Issue 101 / September - October 2014
Never in the history of mankind has a religion been this abused and broken off from what it truly is. Yes, the list of past atrocities supposedly conducted in the name of Islam is not a short one. But the images of violence proudly released by murderers show that they are second to none in abhorrence. "Terrorism" is not sufficient to describe the brutality they unashamedly broadcast every day, a savagery that is only one step behind cannibalism. They kill, rape, crucify, behead people, plunder, abuse children ... and for easier reference and wider media coverage, they collect all of it under one name: Islam.
Who gives them the right to abuse the pure name of "Islam"? How can it be so easy to establish a self-claimed state built on blood and skulls and name it an "Islamic" State? How can such heinous murderers claim that they are establishing a state of "peace" - as the true name of Islam means? How do they expect us to think they are serving Islam as they hold black banners with the name of the Prophet in one hand and a cut-off head in the other?
There are many questions to ask: where are they getting their support from? Who is pushing them from behind and giving them the confidence to grin broadly as they slaughter a human being? Where are the arms coming from? Who is funding them? Who is giving them political and logistical support?
Islam is not being hijacked by blood-thirsty terrorists alone. There is a bigger threat that has crept up on Muslim societies for over a century, where Islam has been abused for political aspirations at the expense of its true message. When a religion is made an instrument in political rivalry, it becomes the property of the party that can best package it at rallies and debates. Such a positioning is ontologically against the nature of religion, which by definition should be appealing and welcoming to all. The seductive aspect of political activism and competition drives even pious believers to do whatever is necessary to win elections, to beat other parties, and subdue their electorates, who are heathens to be corrected and enslaved. What follows is the corruption that comes with power and fame, and which drags the new ruling elite into hypocrisy. They are now in a conflict between the need to preserve their assumed Islamic identity on the surface and the untamed carnal desires for even more power, wealth, and lust that roil beneath the surface. The former is needed to continue their legitimacy and to use it as a veil over their dirty business, while the latter has by now become a whirlpool they cannot get away from.
What is more dangerous is the fact that religion becomes a rather ceremonial cultural aspect of life. Thus, its injunctions towards good morals and virtue, and its basic tenets like belief in an omnipotent God and the judgment day, are reduced down to myth. As the lead article in this issue reads, "truth was slaughtered innumerable times; on top of that, those who slaughtered it did so for another presumed truth."
We would have rather talked about the content of the magazine in this editorial; however, the current events in the Middle East are so desperate that we felt a need to draw attention to the heartbreaking developments there. We condemn all sorts of violence, regardless of faith and race, but especially when perpetrated under the name of a heavenly religion. We hereby honor the memory of all the victims, including our colleague James Foley, and offer our condolences to their families and loved ones.