Wednesday, September 07, 2005

Islamic Jihad: Educating and Spreading the Word

Radical Islam is a threat to peace and to civilization wherever it exists. Yet it appears there is a significant class of people who refuse to acknowledge this. We all have our own social networks, our own communities, and we can work most effectively within those. With regard to my own social network (please see the introduction to this blog for further background), some of our top people have posted an article on an official site that could unwittingly augment the threat from radical Islam. This was my response, which has so far been posted anonymously within the internal email channels of my social network:
This evening via email I received a message telling me about an article titled "A Distant View of 9/11," written by a devotee. That the article appears on krishna.com is notable. As far as I am aware, krishna.com is an official ISKCON project, or close enough to being one. It is not one of these websites with a disclaimer that says, "The articles published here do not necessarily represent the views of ISKCON." Considering where the article is posted, I wonder if the article somewhat reflects ISKCON's official view of the war between the West and Islam, or whether this is a harbinger of a coming ISKCON policy statement that sounds something like this article. These two possibilities worry me, and I would like to explain why.

Although the author states that he is wary of conspiracy theories, fundamentally it is a conspiracy theory he promotes. His conspiracy theory is an old and tired one at that. Anyone who is not in ISKCON and also hasn't spent the last four years in a sensory deprevation tank knows this conspiracy theory well: "Blood for Oil." The article, "A Distant View of 9/11," is perhaps more aptly named than the author intended, because if the author had been more in touch with both the old media and new media of the Internet, he might also have known that "Blood for Oil" conspiracy theories are isomorphic forms of theories embodied by slogans like "Support for Saddam." You know, Saddam Hussain? He's the one responsible for having prisoners thrown feet first into wood chippers; who tortured and killed women by having them hung upside down during their menstral periods so that their menses would stay in their bodies, ferment, and poison them; who was responsible for the slaughter tens of thousands of his own countrymen by heavy weapons and by poison gas--burying them in mass graves of the kind not seen since since tyrants like Pol Pot. You know who I'm talking about, right? Saddam and others of his ilk are the kind of people Prahlada Maharaja had in mind when he said "even saintly persons take pleasure in the killing of a scorpion or a snake." Saddam H. is just one, Osama Bin Laden is another. America and Europe say OBL downed the WTC towers, the Middle East says he did it. Heck, even OBL says he did it. Maybe OBL is a CIA mole? The conspiracy theories get weirder all the time.

There really is such a thing as a good war, and even good wars can be criticized by doubting motivations. Merely doubting motives, however, doesn't prove anything. It just means you think the other person has ill motives. The Pandavas' war on the Kauravas, although dharmic, could be recast as "Blood for Land", or "Lust for Power", or whatever other ill motive we can dream up. How about this one: "Blood for Cotton"? It would work well as a conspiracy theory for the American North's war against the South in the American Civil War. In fact, that's what some American Southerners said about the North's motives (as did some in the North). The war was over slavery--make no mistake about that. Yet no matter how good a cause might be, ill motives can always be ascribed to the persons going to war. Although some wars the U.S. has been involved in have been motivated by less than honorable motives, not all have been ill motivated. What dark ulterior motive could we ascribe to the United States's struggle against Nazi Germany and to save the Jews? And then how would we explain the more than charitable Marshal plan for the reconstruction of Germany? Ditto for the reconstruction of Japan.

Finally, if ISKCON is going to make foreign policy statements (and putting something like "A Distant View" on Krishna.com comes close), then I think a little more thought needs to go into figuring out where ISKCON stands in all of this, starting with what it stands to win or lose. What might happen if the West falls? How might that affect ISKCON? In this scenario, Europe more or less becomes an Islamic population and America loses its dominance as an economic, scientific, and military leader. It probably wouldn't be a good thing for India. India has endured for centuries Islamic invaders who happily plundered and slaughtered innocent Hindus, destroyed their temples, built mosques on the foundations of the temples they destroyed, and systematically oppressed the surviviors who would still not become Muslims. There is a mosque sitting right on top of the Sri Krishna Janmabhoomi in Mathura, where a temple to Lord Sri Krishna once stood. Let that sink in for a minute, and then think of all the hundreds and thousands of temples destroyed by Muslim invaders. And now think about how Pakistan, with Chinese assistance, developed a nuclear arsenal (to be used against "you know who"), and then also consider that both Pakistan and China have fought wars with India over its sovereign territory.

