In the aftermath of the barbaric and inconceivable atrocity in Paris, I am still benumbed at how an organisation, especially one supposedly with strong religious and moral credentials, could commit such an egregious act. No simplistic remedies will suffice. No strident rhetoric should serve as a pretext for intemperate action. Rather divine the essence of what drives supposedly intelligent youngsters to be radicalised to commit such heinous crimes and take appropriate action. But more importantly from a personal perspective what was the historical prelude to this shameful act.
The past week or two has witnessed a number of revolting episodes which belie the various religions’ credentials as loving humane institutions. Instead they erode confidence in religion’s ethics and cast further doubt on the role of religion as a moral ethical institution. What lamentable actions have again brought religions in disrepute?
The incident that first raised my ire occurred in Dubai last week when the father of a 20-year-old daughter watched as she drowned to death at a beach in Dubai.
What he did was to prevent the rescuers from doing their job to save his daughter’s life. When they attempted to go against his wishes, he became violent and restrained them physically. His actions kept them from getting to the young woman in time.
Main picture: (1). Rescue boats retrieving the body of drown 20 year old female in Dubai after father prevented rescuers from saving her. (2) Ahmed Burqibah, the Deputy Director of Dubai Police’s Search and Rescue Department
Statues and monuments are an integral part of history. It is the future generations which bemoan their destruction and the loss of history, albeit painful. The misplaced notion that their obliteration will erase the impact of their milieu is fallacious. The desecration of 1700 year old Buddha statues by the Taliban in Afghanistan is just one exemplar of this ill-conceived notion.
Main picture: The removal of Rhodes statue from its plinth at UCT
Vandalism by ISIS in Mosul
A contemporary example of this barbarism was the wrecking of 3000 year old artefacts by the Islamic group known as ISIS. Priceless antiquities fell to the blows of these thugs. In their quest for religious purity, one vandal proclaimed that the items were being destroyed as they promoted idolatry. One of the items dating back to the 9th century B.C., depicted a winged-bull Assyrian protective deity, ‘The Prophet ordered us to get rid of statues and relics, and his companions did the same when they conquered countries after him,’ the unidentified attackers proclaimed.
Who would have thought that a more militant and fundamentalist organisation than a-Qaeda would arise? Well it has happened. So radical that not even Al Qaeda will associate with them. ISIS or Islamic State of Iraq and Syria is adding a new dimension of chaos and instability to a region already plagued with both.
Formerly known as ISIL – The Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant – ISIS is a Sunni jihadist group in the Middle East. In its self-proclaimed status as a Caliphate, it claims religious authority over all Muslims across the world with aspirations of bringing most of the Muslim-inhabited regions of the world under its political control beginning with Iraq, Syria and other territories in the Levant region which include Jordan, Israel, Palestine, Lebanon, Cyprus and part of southern Turkey. Continue reading