Saturday, 11 January 2014

Religion and Afghani Culture

The Fruit Tells the Tree's Story

The media has picked up on the story of an Afghan girl, believed 10, who was forced by her family into becoming a suicide bomber.  Oftentimes news reports on events of this kind are untrustworthy, but at present it appears fairly well corroborated--and there are other reported instances besides.

Here is a report of the incident, with cross references to other news media as well.

Afghan Girl Believed to Be 10 Was Detained With Suicide Vest…but That’s Not the Saddest Part of the Story

An Afghan girl believed to be 10-years-old says that her brother and his friend forced her to wear a suicide vest and carry out an attack on police.  The BBC reported that the girl, named Spogmai, could be as young as eight and is the sister of a prominent Taliban commander known as Zahir.

Afghan Girl Believed to Be 10 Was Detained with Suicide Vest Her Brother Forced her to Wear
The Afghan girl Spogmai who was reported to have been given a suicide vest and led toward her target (Screenshot: YouTube)

According to Britain’s Daily Telegraph, her brother strapped her into the explosive harness and sent her across a river to her target, a border police checkpoint in Helmand province.  In an interview after the ordeal, she said that she shouted “it’s cold and I can’t cross the water.”

She said that her brother and his friend then took her home where her father beat her. Later that night, she says, she ran away from home and in the morning surrendered to police.  The Telegraph quoted local reports which suggested that the girl’s male relatives had pressured her into the terrorist act with accusations of “illicit relations” with officers. [Usually this phrase is code for having been raped. Ed.]

Border police Col Hamidullah Siddique said that the girl has asked the police not to send her home to her family due to fear of reprisals.  Siddique told NBC News, “She was crying and told border police that she was made obliged by her brother to do suicide attack on them.”  Police are now looking for her brother.  Recent media reports have documented the rising numbers of children being recruited as suicide bombers by the Taliban, including a report in the Guardian which said that often this comes “with their parents’ blessing.”
When Christians point out that Islam is a religion which is evil, with wicked fruit--thereby condemning Muhammad, the hadith, the Koran along with the entire religion--urbane Westerners demur.  They offer two rebuttals.  Such practices, we are told, are the work of extremists and don't reflect the religion as a whole, in the same way that IRA killers in Ireland did not reflect upon Roman Catholicism or Christianity  in general.  Secondly, Afghanistan is a primitive place, with a primitive culture: this story reflects the brutality of that primitivism and backwardness, not Islam.

In retort we would simply observe that those who make such a defence for Islam have blinded themselves to the deaths of thousands upon thousands of people every year at the hands of Islamic murderers--all claiming to act in the name of Allah and in accordance with the teaching of the Prophet.  They ignore this terrible reality because most of the deaths are Islamic upon Islamic.  Violence and bloodshed are not the extremist exception but the rule for Islamic believers in Islamic countries.  On the contrary it is those Islamic believers who live peaceably that are exceptional, not the norm.  The only settled peace that has occurred in Islam historically has been when the religion was so dominant, all opposition had been crushed--whether that opposition had been rival claimants to rule, or outbreaks of internecine sectarian violence.

The second apologia found amongst urbane Westerners is placing the blame upon backward living conditions and primitive cultures, rather than upon the Islamic religion.  But this begs the question: does culture shape religion, or does religion shape culture?  Almost overwhelmingly the urbane Westerners would pre-suppose that pre-existing culture shapes religion because, being secularists, religion is nothing more than a mere superstition.  A man may be afraid of a black cat, but such beliefs are silly and ephemeral: they do not address the basic realities of life, such as food, clothing, and education, which shape culture.

Religion, in other words, is powerless to shape cultures.  Thus when an Afghan sends his ten year old sister to die as a suicide bomber in the name of Allah, it has nothing really to do with his religion, but everything to do with how he cannot get enough to eat and drink, and how he has not been to school so as to be educated in more advanced liberal notions, and how he has no real job.

We in New Zealand--even the urbane secularists amongst us--know that such ratiocinations are silly, to say the least.  We know that the original Maori inhabitants of this land were cannibals (not for reasons of hunger primarily, but as a sacrament of war), slavers, and polygamists.  Maori culture was built upon such evils.  But within one generation it had all ceased.  Maori had turned away from such evils--significantly because the Gospel of Jesus Christ had been brought to them and many had believed.  The doctrines of the Christ had transformed Maori culture.  We know that religion determines culture, not the reverse.

Islam has been the dominant religion in Afghanistan for nigh on fifteen hundred years.  The fruit of Islam is evident in that place today.  It is mature fruit.  Islam is the culture; the Afghani culture is Islam.  Its fruit is evil, wicked, degenerate, rotten and despicable.  It is the religion which has produced the primitive culture, not the reverse.  Either that, or one has to concede that the Islamic religion is both irrelevant and worthless--which is where the Western secularist wants to go.  But either way, it is to be rejected and despised. 

If there is a bright lining to this evil cloud it is that we hear that many Islamic believers are deserting that perverse religion and turning to Christ as their Saviour.  The reason: they know what Islam is and how violence and oppression lie at its foundation.  Sick in heart, they have turned away from it, and have found the Saviour.  To God be the glory.  

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