO COME UP ACROSS YOUR TELEVISION SCREEN AND SAY THIS TERRORIST ACT
HAS BEEN BROUGHT TO YOU BY SO AND SO OR BY SUCH AND SUCH. NO, I DON’T NEED TO SEE THAT. YOU JUST SEE WAR. AND SUDDENLY WE WERE
THINKING WAR. WE BIT THE BAIT. YEAH, WE SAID, OKAY. YOU THINK WE’RE AT WAR. ALL RIGHT WE’LL BUY
INTO YOUR MESSAGE. AND I’M SAYING, “WHY ARE WE
BUYING INTO THEIR MESSAGE? WHY DON’T WE JUST FIND
THESE GUYS AND BRING THEM– WHY ARE WE PROMOTING THEIR
IDEA OF THE WAR ON TERROR? THIS IS NUTS?” BUT THAT’S WHAT THE
AMERICAN GOVERNMENT DID. THE MUSLIM WORLD, IN GENERAL,
WAS MUCH SMARTER THAN US. THEY SAID, “NO THERE’S
NO WAR GOING ON. WE’RE NOT FOLLOWING THESE GUYS. WE’RE NOT SUPPORTING THEM. THEY’RE CRAZY.” WHICH IS THE APPROPRIATE
ATTITUDE TO TAKE BUT YOU SEE THE POINT. THIS VISION OF COSMIC
WAR THIS GREAT BATTLE WHICH EVERY RELIGIOUS TRADITION
HAS THE COUNTRY REVIVALIST THAT SO ATTRACTED ME
WHEN I WAS A TEEN-AGER IN SOUTHERN ILLINOIS, THAT
KIND OF WAR IS IN EVERY KIND OF RELIGIOUS TRADITION. ONWARD CHRISTIAN
SOLDIER, MARCHING ON TO– IN EVERY RELIGIOUS
TRADITION, THE HINDU. HINDUISM IS FULL OF GOOD THINGS. IT’S OH SO PEACEFUL. WHAT ABOUT THE [INAUDIBLE]
FULL OF WAR, FULL OF BATTLE. WELL AS BUDDHISTS FORTUNATELY,
IF YOU READ THE MAHAVAMSA, THE BUDDHIST CHRONICLES
OF SRI LANKA, FULL OF WAR. EVERY RELIGIOUS TRADITION
HAS THESE IMAGES OF WARFARE, OF GREAT BATTLES THAT CAN
BE EASILY RESUSCITATED, BOUGHT TO LIFE NOT ONLY
IN AN METAPHORICAL SENSE WHICH THEY’RE INTENDED TO BE. I MEAN MOST MUSLIMS
WILL TELL YOU THAT THE JIHAD IS REALLY TALKING
ABOUT THE INTERNAL STRUGGLE BETWEEN GOOD AND EVIL LIKE IN
EVERY RELIGIOUS TRADITION, SURE, BUT THERE ARE PEOPLE WHO THEN
SEE THIS AS A WAY OF THINKING ABOUT THE STRUGGLES IN THE REAL
WORLD AND WHEN THAT HAPPENS AND UNLIKE THE POLITICIZATION
OF RELIGION WHICH IS WHAT I EXPECTED
TO FIND WITH BHINDRANWALE. I SEE THE RELIGIONIZATION
OF POLITICS. THE IMPLANTATION OF RELIGIOUS
METAPHORS OF GREAT STRUGGLE INTO THE POLITICAL LANDSCAPE,
INTO SOCIAL STRUGGLES OF THE REAL WORLD AND SO YOU GET
THIS KIND OF IMAGE OF WARFARE IN SUCH A DRAMATIC WAY, YOU
GET AN IMAGE OF COSMIC WAR ON A GLOBAL SCALE THAT IS
INTENDED TO GIVE US A SENSE OF THE DRAMA, THE REALITY OF
AN IMAGINED WAR IN THE MINDS OF THE PEOPLE WHO
PERPETRATED IT AND WHICH AS I SAY SADLY WE
BOUGHT INTO IT. SO EVER SINCE 9-11 OF COURSE
THIS, BY PROMOTING THE IMAGE OF WARFARE WE’VE HELPED
TO IN FACT PERPETUATE AND EXPAND THE TERRORIST’S
ACTS THAT BEGAN IN THOSE STATES BUT THIS DOESN’T, THIS
ANSWERS IN A SENSE THE QUESTION OF WHY IS IT RELIGIOUS? THAT IS YOU CAN UNDERSTAND
THE ROLE THAT RELIGION PLAYS NOT JUST IN
ETHICALLY JUSTIFYING VIOLENCE WHICH IT DOES BUT ALSO IN
PROVIDING THE IMAGES OF WARFARE THAT PROVIDE THE
THEATER, THE SPECTACLE THAT MAKES VIOLENCE RATIONAL, SENSIBLE WITHIN THAT
CONTEXT BUT WHAT’S THE POINT? WHAT IS IT AIMED AT? SO I GO BACK TO BHINDRANWALE
BACK TO THE CASE OF THE SIKHS TO TRY TO UNDERSTAND
WHAT’S THEY’RE BEEF? WHAT’S THEIR THING? WHAT ARE THEY TRYING–
WHO ARE THEY AGAINST? ARE THEY AGAINST
HINDUS, MUSLIMS? NO, IT TURNS OUT MOSTLY IT’S
THE SECULAR LEADERS OF INDIA. IN A SENSE THEIR BATTLE IS A
WAR WITH THE SECULAR STATE. THEIR BATTLE IS WITH
WESTERNIZATION, WITH MODERNIZATION,
WITH GLOBALIZATION, WITH ALL OF THE THINGS THAT
KIND OF BRING A DIFFERENT KIND OF SOCIAL RELATIONSHIP
AND POLITICAL RELATIONSHIP BETWEEN INDIVIDUALS
IN THE COLLECTIVITIES OF WHICH THEY ARE A PART. AND SO FOR BHINDRANWALE AND
HIS COMMUNITY THEY WANTED TO RECREATE A RELIGIOUS
SOCIETY OR CREATE ONE REALLY BECAUSE THERE NEVER EXISTED
EVEN IN THE SIKH TRADITION. IT WAS AN IMAGINED RECREATION
OF AN IMAGINED RELIGIOUS SOCIETY THAT WOULD SOMEHOW PROVIDE
A BUFFER, AN ALTERNATIVE TO A MORE SENSITIVE AND
SENSIBLE CHARACTERISTICS OF SOCIETY WOULD
BE AN ALTERNATIVE TO THE HOMOGENIZATION
OF THE ALIENATION OF A GLOBALIZED WORLD. AND SO HE HOLED HIMSELF
UP IN THE GOLDEN TEMPLE WHICH IS THE MAIN KIND OF LIKE
THE VATICAN OF SIKHS A LOVELY, BEAUTIFUL LOCATION, NOT
ACTUALLY IN THE GOLDEN TEMPLE BUT IN THE AKAL TAKHT
WHICH IS ON THE OTHER SIDE OF THIS DRAW BRIDGE AND
WITHIN THE LOVELY CONFINES AND IT WAS THERE THAT MRS.
