Separating the Political from the Spiritual

The best reason to believe that we can all get along I found in a comment in the Globe and Mail to an article about Canada withdrawing its fighter aircrafts from the war against Islamic State. The author, I have to assume, is Muslim because of his or her use of (peace be upon him) when mentioning the Prophet Muhammad.

Bernard Payeur

The first thing is decide if we individually want to contribute to the defeat [of] this ideology of political Islamism. If the answer is no, then retreat to our own corner and let others deal with them, and simply hope that by sending just advisors and trainers and not combatants, the political Islamists will not target Canadians anywhere.

If however there is some intent to defeat this ideology, then the approach must be multi-pronged. There is some military aspect to this simply because ISIS claims divine guidance following the path of conquest laid out by Mohammed (peace be upon him) after he arrived in Medina and proceeded to conquer and kill off the non-compliant smaller tribes around Medina.

The reason for the military aspect of this multi-pronged approach lies in the complexity of the followers of Islam itself. This is a wide and diverse religion followed by about 1.6 billion people worldwide; there will be a wide spectrum of thoughts and beliefs within such a large number of people.

What is important [is] to show that when ISIS quotes Quran and Hadith literally to show how pious and exact they are following the letter of their written scripture, wiping them off militarily by taking land away from them and decisive military defeat would be a clear signal that they do not enjoy divine support. Because Mohammed's (peace be upon him) military victories were numerous and he was successful, clearly the claim of divine guidance for a group that keeps losing battles decisively is a signal that Allah is not on their side.

However, we should make a distinction between spiritual Islam and political Islam. Followers of spiritual Islam are peaceful are indisputably good people and they tend to recognize that state and faith should be separated.

Followers of political Islam seek conversion via compulsion and do not distinguish between state and faith. To defeat political Islam, we simply have to state that our ideas are better than the Prophet's written text from 1400 years ago (and the several hundred years of the hadith written after).


1) It's a good thing that the Jews and Christians agreed to separate their faith and the state, the times when the church had a say in the running of a nation are very bad times, we had inquisitions and burning people at stakes hundreds of years ago. Over time, the faithful decided that their scriptures have to be interpreted through the lens of the passage of time and we have a good thing here.

2) This thing Voltaire said "I disagree vehemently with what you are saying, but I defend to the death your right to say it" That's the core ideal of western civilization. We stop at the incitement of violence because we believe ideas should be fought with ideas, words should be fought with words. Don't like a cartoon drawn by left wing whacko anarchists? Draw a cartoon to show how pitiful left wing whacko anarchist cartoonists are. Or do what the Catholic Church has been doing --- sue them.


February 9, 2016