The religious intolerance
The rise of religious intolerance worldwide is not a recent phenomenon. At some period or other in the history of mankind, most religions have shown intolerance to others who are not of their faith causing violence perpetrated in the name of faith. The Spaniards put to sword thousands of people in the new world when the natives would not accept the Christianity in Mexico, Peru or other countries. The invaders were always accompanied by the fanatic rabble priests of Spain who used the soldiers to intimidate or kill the locals in order to establish their brand of religion.
The Spanish inquisition was a classic example of religious intolerance when thousands of innocent people were tortured and burned at stake with the approval of Vatican in Europe and the new world. The healers, gypsies and many other simple people were put to death as heretics who had no one to defend them.
Again and again kings in Europe sent the crusading army to free Jerusalem from the Moslems and often slaughtered wholesale the Christians who were dressed like the natives there and mistaken for Moslems . The Knight Templars and other such groups formed to protect the Christians from others and fought tooth and nail to set up a Christian foothold in the Holy Land where Christ was born and was later occupied by the Moslems. Saladin and his army destroyed Jerusalem and killed its inhabitants to set up a mosque called Al Aqsa that still after centuries causes trouble between the Arabs and the Israelis.
Some knights fled to Malta to set up Christianity there but were attacked by the Turkish nababs to bring Malta under their control. Many thousands of lives were lost in the process . So the history is full of atrocities perpetrated in the name of religion by one group or other and sadly it continues even today.
If you read the history of India, you will know that the Moslem invaders from Afghanistan brought with them the Islam that they forced upon a once Hindu or Buddhist population and shed blood of thousands of innocent people just because they were Hindus and would not accept any other faith. Their temples and monasteries were reduced to rubble and wholesale massacre took place in Delhi, Nalanda and elsewhere where ancient libraries were put to torch and monks slain.
So religious intolerance is nothing new . It has just become more lethal with the rise of terror groups like ISIS, Al Shabab, Boko Haram, JI, Al Quaeda, Talibans etc. that uses indiscriminate violence to achieve their goal of spreading their brand of violent Islam the like of which has not been seen since the middle ages. While the religious intolerance was then a state sponsored activity , it has now been taken over by individual groups that raise funds through extortion, smuggling, sale of drugs made from opium in some countries and many such activities to further their agenda. There are some states that also sponsor such activity and openly support terror groups for one reason or other.
The vacuum created by the war and demise of Kaddafi , Saddam Hussain and others in the region has been filled by such terror groups that are taking over a large part of the region where they can set up their so called caliphate and practice their form of intolerant and harsh and violent Islam. Millions of people are now homeless and fleeing their homeland where they were once prosperous while their homes are being turned into rubble. Europe now has a serious refugee problem that is causing them a lot of headache.
The tragedy is purely man made and innocent people are suffering who do not support such violence and want to live in peace . I have worked in Moslem countries and in some countries like Algeria, I found them no different than the average person anywhere. Some even invited me to their homes during Id festival and others offered food, coffee and shelter from the rain when they saw that I was getting wet riding my bike.
However, the Islamic world is quite divided between the majority Sunnis and the minority Shias not to mention many others sects like the Sufis, Hazaras, Bahais etc. who tend to be moderate in their understanding of the basic tenets of Islam. It is the Sunni majority spearheaded by the Saudis who consider themselves the true believers of Mohammed and who guard two holy sites of Islam such as Mecca and Medina, spread their belief of hardline Islam throughout the world using their oil money and emissaries ,by funding the thousands of Islamic schools in many countries where they preach hate and create future Talibans or ISIS or their ardent supporters.
Then there are countries like Pakistan where a strong military and weak elected government and their eternal enmity toward India makes them a hot bed of training ground for terrorists who then go and make mayhem in India or elsewhere with the help of money from the gulf and even the United States.
Remember how Musharraf lied to the US that he did not know where Bin Laden was and he needed more money to fight the Islamists so the US kept giving him billions in arms and other war materials but Bin laden was hiding in plain sight with the knowledge and support of the Pakistan Military and the intelligence .This is just to underscore the duplicity of that country.
The fundamental thing that the civilized world fails to understand about Islam and its practitioners is that Islam recognizes no national or political border that were mostly the creations of colonial period in the middle east and elsewhere and are forcefully maintained even today because it served the interests of the colonials powers then and do so now today. This artificial division of a region by the British and other powers by drawing a line on a map and call it Saudi Arabia, Iraq or Syria has not divided the Sunnis among themselves or the Shias , rather it underscores the basic tenet of Islam that says all Muslims no matter where they live , live by the rules of Islam and not by the rules imposed on them by the governments where they live.
By this argument, it is clear to see the futility of dividing India and Pakistan into two entities because the Muslims living in these countries have more in common with each other than Hindus, Sikhs or Jains and others and will always support each other when push comes to shove as it does in Kashmir. But the British divided India after the war to serve their own interests which was to create problems on both side of India forever so that it ( India) will have to spend immense resources to keep the enemies at bay thereby slowing down the economic and military growth. This also holds true of Pakistan and hurts Pakistan more as it is poorer and has less natural resources than India .