GANDHI PUZZLED ABOUT WHAT TO DO. SHE WAS THE PRIME
MINISTER AT THE TIME AND SHE WAS EXASPERATED. SHE SAID SHE HAD GIVEN
THESE PEOPLE EVERYTHING. WHAT DO THEY WANT? WELL THE POINT IS THEY
DIDN’T WANT ANYTHING. SHE DIDN’T GET THE POINT
THAT SHE WAS PLAYING A ROLE AS THE KIND OF SATANIC
EVIL PERSON IN AN IMAGE IN AN IMAGINED KIND
OF GLOBAL COSMIC WAR. HOW DO YOU EXPLAIN THAT
TO A POLITICAL LEADER? OH, I’M SORRY IT’S NOT
THAT THEY WANT SOMETHING. YOU’RE PLAYING A ROLE AS A SATANICALLY
AFFILIATE IN A COSMIC WAR. OH THAT’S NICE. WELL, WHAT DO I DO? AND HER GENERALS TELL HER, “DON’T SWEAT IT INDIRA
WE’VE GOT A PLAN.” NOTE TO SELF, YOU’RE IN
A SITUATION OF TERRORISM AND YOUR GENERALS TELL YOU DON’T
SWEAT IT THEY’VE GOT A PLAN, DON’T TAKE IT. BECAUSE THEIR PLAN WAS OH, WE’LL
TIPPY TOE INTO THE PRECINCTS OF THE GOLDEN TEMPLE IN
THE MIDDLE OF THE NIGHT. WE’LL BRING TANKS
AND STUFF LIKE THAT AND WE’LL JUST BOMB THE
HELL OUT OF AKAL TAKHT AND WE’LL DESTROY BHINDRANWALE. CHOP OFF THE HEAD OF THE SNAKE. THE SNAKE IS GONE. EVERYTHING IS OVER, RIGHT? HOW MANY TIMES HAVE YOU HEARD
THAT SOLUTION POSED BY POLITICAL AND MILITARY LEADERS, WELL, WITH
TERRORISM YOU HAVE TO FIGHT FIRE WITH FIRE AND YOU HAVE TO CUT
OFF THE HEAD OF THE SNAKE? WELL, OF COURSE IT NEVER WORKS. WHEN YOU FIGHT FIRE WITH FIRE
YOU USUALLY GET MORE FIRE. WHEN YOU CUT OFF THE HEAD OF
THE SNAKE SEVERAL MORE GROW. WHEN THE ISRAELIS TRIED TO KILL
THE LEADER HAMAS THEN HAMAS ROSE TO POWER IN A WAY THAT
IT NEVER HAD BEFORE AND THE SAME THING HAPPENED
IN THE CASE OF THE SIKHS. THEY WEREN’T SUCCESSFUL GETTING
HIM IN THE MIDDLE OF THE NIGHT. IT TOOK LONGER THAN
THEY THOUGHT. BHINDRANWALE HAD
REENFORCEMENTS IN THE BACK. THEY HAD A PIT STRUGGLE
FOR ABOUT A WEEK. A THOUSAND INNOCENT PILGRIMS
WERE CAUGHT IN BETWEEN THAT WERE KILLED
IN THE STRUGGLE. EVENTUALLY BHINDRANWALE WAS
KILLED BUT IT ANGERED SIKHS AROUND THE WORLD AND EVEN PEOPLE
WHO HAD NEVER TAKEN AN INTEREST IN THIS FIGHT BEFORE
WERE SUDDENLY AN ENEMY OF INDIRA GANDI INCLUDING
HER OWN BODY GUARDS, TWO SIKHS THAT PULLED
OUT WEAPONS AS SHE WALKED FROM HER HOME TO HER
OFFICE IN THE LOVELY GARDENS IN NEW DELHI ASSASSINATED
HER; LEFT HER BLEEDING ON THE SIDEWALK AND THEN
IN RESPONSE THOUSANDS OF SIKHS WERE KILLED AND THE
MOVEMENT GAINED STRENGTH RATHER THAN BEING DESTROYED. SO FOR THE REST OF THE 1980S
THE MOVEMENT CONTINUED. WE CAN TALK ABOUT
HOW IT CAME TO END WHICH IS AN INTERESTING
STORY BUT THE POINT IS THAT THE BATTLE WAS ONE
BETWEEN THE PERCEIVED ENEMY OF THE SECULAR STATE AND
THIS HAS BEEN A COMMON, COMMON PATTERN AROUND THE WORLD. WHEN I TOOK THIS KIND OF
THESIS ON THE ROAD THERE IS OF COURSE A RISE A NEW RELIGIOUS
POLITICAL PARTY THE BJP, THE BHARATIYA JANATA PARTY WHICH
CURRENTLY IS IN POWER IN INDIA. YES, IT’S LIKE ANY
OTHER POLITICAL POWER BUT IT ALSO HAS A STRONG
RELIGIOUS COMPONENT JUST AS SOME ASPECTS OF AMERICAN
POLITICS HAVE STRONG RELIGIOUS COMPONENTS THERE IS A
KIND OF RELIGIONIZATION OF POLITICS THAT’S HAPPENING
GLOBALLY EVEN IN PLACES LIKE SRI LANKA AND YOU’RE
SAYING WAIT A SECOND BUDDHISTS, EVERYBODY KNOWS HOW
NICE BUDDHISTS ARE. THEY’RE LOVELY PEOPLE. THEY DON’T REALLY BELIEVE
IN KILLING A THING EXCEPT ABOUT A MONTH AGO IN COLOMBO
THERE WAS A PEACE RALLY OF CHRISTIANS AND MUSLIMS
AND BUDDHISTS AND PEOPLE OF ALL DIFFERENT BACKGROUNDS
AND THEY CAME AROUND THE CORNER AND THEY WERE MET BY
THIS ANGRY GROUP OF MONKS WHO SAID, “GET OUT OF HERE. IF YOU WANT PEACE
GO UP TO JAFFA.” THEY HAD CLUBS THEY
STARTED BEATING ON THEM. SO MUCH FOR PLEASANT
BUDDHIST MONKS. ABOUT TWO MONTHS AGO I
WAS IN MYANMAR TALKING WITH THIS GUY, WIRATHU. HE WAS ON THE COVER OF TIME
MAGAZINE WITH THE HEADING “THE BUDDHIST FACE OF TERROR.” WHY? BECAUSE IN MYANMAR,
FORMER BURMA AS THE COUNTRY IS NOW BEING
TRANSFORMED HE IS KIND OF THE OF THE THEORY OF MUSLIM
TAKEOVER OF THE COUNTRY. THERE ARE ONLY 4 PERCENT
MUSLIMS IN BURMA, ALMOST NONE. BUT IN HIS IMAGINATION THEY’RE
A HUGE THREAT AND WE HAVE TO BE WARNED ABOUT THESE
THINGS AND HE’S INCITED RIOTS AND PEOPLE HAVE BEEN KILLED. MUSLIMS HAVE BEEN TAKEN OUT OF
THEIR HOMES AND PUT ON FIRE. WHERE HAVE YOU HEARD
ABOUT THAT BEFORE BUT IN THIS CASE IT’S BUDDHISTS
PUTTING MUSLIMS ON FIRE, KILLING THEM, TAKING THEM OUT OF
THEIR HOMES, DESTROYING MOSQUES. THE UN HAS PROCLAIMED HIM AS
ONE OF THE MOST DANGEROUS MEN IN ASIA BUT WHEN HE LOOKED
AT ME HE SMILED AND HE SAID, “DO I LOOK LIKE A TERRORIST?” WHAT I DIDN’T TELL HIM WAS THAT
ALL THE TERRORISTS I’VE TALKED WITH THEY DON’T LOOK
LIKE TERRORISTS AND YOU’RE ONE OF THEM. BUT IN EVERY CULTURE THERE
IS THIS KIND OF RESPONSE TO [INAUDIBLE] NOW BACK IN
THE LATE 1970S THIS ALL BEGAN IN A WAY WITH THE
AYATOLLAH KHOMEINI IN A RELATIVELY BLOODLESS
COUP IN IRAN WHICH IS YOU KNOW AGAINST THE SHAH AND AGAINST
THE TRANSFORMATIONS IN IRAN BUT IT WAS ALSO ABOUT
WESTERNIZATION OR WEST TOXIFICATION AS
THE AYATOLLAH CALLED IT, AN INEBRIATION OF
THINGS WESTERN. I REMEMBER BEING IN
TEHRAN AND VISITING FRIENDS OF MINE BEFORE THE
REVOLUTION AND HE WOULD TAKE ME OUT ON THE TOWN AND
IT WAS GREAT. WE WOULD BAR HOP IN TEHRAN
UNTIL THE MIDDLE OF THE NIGHT AND THE MUSIC WAS GREAT
AND I SAID THIS WAS LIKE WHEN WE WERE GRADUATE
STUDENTS AT BERKELEY. THIS IS LIKE SAN FRANCISCO. AND [INAUDIBLE] CAME TO
TEHRAN AND THEY SAW THE BARS THAT WERE OPEN UNTIL 4
O’CLOCK IN THE MORNING AND THEY SAID THIS
LOOKS LIKE SAN FRANCISCO AND THEY HAD THE SAME INTONATION
IN THEIR VOICE AS WE DID. SO IT’S UNDERSTANDABLE THAT
AFTER THE REVOLUTION THEY WANTED TO TRANSFORM SOCIETY
AND RECREATE A CULTURE OR CREATE A CULTURE, AN
IMAGINED RELIGIOUS SOCIETY TO COUNTER THE FORCES OF
GLOBALIZATION THAT HAVE CHANGED. MUCH THE SAME THING
HAPPENED IN AFGHANISTAN. NO, NO. THIS IS NOT THE TALIBAN. THIS IS THE MUJAHIDIN, AN
EARLIER ATTEMPT THE TRY TO PURGE AFGHANISTAN OF FOREIGN
INFLUENCES, IN THIS CASE SOVIET. THE SOVIET SECULAR IS NOW
AT THAT TIME, IN 1980 WE, THE UNITED STATES THOUGHT
THIS WAS JUST GREAT BECAUSE AFTER ALL WE WERE
FIGHTING THOSE GODLESS COMMIES AND THE SOVIETS WERE SUPPORTING
THE SOCIALIST GOVERNMENT IN AFGHANISTAN. IF WE HAD NOT OVERTHROWN IT,
AFGHANISTAN WOULD BE LIKE MANY OF THE OTHER CENTRAL ASIAN
STATES TODAY BUT NO WE WANTED TO GET IN AND FIGHT
THE COMMUNISTS SO WE SUPPORTED THE
MUJAHIDIN, THERE’S A PICTURE OF ZBIGNIEW BRZEZINSKI AGAIN, JIMMY CARTER’S NATIONAL SECURITY
ADVISOR STANDING UP ON A TANK, TED TURNER HAS THIS IN
HIS COLD WAR SERIES, SHOUTING OUT TO MUJAHIDIN
SAYING, “FIGHT ON, FIGHT ON FOR ALLAH.” NOW CAN YOU IMAGINE CONDOLEEZZA
RICE OR HILLARY CLINTON SAYING TO THE TALIBAN, FIGHT ON? NO, BECAUSE THE GODLESS
COMMIES ARE GONE. WE HAVE NOW A WHOLE
NEW CAST OF CHARACTERS, NO LONGER THE MUJAHADIN. THERE ARE THESE GUYS,
THE TALIBAN AND THEY’RE NO LONGER FIGHTING
AGAINST THE EVIL INFLUENCES OF SECULAR SOVIETS
THEY’RE FIGHTING AGAINST THE EVIL INFLUENCES
OF SECULAR UNITED STATES AND THEY SEE US NOT AS
GUYS THAT ARE COMING TO RESCUE AFGHANISTAN
FROM TERRORISTS. THEY SEE US AS THE GUYS
THAT ARE COMING TO TRY TO MAKE AFGHANISTAN
INTO A LITTLE AMERICA AND THEY DON’T WANT THAT. SO THE TALIBAN, AFTER INITIALLY
BEING UPSET IS NOW GAINING IN STRENGTH IN AFGHANISTAN AND NOT JUST AFGHANISTAN WHEREAS
NO DOUBT IT WILL BECOME THE DOMINANT PLAYER ONCE THE
AMERICANS LEAVE LATER THIS YEAR BUT ALSO ACROSS THE
BORDER IN PAKISTAN WHERE THERE WAS NEVER
TALIBAN BEFORE, THAT IS BEFORE THE U.S.