India has much to protect that is worthy of protection. Whatever the West may be, it would be in the interests of both the West and India to ally themselves against a demonstrably hostile Sino-Islamic alliance. One of the things India protects is the source of our cultural and religious heritage. Since ISKCON has a personal stake in seeing that India's territorial and cultural integrity be maintained, ISKCON also needs to lend whatever encouragement and guidance (we *are* brahmanas, right?) to those who would protect our heritage. Protecting the dhamas, the Deities, and religious culture is not a material endeavor. But if ISKCON makes policy statements that directly or indirectly support those who would destroy all that we stand for, or if ISKCON's body politic unofficially sides with those who wouldn't mind seeing devotees dead, then we might get what we deserve--up to and including annihilation.

Although ISKCON is not in the business of diplomacy and war, out of necessiity ISKCON could become an important player in the containment and destruction of Islam. Necessity would mean that ISKCON could lose an awful lot, if not itself, if it chose not to act. In the face of global Islamic Jihad, that is a possibility we have to consider. It took an alliance between the United States and the Roman Catholic Church to finally bring down the Soviet State. It may also be the case that a similar alliance of both material and spiritual resources between the West and India will be needed to reign in Islam once and for all. But then on the other hand, things may have to get worse before they get better. Perhaps Europe has to become Eurabia, and perhaps America has to get nuked into insignificance. Perhaps India has to yet again be overrun by foreign invaders, who have neither love nor sympathy for Krishna consciousness. The Muslim invaders who ruled India around the time of Sri Caitanya Mahaprabhu did not have weapons of mass destruction. If Aurangzeb had nukes, poison gas, and biological weapons like we have today, what do you think he would have done with them?

The world situation is such that even if we do not want to be involved in the nasty business of politics and war, for the sake of survival we might have to be involved anyway. That means being prepared, and the first step is to think a little more carefully about ISKCON's foreign policy.
If anyone wants to write the editors of the Krishna.com site, I encourage you to do so, as it might help them see things from a different perspective. If you do, please post your letter in the comments here, or send it to me at krishna_kirti@hotmail.com and I will post it anonymously.

p.s. I will be going on vacation and won't be back until Teusday or Wednesday of next week. I will post lots of good stuff when I return.

3 Comments:

Blogger Baron Bodissey said...

Krishna -- Off-topic, but Dymphna (inspired by a Fjordman post) has this item about the status of girls in India and other cultures: Sugar and Spice. Thought you might be interested.

7:07 PM, September 22, 2005  
Blogger daviderickson83009226 said...

This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.

8:03 AM, September 27, 2005  
Blogger gourshyam said...

Hare Krishna,
I must congratulate you for your views. I hold similar views, as a Hindu, born a brahmin and a Gaudiya Vaishnav (although not from ISKCON, from Gaudiya Math) I have always thought about the perils posed by militant Islam to India and her spiritual heritage.
Unfortunately, very few persons realize the dangerous nature of that faith which threatens to annihilate all other faiths.
Krishna devotees, in particular , are shy about that matter and seldom speak about it.

I once told some of my ISKCON friends, that you can sing the Name of Krishna in an ocean that is filled with "mayavadis", but even if half of that ocean were to get filled with Muslims, your voice may be silenced permanently.

Awareness is a must, so that we don't accept hypocrisy and imperialism that marks at least the modern form of Islam, as one with the pure faith of Krishna consciousness.

4:45 AM, January 17, 2008  

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