INVASION OF AFGHANISTAN BUT HAS BECOME A MAJOR FORCE
PARTICULARLY ALONG THE PATHAN SECTIONS OF [INAUDIBLE]
IN WESTERN PAKISTAN WHICH THREATENED THE PAKISTANI
LEADERS AS WELL AS AMERICANS. IT’S BECOME A MAJOR PROBLEM
AND IT’S A MAJOR PROBLEM WITH U.S. RELATIONSHIPS WITH
PAKISTAN WHERE NOW U.S., AMERICA WHICH USED TO BE WARMLY
GREETED AND LOVED IN PAKISTAN. I USED TO LOVE GOING TO
PAKISTAN WHEN I LIVED IN PUNJAB IN INDIA RIGHT ACROSS THE BORDER
AND NOW THE U.S. IS REGARDED AS A MAJOR THREAT TO
PEACE IN PAKISTAN. THERE’S A PEW SURVEY THAT SHOWED
OVER 50% OF PEOPLE THOUGHT THAT THE U.S. WAS THE
MAIN ENEMY OF PAKISTAN. ONLY 15% IDENTIFIED INDIA
THEIR TRADITIONAL THREAT AND ONLY 7% SAID THE
TALIBAN WHICH WERE THE GROUP THAT WE WERE SUPPOSEDLY
TO SAVE THE PAKISTANIS AND THE AFGHAN PEOPLE FROM. YOU SEE THE PROBLEM. AND I SAY IT’S AN
EASY JOB FOR AMERICANS TO EXTRICATE THEMSELVES. I KNOW OBAMA IS TRYING TO DO
THAT BUT YOU SEE THE PROBLEM. YOU SEE THE PROBLEM BECAUSE
THE LARGER ISSUE IS THE WAY IN WHICH RELIGION HAS BECOME
FUSED WITH POLITICS AS A PROTEST AGAINST THE SECULARIST
FORCES OF SECULARIZATION IN A GLOBALIZED SOCIETY AND
THAT’S HAPPENING EVERYWHERE. IN EGYPT, FOR EXAMPLE,
THE MUSLIM BROTHERHOOD WHICH WAS A FAIRLY SMALL GROUP
WHEN IT WAS CREATED RELYING ON IMAGES OF AND THEORETICAL
POSITIONS OF [INAUDIBLE] AND OTHERS BUT WHEN HASSAN
AL-BANNA CREATED IT WAS NOT A MAJOR FORCE NOT LIKE IT’S BECOME IN CONTEMPORARY EGYPTIAN
SOCIETY TODAY. IT’S SO STRONG THAT FOR A WHILE
OF COURSE IT BECAME THE MAJOR, FORMED THE POLITICAL
PARTY, THE LEADERSHIP AFTER THE TAHRIR
SQUARE REVOLUTION UNTIL OF COURSE THE
MILITARY GOVERNMENT TOOK OVER AND ARE REALLY NOW DIRECTLY
BUT IT BECAME AN EXAMPLE OF, A MIDDLE EASTERN EXAMPLE OF THE
FORCE OF RELIGIOUS POLITICS. WHEN IT WAS ADOPTED ACROSS
THE BORDER WITHIN PALESTINE, NOW THIS IS A VERY
INTERESTING SITUATION BECAUSE THE PALESTINIAN MOVEMENT
HAD BEEN LARGELY SECULAR UP UNTIL AROUND 1990 AND
YOU’RE SAYING, WAIT A SECOND. WAIT A SECOND. WE HEAR ALL THE TIME IN THE
PRESS THAT THE HATRED OF MUSLIMS AND JEWS GO BACK FOR
CENTURIES AND CENTURIES. HOW DO YOU EXPECT TO SOLVE
ANYTHING IN THE REGION BECAUSE THEY HATE EACH OTHER AND HAVE BEEN FIGHTING
EACH OTHER FOR CENTURIES? NO THEY HAVEN’T. WHO TOLD YOU THAT? NO THEY HAVEN’T. MUSLIMS AND JEWS HAVE
LIVED PEACEFULLY TOGETHER FOR MOST OF WORLD HISTORY. WHEN SPAIN WAS A MUSLIM
COUNTRY JEWS LIVED THERE HAPPILY UNTIL THE CHRISTIAN’S CAME OVER
AND THEN ENDED THE INQUISITION AND THEN THE JEWS HAD
TROUBLE BUT NO THEY HAVEN’T. AND EVEN IN THE CASE OF
ISRAEL AND PALESTINE YES OF COURSE IT’S A
TERRITORIAL ISSUE BECAUSE THE PALESTINIANS FEEL
LIKE THEY HAVE BEEN TAKEN FROM THEIR LAND BUT
THEIR STRUGGLE LED BY YASSER ARAFAT WAS
A LARGELY SECULAR ONE. HE WAS VERY MUCH A SECULARIST. HE’S A MUSLIM OF COURSE. HIS WIFE WASN’T. SHE WAS A CHRISTIAN, A
PALESTINIAN CHRISTIAN BUT IT WAS A SECULAR MOVEMENT AND THUS THE SAME IS
TRUE ON THE OTHER SIDE. ISRAEL WAS ESTABLISHED
TO BE A SECULAR STATE, TO PROVIDE A HOMELAND
FOR JEWS BUT NOT TO BE AS NETANYAHU SAYS,
“A JEWISH STATE.” IT WAS SUPPOSED TO
BE A SECULAR STATE. AND THE FIRST FLAG FOR ISRAEL
HAD SEVEN STARS WHICH WERE TO SYMBOLIZE THE SEVEN HOURS
OF A WORKING CLASS DAY. IT WAS TO BE A KIND OF SOCIALIST
IMAGE OF A SECULAR SOCIETY THAT WOULD OF COURSE BE A
HOMELAND FOR JEWS ESPECIALLY AFTER THE HOLOCAUST THAT WERE
UNDERSTANDABLY THEY GRIEVE FOR BUT IT WASN’T UNTIL
AFTER THE ’67 WAR AND THE INCREASED
PRESSURE OF THE SETTLERS AND A WHOLE NEW KIND OF
RELIGIOUS POLITICS IN ISRAEL THAT RELIGIONIZED
ISRAEL’S POLITICS. SO YOU HAVE ONLY IN
RECENT 20 YEARS OR SO, 25 YEARS THE RELIGIONIZATION OF WHAT HAD BEEN A
SECULAR POLITICAL STRUGGLE. SO THIS GUY SHEIKH YASSIN ROSE
TO PROMINENCE IN HIS FRUSTRATION THAT NOTHING WAS HAPPENING IN THE MOVEMENT LED
BY YASSER ARAFAT. SO WHEN I INTERVIEWED HIM
YOU SEE, THIS IS A WHILE AGO, THE EARLY 1990S WE BOTH
LOOK A LITTLE BIT DIFFERENT. I HAD MUCH DARKER HAIR
AND HE WAS MUCH MORE ALIVE BECAUSE HE HAS SINCE BEEN KILLED
BY AN ISRAEL MISSILE SITE. HE SUFFERED FROM A KIND
OF DEBILITATING KIND OF NERVE DISEASE AND WHEN
I TALKED WITH SHEIKH YASSIN AND THIS WAS THE BEGINNING OF THE HAMAS MOVEMENT HE WAS
SAYING PALESTINE WOULD NOT BE FREE UNTIL IT’S ISLAMIC
PALESTINE. THAT WAS A RADICAL THING TO SAY BECAUSE ARAFAT WAS LEADING
A SECULAR MOVEMENT LARGELY. NOW THE INTERESTING THING FOR
ME WAS HE SAID THIS JUST THE DAY AFTER I TALKED WITH THIS GUY. THIS GUY IS MEIR KAHANE A
RABBI FROM BROOKLYN WAS LIVING IN JERUSALEM LEADING A
STRIDENT ANTI-MUSLIM MOVEMENT IN ISRAEL TRYING TO RELIGIONIZE
ISRAEL’S POLITICS FRUSTRATED WITH THE FACT THAT ISRAEL WAS
A SECULAR COUNTRY HE THOUGHT THAT ISRAEL SHOULD REALIZE
ITS BIBLICAL HERITAGE IN RECREATING BIBLICAL
SOCIETY, RECREATING A TEMPLE ON TEMPLE MOUNT WHICH
MEANS THAT YOU HAD TO TAKE OVER THE WEST BANK BECAUSE
THIS WHERE ALL THE PLACES ARE IN THE BIBLE, JERICHO, YOU
KNOW ALL THE PLACES YOU READ ABOUT SO YOU HAD TO RECREATE
BIBLICAL ISRAEL IN ORDER FOR THEM TO CREATE
THE CONDITIONS FOR THE MESSIAH TO COME. I MEAN HOW AWESOME IS THAT? HERE IT IS YOU’RE MEDDLING
WITH GLOBAL HISTORY SO HE WANTED ISRAEL
TO BE BIBLICAL ISRAEL, SO INTERESTINGLY
YOU SEE THE DYNAMICS BETWEEN TWO EXTREMIST LEADERS WITH THEIR KIND OF
RELIGIOUS VISIONS. THE POLITICS UP TO THAT DAY
HAD BEEN LARGELY SECULAR AND BOTH THE PALESTINIAN
MOVEMENT AND ISRAEL POLITICS
HAVE BEEN BEDEVILED BY THESE TWO POSITIONS
EVER SINCE. SO THE RELIGIONIZATION OF THE
POLITICS IS A VERY RECENT THING AND A NEW PROJECT THAT HAS
TAKEN PLACE IN THE REGION. THIS IS MY PICTURE OF A
RALLY AT A SHERATON HOTEL IN JERUSALEM WHERE–
THAT’S MEIR KAHANE ONLY ABOUT SIX MONTHS
BEFORE HE WAS KILLED AND ACTUALLY THE GUY I
INTERVIEWED LATER MAHMUD ABOUHALIMA IN LOMPOC
WAS COMPLICIT IN THE ASSASSINATION
OF MEIR KAHANE. IT’S INTERESTING HOW ALL
THESE CONNECTIONS COME ABOUT. BUT AFTER KAHANE WAS KILLED IN DOWNTOWN MANHATTAN THIS GUY
YIGAL AMIR, A SEMINARY STUDENT IN ISRAEL DECIDED THAT HE
COULDN’T TAKE IT ANYMORE. HE HAD TO STOP WHAT HE SAID
WAS A TRAIN GOING AMUCK AND HE PULLED OUT
THIS GUN AND AIMED IT AT THIS GUY YITZHAK RABIN,
THE PRIME MINISTER OF ISRAEL BECAUSE OF THIS PICTURE,
SHAKING HANDS WITH A PALESTINIAN IN THE ROSE GARDEN WITH
BILL CLINTON SMILING BEHIND TO SHOW HE WAS GOING TO
GIVE AWAY THE WEST BANK. HE WAS GOING TO GIVE
AWAY BIBLICAL ISRAEL AND HE COULDN’T TAKE
ANYMORE AND SO HE TOOK OUT HIS GUN AND HE SHOT RABIN. THESE ARE YOUNG KNOW ISRAELIS
YOU KNOW, CRYING, WEEPING. I TOOK THIS PICTURE OF THE
MEMORIAL THAT’S BEEN MADE IN TEL AVIV RIGHT BY
THAT PUBLIC SQUARE WHERE YITZHAK RABIN GAVE
HIS LAST TALK AND I TALKED WITH HIS WIDOW WHO TOLD ME,
SHE SAID, “WE NEVER EXPECTED THAT YITZHAK RABIN
WOULD BE KILLED, WAS IN ANY DANGER BY JUNE. WE THOUGHT BY MAYBE
SOME MUSLIM ACTIVIST BUT WE NEVER EXPECTED A
JEW WOULD WANT TO DO THIS.” HE DID BECAUSE FOLLOWING
MEIR KAHANE THEY SAW THAT HE WAS UPSETTING THEIR
VISION OF A RELIGIOUS ISRAEL SO. IRAQ POSES A WHOLE
INTERESTING SET OF NEW DYNAMICS WHICH CONTINUE TO UNRAVEL TODAY. SO AFTER THE AMERICAN INVASION
OF IRAQ WITHIN SIX MONTHS OR SO I WAS IN BAGHDAD. I ALWAYS GO WHERE THINGS
ARE BLOWING UP TO TRY TO UNDERSTAND THE
RELIGIONIZATION OF THE INSURGENCY,
THE RESISTANCE TO AMERICAN OCCUPATION. I CAN UNDERSTAND WHY ANY PEOPLE
WOULD BE NOT LIKE TO BE OCCUPIED BUT WHY WAS THIS RELIGIONIZED
IN THIS CERTAIN WAY? THIS IS ME TALKING WITH
MY COLLEAGUE MARY KALDOR FROM LONDON SCHOOL OF ECONOMICS. SHE AND I WERE THERE AS
PART OF A HUMANITARIAN– [INAUDIBLE] HUMANITARIAN
TRANSFORMATION AFTER A TIME OF CONFLICT AS GUESTS
OF A WOMEN’S RIGHTS NGO AND BAGHDAD UNIVERSITY AND
THE WOMAN ON THE RIGHT PART OF THE SCREEN HER TRANSLATOR AND
THE GUY IN THE MIDDLE IS A MULA WHO IS AN IMAM WHO IS THE
HEAD OF THE ASSOCIATION OF MUSLIM CLERICS OF
THE AL ANBAR REGION. THIS IS THE SUNNI AREA OF
WESTERN IRAQ AND HE’S TRYING TO EXPLAIN TO ME THAT WHAT
WAS FRUSTRATING ABOUT– HE TRIED TO EXPLAIN TO ME WHY HE
THOUGHT THE AMERICANS HAD TAKEN OVER IRAQ. HE SAID, “IT HAD
NOTHING TO DO WITH OIL. I HAD NOTHING TO DO WITH
WEAPONS OF MASS DESTRUCTION.” HE SAID HE THOUGHT IT WAS BECAUSE THE AMERICANS SAW SADDAM
HUSSEIN AS BEING WEAK AND HE WAS ABOUT TO FALL TO A
MUSLIM REVOLUTION TO CREATE A MUSLIM STATE IN IRAQ AND THAT’S WHAT THE
AMERICANS DIDN’T WANT. AND I SAID WHAT A NUTTY
CONSPIRACY THEORY. I STARTED TALKING AROUND BAGHDAD
TO OTHER PEOPLE, JOURNALISTS, OH YEAH, WE BELIEVE THAT. YEAH THAT’S RIGHT. THAT’S WHAT AMERICANS ARE
AFRAID OF IS MUSLIM POLITICS. WELL, AT THE TIME
IT SEEMED CRAZY. NOW MAYBE IT SEEMS LESS CRAZY AND IT ALSO EXPLAINS
WHY THE SUNNIS IN WESTERN IRAQ WERE
SUSCEPTIBLE TO RADICALIZATION. NOW THIS IS A MAP OF IRAQ THAT
SHOWS THAT THE SHIA AND SUNNI– YOU KNOW THERE ARE SHIA AND
SUNNI TWO KINDS OF MUSLIMS. THE SHIA ARE IN THE
EASTERN PART CLOSER TO IRAN. THE ARABS, THEY’RE NOT PERSIAN BUT THEY’RE ARABS
BUT THEY’RE SHIA. THE LIGHT BEIGE IS SHIA. THEY’RE THE MAJORITY, 60%. THE KIND OF YELLOW ON THE LEFT
THERE ARE SUNNIS, ALSO MUSLIM BUT SUNNIS AND SOME 20% AND
IN THE NORTH IT’S ANOTHER 20% AND THERE ARE KURDS, A DIFFERENT
ETHNIC COMMUNITY, SUNNIS ALSO BUT A DIFFERENT ETHNIC
COMMUNITY. SO WE’RE FOCUSING ON THE
SUNNIS OF WESTERN IRAQ. THEY’RE THE ONES WHO FEEL
REALLY WORRIED ABOUT THE OUSTER OF SADDAM HUSSEIN BECAUSE
NOW THEY’RE SOMEWHAT IN THE MINORITY. THEY’RE ONLY 20%. THEY’RE AFRAID THAT
THE SHIA WILL TAKE OVER AND JUST TOTALLY CUT THEM OUT
OF ANY KIND OF POLITICAL LIFE. WELL THE AMERICANS VERY SMARTLY
REALIZED THEY HAD A PROBLEM BECAUSE THIS GROUP BECAME
MORE AND MORE RADICAL AGAINST BOTH THE AMERICANS
AND AGAINST THE SHIA. THIS GUY ZARQAWI
CAME IN FROM JORDAN AND LED A WHOLE NEW GROUP
CALLED AL QUAEDA IN IRAQ THAT THEN MOBILIZED THE SUNNIS AGAINST THE AMERICANS
AND THE SHIA BOTH. AND OBVIOUSLY SOMETHING
HAD TO BE DONE ABOUT HIM. HE WAS KILLED– BUT BEFORE HE
COULD HE HAD ADOPTED A WHOLE SERIES OF RADICAL
MEASURES, PUBLIC BEHEADINGS. DOES THIS LOOK FAMILIAR? THIS IS AL QAEDA IN IRAQ
SOME OVER TEN YEARS AGO AND YOU’RE SAYING WHOA THIS
DOESN’T HAVE ANYTHING TO DO WITH THE CURRENT ISIS, RIGHT? AL-BAGHDADI IS THE LEADER OF ISIS WAS THE NUMBER THREE
GUY IN AL QAEDA IN IRAQ. SO AFTER ZARQAWI GETS KILLED
BY THE AMERICAN FORCES, WE HAD TO SHOW HIS HEAD IN ORDER
TO PROVE THAT HE WAS KILLED, AFTER HE WAS KILLED THEN
SOMEBODY ELSE COMES IN CHARGE. HE WAS KILLED AND THEN
AL-BAGHDADI TAKES OVER. BUT BY THE TIME AL-BAGHDADI
TAKES OVER AS LEADER OF AL QAEDA IN IRAQ SOMETHING ELSE HAD
HAPPENED BECAUSE OF THIS GUY, GENERAL PETRAEUS
AND A WHOLE NEW IDEA WHICH PRESIDENT BUSH
ANNOUNCES ON TV. THEY’RE GOING TO HAVE
WHAT’S CALLED THE SURGE WHICH REALLY WASN’T A SURGE. YEAH, IT WAS AN INCREASE
OF TROOPS IN BAGHDAD BUT WHAT REALLY HAPPENED
WAS THE TROOPS CAME OUT OF AL ANBAR PROVINCE SO THE
AMERICANS WERE NO LONGER A KIND OF VISIBLE SYMBOL AND MILITARY
SUPPORT AND MONEY WAS GIVEN TO THE SUNNI LEADERS SO
THEY THEMSELVES COULD FIGHT AGAINST AL QAEDA IN IRAQ. THEY THEMSELVES COULD RESIST
ZARQAWI’S FORCES WHICH THEY DID AND THEY DESTROYED
AL QAEDA IN IRAQ. AND YOU’RE SAYING GREAT, WELL
THAT SOLVES THAT PROBLEM, RIGHT? YEAH, AS LONG AS THE
AMERICANS WERE THERE AND THEY COULD CONTINUE TO
SUPPORT THE AWAKENING MOVEMENT BUT THE AMERICANS LEFT AND WHEN
THE AMERICANS LEFT THEY LEFT THIS GUY IN CHARGE. THE NAME IS AL-MALIKI. THIS MAY SEEM LIKE
A LOUSY PICTURE TO YOU BUT IT’S MY PICTURE. I INTERVIEWED THE GUY WHEN I WAS
THERE IN BAGHDAD RIGHT AFTER– I WANTED TO TALK
WITH THE SHIA LEADER AND I WAS DISAPPOINTED
I DIDN’T GET TO TALK WITH ANYBODY IMPORTANT. THIS GUY WAS THE OFFICE MANAGER. HE WASN’T EVEN IN
CHARGE OF THE DAWA PARTY. HE WAS JUST THE–
AND THE DAWA PARTY IS LIKE THE NUMBER TWO SHIA
PARTY NOT EVEN THE MAIN ONE. HE WAS THE OFFICE MANAGER IN THE OLD ABANDONED
AIRPORT TERMINUS BAGHDAD. I’VE GOT TO SAY IT WAS ONE OF THE WORST INTERVIEWS I’VE
EVER HAD KIND OF SLEEPY. HE DIDN’T REALLY HAVE
ANYTHING IMPORTANT TO SAY. THAT’S WHY THEY SELECTED
HIM TO BE PRIME MINISTER BECAUSE EVERYBODY THOUGHT,
OH, HE’S KIND OF A NEBBISH. HE’S NOT GOING TO
FIGHT FOR ANYTHING. EVERYBODY GETS ALONG WITH HIM. HE’LL JUST BE A TEMPORARY
TRANSITION AND POW. HE WAS SMARTER THAN THEY THOUGHT
AND HE SHORED UP HIS POWER BY PANDERING TO HIS
OWN COMMUNITY, HIS OWN SHIA COMMUNITY
WHICH MEANT THAT THE SUNNIS, THE THING THAT THEY
FEARED HAPPENED. ONCE AGAIN THEY ARE
OUSTED FROM POWER. ONCE AGAIN THEY HAVE
NO ROLE WHATSOEVER WITHIN THE IRAQI GOVERNMENT. THEY’RE TREATED LIKE DIRT. NOW SOMETHING ELSE
THAT’S HAPPENING IN THE REGION THAT’S NEXT
DOOR IN SYRIA WHERE THE SUNNIS OVER THERE ARE FEELING
THE SAME THING. NOW IN SYRIA THEY’RE
THE MAJORITY BUT THE LEADER BASHAR AL-ASSAD
IN SYRIA IS A KIND OF SHIA. HE’S AN ALAWITE IS
A KIND OF SHIA SO THERE IT’S AGAIN THE STORY
THE SHIA ARE CONTROLLING AND KEEPING THE SUNNIS OUT. SO YOU HAVE THESE TWO REGIONS
THAT HAVE A LOT IN COMMON, SO AL-BAGHDADI PRETTY SMART GUY
HE PICKS UP ON THIS AND HE SAYS, “AH-HA, WE’VE GOT A
REBELLION OF SUNNIS IN SYRIA. WE’VE GOT A REBELLION
OF SUNNIS IN IRAQ. I COULD DO SOMETHING WITH THAT.” AND FOR A WHILE HE WAS A
PRISONER OF THE U.S. FORCES WHEN HE WAS A PART OF AL QAEDA
IN IRAQ AND THEN THEY LET HIM GO BECAUSE THEY FIGURED HE WASN’T
IMPORTANT WHICH HE WASN’T THEN BUT THEN HE BECAME THAT,
THE GUY ON THE RIGHT, A LITTLE BIT CHANGED IMAGE AND
DECLARES HIMSELF THE [INAUDIBLE] AND LEADS A MOVEMENT
THAT FIRST OF ALL FIGHTS WITH AN AL QAEDA
FORCE WITHIN SYRIA. SO ZARQAWI WHO AFTER ALL
OSAMA BIN LADEN IS THE LEADER OF AL QAEDA IN AFGHANISTAN
SAYS, “WAIT A SECOND. YOU GUYS SHOULD GET ALONG. YOU SHOULD NEGOTIATE
WITH EACH OTHER.” AND BAGHDADI SAYS NUTS TO THAT. “I’M JUST GOING TO
DESTROY AL-NUSRA WHICH IS THE AL QAEDA
MOVEMENT IN SYRIA” WHICH HE DID AND HATED AL QAEDA EVER SINCE
AND DROPPED THE AL QAEDA NAME AND JUST CALLED THEMSELVES
THE ISLAMIC STATE. SO THAT’S WHERE THE
ISLAMIC STATE COMES FROM. IT’S THE OLD AL QAEDA IN
IRAQ, AL-BAGHDADI THE SAME GUY WHO WAS A PART OF
ZARQAWI’S FORCES. THEY ARE NOW DROPPING THE
NAME AL QAEDA BECAUSE HE GOT IN A FIGHT WITH ZARQAWI. THE SAME TACTICS,
REMEMBER THE BEHEADINGS? YEP, THEY’RE BACK AGAIN. THEY’RE BACK AGAIN. IT’S A GOVERNMENT RUN BY TERROR. TERROR THAT INTIMIDATES
US, HIS ENEMIES BUT ALSO INTIMIDATE
HIS OWN PEOPLE. MOST OF THE BEHEADINGS
YOU DON’T KNOW ABOUT BECAUSE THEY’RE CARRIED
IN MOSUL AGAINST JUST PEOPLE, LEADERS OF THE COMMUNITY WHO
DARED TO CHALLENGE HAD HIM. VERY QUICKLY, THIS MIGHT
LOOK LIKE A SPIDER WEB BECAUSE THERE’S MOSTLY
DESERT IN THOSE REGIONS. FOLLOW THE LINES OF
TRAFFIC WHERE THERE ARE IN FACT CITIES THEY
HAVE TAKEN OVER MOST OF EASTERN SYRIA
AND WESTERN IRAQ. SO YOU NOW HAVE ACTUAL
CONTROL OF A POPULATION. NOW THE ISLAMIC STATE,
IS IT ISLAMIC? IS IT A STATE? YOU’LL SAY NO TO EITHER ONE
BUT THEY DO CONTROL TERRITORY AND THEY DO EMPOWER WITH
A KIND OF ISLAMIC IDEOLOGY WHICH MASKS A GRAB FOR POWER. YEAH, IT IS A RELIGIOUS IDEOLOGY
BUT BEHIND THE VIOLENCE, BEHIND THE KILLINGS THERE IS
AN ATTEMPT TO GAIN CONTROL, AN ATTEMPT TO TRY TO CONTROL
NOT JUST FOR THE PURPOSES OF AN IDEOLOGY BUT
FOR A SPECIFIC PEOPLE. NOW WHO ARE THE SUPPORTERS
OF ISIS? ONE IS THESE GUYS THOSE ORDINARY
SUNNIS IN AL ANBAR PROVINCE IN WESTERN PART OF IRAQ WHO
REMEMBER WERE BEING PUSHED OUT OF POWER AND THEN
THEY GOT RID OF AL QAEDA BUT THEN AL-MALIKI
DISTANCED THEM? SO OLD LEADERS OF
THE BA’ATH PARTY, OLD LEADERS OF SADDAM HUSSEIN’S
MILITIA THEY’RE NOW GIVEN A ROLE. THEY’RE NOW GIVEN A POWER. MOSUL, THE SECOND LARGEST CITY
IN IRAQ WHICH IS NOW CONTROLLED BY ISIS REALLY RUNS PRETTY WELL BECAUSE THESE OLD ADMINISTRATORS
ARE NOW IN CHARGE. NOW THESE OLD ADMINISTRATORS
AL-BAGHDADI KNOWS ARE VERY FICKLE PEOPLE. THEY FOUGHT AGAINST AL QAEDA
ONCE BUT THEY FOLLOWED AL QAEDA AND THEN THEY FOUGHT
AGAINST THEM BECAUSE OF GENERAL PETRAEUS
HE KNOWS THAT HE NEEDS TO KEEP THEM IN CHECK. HE KNOWS THAT THEY COULD
EASILY TURN AGAINST HIM. WHAT CAN HE DO TO
KEEP THEM IN CHECK? AH-HA, HE BRINGS IN THESE GUYS. CRAZY WESTERN KIDS AND
YOU’RE THINKING TO YOURSELF, I’M THINKING WHY DOES HE
EVEN WANT THESE PEOPLE? THEY’RE LOUSY SOLDIERS. I MEAN THEY’VE GOT
NO DISCIPLINE. THEY JUST WANT TO COME IN AND KILL [INAUDIBLE]
THEY’RE NOT BEHOLDING TO ANYBODY ACCEPT THEMSELVES. YES, EXACTLY, YOU’VE GOT IT. PERFECT FOR HIS PURPOSES. WHAT’S HIS PURPOSE? TO INTIMIDATE THOSE OTHER
PEOPLE THOSE OTHER SUPPORTERS TO MAKE SURE THEY DON’T STRAY. MAKE SURE THE SAME THING DOESN’T
HAPPEN WHAT HAPPENED PREVIOUSLY, AFTER THE AWAKENING. HE WANTS TO SCARE THE CRAP OUT
OF THEM TO MAKE SURE NOTHING– THEY WON’T CHANGE THEIR MIND. SO THESE POOR PEOPLE
ARE RECRUITED FROM ALL OVER THE PLACE INCLUDING
THIS GUY. BY THE WAY, JUST THIS MORNING
THEY’VE IDENTIFIED THE NAME OF THE GUY WHO’S BEEN
THE CENTRAL FIGURE IN THE BEHEADINGS. IT’S A KID WHO GREW UP IN–
A COLLEGE STUDENT IN ENGLAND, WESTMINSTER UNIVERSITY,
COMPUTER SCIENCE. HE WAS A GAMER. HE LIKED VIDEO GAMES, WANTED
TO GO KUWAIT FOR HIS CAREER. THAT DIDN’T WORK OUT. NEVER REALLY MADE IT IN
THE COMPUTER BUSINESS BUT HE NOW LIVES
OUT A COMPUTER GAME. HE LIVES OUT WARCRAFT 3 OR
WHATEVER IT IS ON STEROIDS BY HAVING THIS GREAT JIHADI WAR WHERE HE CAN NOT ONLY IMAGINE
BEHEAD SOMEBODY LIKE YOU DO IN THE VIDEO GAME, YOU
ACTUALLY REALLY DO IT. SO HE’S CARRYING OUT HIS, AS MANY OTHER WESTERN KIDS ARE
THEIR KIND OF ROMANTIC FANTASIES OF WHAT WARFARE IS
REALLY LIKE, NOT REALIZING IN MANY CASES THEY’RE
SIMPLY CANNON FODDER. BAGHDADI JUST LINES
THEM UP A DOZEN OF THEM AND SENDS THEM IN
SUICIDE ATTACK. HE’S JUST ENORMOUSLY CALLOUS ABOUT HOW HE USES
THESE YOUNG PEOPLE. IT’S A TRAGEDY. IT’S A REAL TRAGEDY
BUT THERE THEY ARE AND IRAN HOLDS THE SECRET
BECAUSE IF SUDDENLY BAGHDAD AND DAMASCUS WERE MORE OPEN
TO SUNNI POLITICS IN SUPPORT OF ISLAMIC STATE THEN ISIS WOULD
CRUMBLE LIKE A HOUSE OF CARDS. BECAUSE THESE CRAZY
WESTERNERS ARE NOT SUFFICIENT TO REALLY HOLD TOGETHER
ANY KIND OF ARMY OR STATE. YOU NEED THOSE RELIABLE
PEOPLE WHO ARE THE ONES WHO WILL EASILY TURN
AGAINST, ALREADY ARE TURNING AGAINST AL-BAGHDADI IN MOSUL AND IN OTHER PARTS
OF AL ANBAR PROVINCE. SO LET ME JUST FINISH
UP BY SAYING TRYING TO CAPTURE ALL OF THIS. WHAT DO THEY ALL HAVE IN COMMON? AS I SAID THERE IS AS I’VE
ARGUED A KIND OF NEW COLD WAR BETWEEN THE RELIGIOUS
POLITICS AND THE SECULAR STATE, AN ATTITUDE OF MISTRUST IN
PART GENERATED BY GLOBALIZATION AND THE FEELING THAT THE
WORLD IS CHANGING IN WAYS THAT CANNOT BE EASILY CONTROLLED
AND THE ROLE OF RELIGION IS ONE OF SEEING THE WORLD
IN COSMIC BATTLES AS GREAT ANALYST TURMOIL. BUT THERE’S ALSO
ANOTHER DIMENSION TO IT AND THAT’S A MORAL DIMENSION
TO THE WHOLE CRITIQUE BECAUSE IT TAPS INTO A
SENSIBILITY THAT WE ALL SHARE AND THAT IS A SENSE IN AN ARAB
GLOBALIZATION WE’RE JUST BEING MADE INTO NUMBERS. WE NO LONGER HAVE THAT SENSE OF
SOCIAL IDENTITY AND THAT CLARITY ABOUT WHO WE ARE AS A PEOPLE
AND WHERE WE COME FROM AND WHERE WE’RE GOING AND SO IN THAT CONTEXT THIS SECULAR
STATE IS SEEN NOT JUST AS A CHAMPION OF FREEDOM THE
WAY THE [INAUDIBLE] IMAGINED IT BUT AS A KIND OF PROJECT FOR
CONSUMER ADVOCACY TO MAKE US INTO FRANCHISE NUMBERS, ANOTHER
UNIT IN THE GOOGLE SEARCH FOR DIFFERENT KINDS OF
POSSIBLE MARKETING ATTACKS. YOU KNOW YOU CAN UNDERSTAND
THE APPEAL OF TRYING TO RECLAIM A SENSE OF
PERSONAL AND SPIRITUAL IDENTITY IN A WORLD THAT SEEMS
AIMED AT TRYING TO MAKE US DEVOID OF THEM. THE ARAB GLOBALIZATION THERE
ARE REALLY HAD THREE BIG ISSUES. ONE IS IDENTITY. WHO ARE WE? ONE IS ACCOUNTABILITY. WHO’S REALLY IN CHARGE WHEN EVERYTHING CAN BE
MADE EVERYTHING, EVERYWHERE AND HOW CAN WE REALLY BE SECURE? AND RELIGION PROVIDES
ANSWERS TO EACH ONE OF THOSE. IT GIVES US A SENSE OF IDENTITY. WE KNOW WHO WE ARE IF WE’RE PART OF A PARTICULAR RELIGIOUS
COMMUNITY. WE KNOW WHO’S IN CHARGE IF
WE HAVE A TRADITION OF FAITH AND A TRADITION OF LEADERSHIP
AND A TRADITION OF LAWS. WE KNOW THAT THERE’S
A SAFE HARBOR, A COMMUNITY THAT
WILL WELCOME US. SO IT’S UNDERSTANDABLE THAT
IN THIS GLOBAL TRANSFORMATION IN A TIME THAT WE’RE
BUFFETED BY THE SEAS OF CHANGE THAT THE SAFE HARBOR
RELIGION WOULD BE APPEALING, SO IT IS TRUE THAT
RELIGION BECOMES A PART OF THE DESTRUCTIVE
AND DANGEROUS ASPECTS OF HUMAN EXISTENCE IN THIS TIME. IT’S RETURN TO PUBLIC
LIFE IN A VENGEANCE. RELIGION IS A PART OF
THE HARM OF PUBLIC LIFE BUT IT’S ALSO A PART OF THE HOPE BECAUSE THE MORAL
CRITIQUE GIVES US A SENSE OF HOW WE MIGHT REDEEM
OURSELVES IN THE FUTURE. YOU’VE BEEN VERY PATIENT. I APPRECIATE THE CONVERSATION. I HOPE WE TIME FOR A COUPLE OF
QUESTIONS BEFORE WE GO TO LUNCH.>>YES, SO FIRST LET’S
GIVE A WARM WELCOME. [APPLAUSE] THAT WAS REALLY
WONDERFUL, REALLY WONDERFUL. SO WE DO HAVE TIME FOR SOME
QUESTIONS AND WHEN YOU’RE DONE WITH THE QUESTIONS
DON’T RUN AWAY BECAUSE FEEDING ALL
OF YOU, RIGHT? SO DR. STEWART IS ACTUALLY
GETTING THE FOOD RIGHT NOW. IT’S EGYPTIAN-SAUDI FOOD. IT WILL BE ARRIVING
SOON SO DON’T LEAVE. SO I WILL LET YOU CHOOSE
WHO YOU WANT TO CALL ON. SO REMEMBER YOU ALL HEARD THIS
SPEAKER BY ASKING QUESTIONS, OKAY, SO MAKE SURE
TO HONOR THE SPEAKER. ASK A LOT OF QUESTIONS. PLEASE.>>YEAH, WHY DON’T WE
TURN ON THE LIGHTS? I’M I AFRAID NOW YOU’LL
TO SEE WHAT I LOOK LIKE.>>I THINK IF MAYBE YOU CAN MOVE
AWAY FROM THIS MAYBE IT HELPS.>>OH, OKAY, SURE. COMMENTS? QUESTIONS? THE SPEAKER IS BEING DISHONORED. YES, PLEASE.>>AS A RELIGIOUS STUDIES
SCHOLAR I’M WONDERING, HOW SHOULD I EXPLAIN TO
SOMEONE WHAT A COSMIC WAR IS? I’M THINKING SYMBOLIC, LITERAL,
[INAUDIBLE] HOW CAN I EXPLAIN IN LAYMAN’S TERMS
WHAT THAT MEANS?>>OH, THINK OF A COMPUTER
GAME IN RELIGIOUS TERMS, A GRAND CONFLICT THAT IS KIND
OF IMAGINED BETWEEN THE FORCES OF GOOD AND THE FORCES OF EVIL. IT’S JUST AS SIMPLE AS THAT. EVERY RELIGIOUS TRADITION IS
FULL OF IT SO IS LITERATURE, SO IS COMPUTER GAMES,
SO IS NATIONALISM. AFTER 9-11, THE WAR ON TERROR
KIND OF EVOKED THIS SAME KIND OF GRAND YOU’RE EITHER
WITH US OR AGAINST US. WE’RE FIGHTER FOR
CAN CHRISTENDOM. WE’RE FIGHTING FOR ALL
THE GOOD THINGS IN LIFE. EVERY WAR TO AN EXTENT HAS
IMAGES OF COSMIC WAR BEHIND IT BUT COSMIC WAR CAN BE IMAGINED
WITHOUT ACTUALLY BEING REAL AND IT CAN BE A PART OF A
MOTIVATING FORCE FOR ALL SORTS OF THINGS FOR GOOD
AS WELL AS FOR EVIL. YES.>>WHEN YOU INTERVIEWED SOME OF THESE INDIVIDUALS
DID YOU GET A SENSE OF MAYBE THEY HAD SOME KIND
OF MENTAL DISORDER OR ANY KIND OF LIKE MAYBE DISSOCIATIVE–>>NO, NOT REALLY. I DIDN’T INTERVIEW
ANYBODY I THOUGHT WAS LIKE PSYCHOPATHICALLY CRAZY,
EVEN MAHMUD ABOUHALIMA WHO HAS A WHOLE STRING
OF BLOOD BEHIND HIM. HE HAS BEEN INVOLVED IN
A WHOLE SERIES OF MURDERS YET AS I TALKED ABOUT HIM HE’S
A VERY AFFABLE GUY, FRIENDLY AND GREGARIOUS AND
EAGER TO CHARM ME. IN EVERY CASE THESE ARE PEOPLE
WHO ARE INTERESTED IN TALKING TO ME JUST AS I WAS
INTERESTED IN TALKING WITH THEM BECAUSE THEY HAD A MESSAGE TO
GET OUT, A STORY TO GET OUT. AND NOW YOU’RE SAYING, WELL THEY
TAILORED THEIR STORY TO YOU. WELL, OF COURSE BUT THAT’S OKAY. THAT’S WHAT I WAS
TRYING TO UNDERSTAND. WHAT IS THIS TAILORED STORY? TRYING TO UNDERSTAND THAT
TELLS ME A LOT ABOUT THEM. OBVIOUSLY, I’VE DONE
MY RESEARCH. I KNOW MORE ABOUT THEM. I KNOW THEIR UGLY SIDES AND
THE SIDES THAT THEY DON’T WANT TO SHARE BUT THEY’RE
MEGALOMANIACS OF COURSE, LIKE WIRATHU THE BUDDHIST MONK
I JUST RECENTLY INTERVIEWED IN BURMA. THEY’RE GRANDSTANDERS. THEY CRAVE ATTENTION BUT
PUBLIC LEADERSHIP IS FULL OF PEOPLE LIKE THAT. USUALLY THEY RUN FOR OFFICE OR
THEY BECOME CELEBRITY MINISTERS OR STAR PROFESSORS OR
SOMETHING LIKE THAT. SO I’M NOT A BIG– MAYBE IT’S
BECAUSE I’M A SOCIOLOGIST AND NOT A PSYCHOLOGIST BUT
I HAVE YET TO SEE A KIND OF TERRORIST PSYCHOLOGICAL
PATTERN, ALTHOUGH I KNOW PEOPLE
TRY TO DO THAT.>>YEAH, I MEAN I STUDY TRAUMA.>>PARDON?>>I’M A LICENSED CLINICAL
SOCIAL WORKER AND I DO A LOT OF TRAUMA WORK AND IT
SEEMS LIKE THERE’S A LOT OF DISASSOCIATION GOING ON. THERE’S A LOT OF DEREALIZATION. I MEAN THE WORLD
AROUND THEM IS NOT AS– THEY DON’T SEE THE REAL
PARTS OF THE WORLD.>>YOU’RE ABSOLUTELY RIGHT BUT DOESN’T WARFARE
DO THAT TO EVERYBODY? I MEAN IF YOU’RE A SOLDIER
AND YOU’RE FIGHTING, “AMERICAN SNIPER” MOST POPULAR– HERE I’M WATCHING THE
“SELMA” THING AND THIS IS ONE OF THE GREATEST MOVIES
AND IN THE THEATER TO WATCH “SELMA” WAS EMPTY. EVERYONE WAS PARKING TO
WATCH AMERICAN SNIPER. WHY? WELL BECAUSE
YOU’RE SEEING SOMEBODY WHO HAD DISSOCIATED HIMSELF
FROM BEGINNING WITH A KID HE HAS TO KILL BECAUSE HE THINKS HE’S
PART OF GRAND AND GREAT WAR. THAT’S THE GREAT THING, I
MEAN FROM A STRATEGIC POINT OF VIEW ABOUT COSMIC WAR. IT DOES OTHER PEOPLE. IT DOES ALIENATE THEM. I CAN’T KILL YOU IF I KNOW YOU
OR I THINK YOU ARE SOMEBODY BUT IF I THINK YOU ARE AN ENEMY
OF A SATANIC AGENT, NO PROBLEM. I CAN DISPATCH WITH
YOU IN A SECOND. SO IT PROVIDES A VERY
USEFUL SERVICE FOR SOMEBODY LIKE AL-BAGHDADI WHO WANTS TO
BUILD HIS POWER ON THE BASIS OF JUST KILLING PEOPLE
OR BOKO HARAM, AGAIN IT’S A MOVEMENT
OF POLITICAL POWER. THESE ARE MOVEMENTS
OF POLITICAL POWER. YOU SAY, OH, IT SHOWS A
CRAZY MUSLIM DOING CRAZY– NO IT DOESN’T. IT SHOWS THAT CRAZY PEOPLE
ARE TRYING TO GAIN POWER AND THEY’RE USE RELIGIOUS
BASIS FOR MOBILIZING PEOPLE AND JUSTIFYING KILLING. IT HAPPENS IN EVERY TRADITION.>>IT SEEMS THERE’S A LOT
OF LEARNED TRAUMA GOING ON.>>PARDON?>>THERE’S A LOT
OF LEARNED TRAUMA–>>LEARNED TRAUMA–
I DON’T KNOW. WHAT DOES THAT MEAN?>>I MEAN THESE ARE
PEOPLE WHO AREN’T MAYBE SO YOU’RE A YOUNG KID
AND SOMEBODY COMES IN AND SAYS THERE’S
ALL THESE PEOPLE THAT WANT TO DO HARM TO YOU. THIS IS HAPPENING
SO THERE ARE THINGS THAT AREN’T DIRECTLY HAPPENING
TO THIS PERSON BUT THEY ARE–>>OH, THAT’S A GOOD POINT. I’LL TRY TO REMEMBER THAT
PHRASE LEARNED TRAUMA. YEAH BECAUSE THAT’S
ABSOLUTELY TRUE. IT’S SOME WAY OF KIND OF TAKING
ON THE SUFFERING OF A COMMUNITY ON TO YOURSELF AND EVEN THOUGH
YOU MAY NOT HAVE EXPERIENCED IT ON BEHALF OF YOUR
COMMUNITY YOU CAN DO THIS. THE CHARLIE HEBDO INCIDENT IS
A GOOD EXAMPLE OF THAT IN PARIS WHERE THESE TWO GUYS, ALGERIAN
IMMIGRANTS AND EVERYBODY SAYS, OH THEY’RE ALGERIAN MUSLIMS. THEY’RE MUSLIMS. WELL, WAIT A SECOND, BACK UP. THEY’RE ALGERIANS. THEY ARE A PART OF
A MINORITY COMMUNITY THAT ARE IN DISTANT FRANCE. DON’T YOU THINK THERE’S
A PROBLEM THERE? YOU’VE GOT A SENSE OF ALIENATION
THAT THEY TAKE UPON THEMSELVES, A SENSE OF HUMILIATION THAT
THEY’RE COMMUNITY FEELS AS A WAY OF TRYING TO EMBOLDEN
AND EMPOWER THEM. THEY’RE KIND OF LOSERS,
A COUPLE OF GUYS THAT NEVER MADE IT IN SOCIETY. THEY’RE NOT PARTICULARLY
RELIGIOUS BUT THEY’RE NOT PARTICULARLY
ANYTHING. THAT’S THE PROBLEM. THEY THINK, AH, WE CAN GO
OUT IN A BLAZE OF GLORY. WE CAN SHOW OUR COMMUNITY THAT
WE’RE STANDING UP FOR THEM, THEY’RE SENSE OF HUMILIATION
BY GOING INTO THE OFFICES OF THIS POLITICAL SATIRE
MAGAZINE AND KILL EVERYBODY, SO IS EXACTLY WHAT
YOU’RE TALKING ABOUT. THEY ARE KIND OF ADOPTING THE
HUMILIATION OF THE COMMUNITY AS A WAY OF EMBOLDENING
THEMSELVES. FINALLY, WE ARE BIG STUFF. FINALLY WE ARE SOMEBODY. EVERYBODY THOUGHT
WE WERE NOTHING. WELL, WE’LL SHOW THEM. WE’RE SOMEBODY. IT’S LIKE THE TWO
BROTHERS WHO WERE INVOLVED IN THE BOSTON MARATHON BOMBING. AGAIN, PARTICULARLY THE
OLDER BROTHER KIND OF A LOSER AND DRUG HIS YOUNGER
BROTHER INTO THIS SENSE OF WE’LL TAKE UPON OURSELVES
THE CAUSE SO THAT WE CAN GO OUT IN A BLAZE OF GLORY. THAT’S EXACTLY WHAT
YOU’RE TALKING ABOUT. YEAH.>>I’M WONDERING WHAT YOU
KNOW ABOUT THESE RECRUITS THAT ARE EITHER AFTER THEY
GET THAT ARE RECRUITED FROM MORE PRIVILEGED
ENVIRONMENTS AND CERTAINLY FROM COUNTRIES THAT ARE VERY
UNLIKE THE COUNTRY THEY ARE GOING TO. AND ARE THEY DIFFERENT? DO YOU THINK THEIR EXPERIENCE
WILL BE DIFFERENT OR SIMILAR TO LET’S SAY RECRUITS WHO,
THE PEOPLE WHO ARE PROTECTED BY THE IDEOLOGY OF THE SANDINISTA REVOLUTION
OR OTHER REVOLUTIONS? IT JUST SEEMS LIKE IN THAT
CASE THEY HAD MORE CHANCES TO KIND OF EASE INTO IT–>>RIGHT, NO YOU’RE
ABSOLUTELY RIGHT. SOME OF THESE KIDS ARE JUST
STUNNED THAT THEY’RE SUDDENLY LIKE CANNON FODDER AND THIS IS
NOT WHAT THEY IMAGINED THEY WERE GOING TO BE DOING, SO SEVERAL OF
THEM NOW HAVE COME CRAWLING BACK TO LIKE THE UK BUT
IT’S A REAL PROBLEM. IT’S RISKY. FIRST OF ALL, IF THEY KNOW
THAT THEY’VE GONE AWOL IN IRAQ THEY’RE GOING
TO KILL THEM. THEY’LL BEHEAD THEM BEFORE
THEY GET OUT OF COUNTRY SO JUST GETTING OUT IS A HUGE
PROBLEM AND THEN STAYING ALIVE BECAUSE NOW THEY’RE TARGETED. THEY’RE WORSE. THEY BETRAYED THE FAITH BUT
YOU’RE ABSOLUTELY RIGHT. PEOPLE LIKE THIS HAVE
TOLD ABOUT WHAT LIFE IS LIKE WHICH IS PRETTY AWFUL. I MEAN IT’S LIKE FOR
A LOT OF SOLDIERS. A LOT OF IT IS JUST STANDING
AROUND WAITING FOR SOMETHING TO HAPPEN AND IT’S BORING. NOBODY KNOWS WHO’S IN CHARGE BECAUSE IT’S NOT WELL-ORGANIZED
ESPECIALLY THESE YOUNG PEOPLE. THEY’RE NOT DISCIPLINED. THEY DON’T KNOW THE LANGUAGE. THEY’RE BASICALLY
JUST BEING KEPT AROUND UNTIL THEY CAN USE
THEM AS SUICIDE ATTACKERS. IT’S JUST HORRIBLE AND SOME
OF THEM ACTUALLY CAN CATCH ON. HEY, WAIT A SECOND. I THOUGHT I WAS GOING TO BE IN
LIKE IN A VIDEO GAME RUN AROUND AND WAVING A SWORD
AND EVERYTHING BUT BY THAT TIME HOW DO THEY GET OUT? IT’S A REAL PROBLEM.>>THE GIRLS APPARENTLY ARE
BEING RECRUITED ACCORDING TO THE NEWSPAPER.>>YEAH, WELL THESE THREE
WOMEN THIS LAST WEEKEND–>>WITH PROMISES OF
FRIDGES AND MICROWAVES AND MILKSHAKE MACHINES AND I JUST CAN’T
VISUALIZE THESE HOUSES.>>THEY’RE USED AS
CONCUBINES, UNFORTUNATELY. I MEAN I HATE TO SAY
IT BUT THEY’RE ABUSED.>>I SEE SOHALA [ASSUMED
SPELLING] HAS A QUESTION THERE AND THEN WE ACTUALLY HAVE
THE FOOD ALREADY HERE. SOHALA AND THEN YOU CAN AND THEN OF COURSE DR. KORANGA
[ASSUMED SPELLING] AND THEN WE WILL STOP, OKAY?>>OKAY, LAST TWO QUESTIONS. I’M SORRY CAN’T HERE YOU. DO YOU MIND IF I
COME AROUND AND– [ INAUDIBLE QUESTION ]>>WHERE PEOPLE CAN
LIVE TOGETHER IN PEACE AND HARMONY WITH EACH OTHER? IT’S CALLED LONG BEACH. YES, OF COURSE. [ INAUDIBLE COMMENT ]>>OH SURE. I MEAN AND THAT’S OF
COURSE ONE OF THE TRAGEDIES WHERE ALL COMMUNITIES LIKE
THE YAZIDIS SUDDENLY UPROOTED OR THE COPTS IN EGYPT
AND THEY FEEL LIKE THEY NO LONGER
HAVE A PLACE AGAIN. THAT’S ONE OF THE REALLY
HORRIBLE THINGS ABOUT THIS KIND OF TRIBALIZATION THAT MAKES
ANY MINORITY COMMUNITY FEEL NOT WELCOME BUT MY HOPE IS THAT
THIS IS A TEMPORARY MOMENT IN SOCIAL TRANSFORMATION. I DON’T KNOW WHAT’S GOING
TO HAPPEN, WHAT WILL HAPPEN AFTER THE NATION STATE
BUT I THINK THAT’S PART OF WHAT’S GOING ON
THAT THE NATION STATE AS AN ARTIFACT NATIONALISM
WHICH AFTER ALL HAS ONLY BEEN AROUND SINCE THE MIDDLE OF 20TH
CENTURY, LESS THAN 100 YEARS, SO THAT’S NOT VERY
LONG IN WORLD HISTORY AND CLEARLY WE’RE TRANSITIONING INTO SOMETHING ELSE MAYBE
SOMETHING LIKE THE EU WHERE EUROPE WHICH CREATED
NATIONALISM NOW IS A TRANSNATIONAL COMMUNITY, THE EU. SO MAYBE THAT’S A
MODEL, MAYBE A KIND OF TRANSNATIONAL GLOBAL
SOCIETY, MAYBE NEW EMPIRES. I MEAN MOST OF WORLD
HISTORY PLACES, REGIONS HAVE BEEN CONTROLLED
BY EMPIRES THAT ALLOW FOR A GREAT DEAL OF
VARIETY WITHIN THEM. EMPIRES ARE REALLY A PRETTY
COOL WAY OF RUNNING SOCIETY BECAUSE THEY’RE ONLY
INTERESTED IN POWER. THEY’RE NOT TRYING TO
MAKE EVERYBODY HOMOGENOUS, THE SAME THE WAY IN
WHICH NATIONALISM DOES. THIS ENLIGHTENMENT CONCEPT
THAT WE THOUGHT WAS SO GREAT BUT IT REALLY PRIVILEGES ETHNIC
COMMUNITIES IN DOMINANT ROLES SO I’M KIND OF OPTIMISTIC BECAUSE BY NATURE
I’M AN OPTIMIST THAT THINGS WILL GET BETTER AND IN THE MEANTIME
WE SHOULD BE HAPPY THAT WE LIVE IN LONG BEACH. YES, SIR.>>THANKS VERY MUCH FOR THE
LECTURE AND FOR THE WORK THAT YOU DO AND I APPRECIATE IT. THE COMPLEXITY HERE
THAT I’M CONCERNED ABOUT AND I AM SORRY THE LADY
LEFT BECAUSE SHE TENDS TO PSYCHOLOGIZE WHAT ARE
SOMETIMES VERY STRONG POLITICAL INTERESTS AND COMPELLING
INTERESTS OF PEOPLE AND THERE’S NO EMPATHY FOR
THE PEOPLE WHO STRUGGLE FOR SELF-DETERMINATION. PEOPLE CAN ACTUALLY COMMIT AS
THE UNITED STATES DOES TERROR AND STILL BE CONSIDERED FIGHTING
FOR REAL AIMS, SO WHAT I WOULD LIKE FOR YOU TO DO IS SPEAK
TO AS YOU DO IN YOUR WRITING SO WELL, THE FACE THAT A LOT OF THESE PEOPLE ARE
VERY NORMAL PEOPLE, THAT THEY HAVE ACTUAL POLITICAL
AIMS AND THEY’RE NOT LIKE CRAZY OR SUFFERING FROM SOME KIND
OF TRAUMA OR ACTUALLY TAKING ON A FALSE– I FEEL
FOR MY WHOLE PEOPLE. I THINK JEWS DO TO. I DON’T SEE WHY I WOULD
HAVE TO JUSTIFY FEELING FOR AFRICAN PEOPLE IN
THEIR SUFFERING AND FIGHT FOR THEM EVEN THOUGH I HAVEN’T
SUFFERED WHAT THEY DID, RIGHT? SO THE COMPLEXITY YOU DO IN YOUR
WORK IF YOU COULD JUST SPEAK TO THAT I’D APPRECIATE IT.>>NO YOU JUST DID VERY
ELOQUENTLY BUT I CAN GIVE YOU A FOR INSTANCE IN THE
CASE OF ISIS. YEAH, AL-BAGHDADI IS
PRETTY MEGALOMANIA BUT–>>I’M TALKING ABOUT LIBERATION.>>BUT IN A SENSE THAT
IS A LIBERATION MOVEMENT. ALL OF THESE ORDINARY SUNNI
IRAQIS WHO FELT MARGINALIZED BY THE SHIA GOVERNMENT
THEY FOUGHT TO SUPPORT ISIS BECAUSE IT EMPOWERS
THEM AND MY SOLUTION TO THE PROBLEM IS EMPOWER THEM. SAY ALL RIGHT, YOU DO
HAVE A RIGHTEOUS CAUSE. YOU DO HAVE A REASON
FOR COMPLAINT. YOU SHOULD HAVE A
POLITICAL VOICE AND YOU HAVE TO CHANGE THE GOVERNMENT
IN BAGHDAD IN ORDER TO ALLOW THEM TO
HAVE THAT VOICE. AND OBAMA, BY THE WAY
MADE EXACTLY THAT POINT. HE SAID WE’RE NOT SENDING
ANY KIND OF SUPPORT INTO IRAQ UNLESS YOU
CHANGE THE GOVERNMENT AND MAKE THINGS MORE OPEN. AL-MALIKI HAS BEEN KICKED OUT. HE’S NOW BEEN CHANGED IN
PART BECAUSE OF U.S. PRESSURE SO I THINK THE PRESIDENT IS
PLAYING EXACTLY THE SAME ROLE SEEING THAT THERE IS A JUST
DEMAND BEHIND DISPLACEMENT.>>WHEN WE COME BACK AT SEVEN
I WANT TO MAKE A DISTINCTION BETWEEN THAT INTERNAL STRUGGLE. THINGS LIKE OCCUPATION,
INVASION, CONQUESTS. WE NEVER TALK ABOUT THAT. WE JUST TALK ABOUT
PEOPLE JUST BOMBING LIKE ONE DAY THEY JUST
FELT BAD AND BOMB. THE REALITY IS THAT
THERE’S A STRUGGLE GOING ON AND THERE’S A STRUGGLE
OF COMPELLING INTEREST THAT PEOPLE HAVE FOR
FREEDOM AND JUSTICE SO I KNOW YOU SAY
IT IN YOUR BOOK. WE THE DON’T HAVE
AS MUCH TIME HERE.>>AND YOU SAID IT
VERY ELOQUENTLY SO I’LL LET YOU HAVE
THE LAST WORD. [APPLAUSE]

1 Reply to “Religion, Terrorism and Warfare: ISIS, Islam, Christianity and Cultures in Conflict”

  1. The info you're looking for, is simply underneath the upload "Blasphemy Law!"
     https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=dW1ltTmFxio

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