Now let us consider the spread of Islamists in the middle East and elsewhere and see what is happening and most of all why. I agree with the writer that the West has a fundamental misunderstanding of what and whys of the Islamist movement and seems eager to punish them by bombing and giving arms to some groups to fight them in a proxy war. But the bombing has made these people more determined to carry on and it has very limited impact on their governance and mobility. It is true that most Moslems do not support ISIS and only a very small number of terrorists join them but enough in numbers to make ISIS a deadly force to reckon with by any means.
But ISIS is only a manifestation of deeper and fundamental grievance of the Muslim world against the rest who see them as “infidels” who do not believe in the teachings of Mohamed and therefore fair game as per Koran. This feeling of us vs them is more prevalent among the Moslem than what we are told by the media to believe.
Moslems feel alienated from every society they live in because of their beliefs and their readiness to fight for those beliefs in any way they can. Even the so called moderate Moslems will agree that their beliefs in Koran and its teachings are more important to them than participating in the development of democracy, human rights and gender equality to give just a few examples because all these ideas are contrary to their beliefs and therefore have no meaning for them. They are told by the mollahs in every mosque that all Moslems are their brothers no matter where they live and they have a right to practise their faith as written in Koran or as interpreted by the mollahs where the population is mostly illiterate.
This is one basic reason why Moslems fail to integrate with others no matter where they live resulting in more animosity, ghetto living as in Europe or lack of opportunities to earn a decent living due to lack of education, social skills or training that could otherwise earn them gainful employment and make their poor lives more tenable and even more agreeable. But integration has failed in Europe and it fails in America. By contrast Hindus, Sikhs and others have greater chance of integration in foreign countries because they come equipped with education and skills and less religious baggage than the Moslem and in general have a higher standard of living .They even intermarry and the next generation of such immigrants then grow up more American, British or European than their parents .
The Moslems all over the world see the Western ideas, values or behavior as exemplified by Madonna or Rihanna or others as fundamentally against what the Koran teaches and agree that Koran spells out in clear language how a woman should dress or behave for example no matter that it was written 1400 years ago when circumstances were radically different than what they are today. It is really no different that the fundamentalist Christians who still insists that all they need to learn is in the Bible so ignore
the climate change, existence of other intelligent beings in the universe etc. just because it was not mentioned in the Bible.
It is for example forbidden to earn interest in a Moslem Bank account for a Moslem .It is haram or forbidden but it does not stop the Islamic banks to lend the free money they keep to lend it to non Moslems at high interest rate. By and large all banks do it . They give you pittance for your money you keep with them and deduct hefty income tax on what they give and then loan it to borrowers at 15 to 18 % interest . Moslems do not accept usury and here Jesus agrees with them. There is a 12 year old Canadian girl who is on U tube ( you must watch her) telling how banks in Canada and US rob common people to get super rich and how wall street does it with the full approval of the US government.
Now let us consider what is the future never mind what Nostradamus wrote centuries ago .I will get to that in a minute. The crisis created by a handful of people who call themselves ISIS, Talibans or Al Nusra , Moros or JI (Indonesia) have one thing in common ( Boko Haram, Al Shabab etc. are others). They share a belief that Islam is under threat and it is their duty to protect it from the rest of the world and keep it pure and following only the dictates of Koran. They are willing to use any means including mass killings to achieve their goal of one day making the whole world bow to their demands.
But the rest of the world including many Islamic countries that have made progress in agriculture,infrastructure development, education, human rights, gender equality and universal health coverage and where all people can see and feel the progress their form of democratic government is making (in spite of corruption and low moral as well as ethical values) are not sold on this ISIS inspired Jihad. In fact they are just like any other people who want to live in peace and send their children to good schools where they can learn the essentials to cope with the modern world. They are Moslems and pray five time every day but they also see values in democracy where everyone no matter how poor has a voice and can bring about changes to make their lives better. This does not happen under Koranic dictatorship so they are well aware and do not support mindless killing in the name of religion.
So now we come to the part of Nostradamus. He has predicted that a rogue nation will rise in the Middle east that will represent the third anti Christ and will acquire weapons of mass destruction to further their ideology namely nuclear weapons and attack Europe and America . This prediction is not as far fetched as it seems. Pakistan has nuclear weapons and threatens India everyday with it but it is quite conceivable that these weapons may fall into the hands of Jihadists who are in the Pakistan army or other outfits and pass them on to this rogue nation that will them use them to advance their agenda.
Remember that Pakistan nuclear scientist Khan admitted that he sold the technology to Iran and tried to sell it to Libya and North Korea in return for huge amount of money so that he could get rich beyond belief but also due to his belief that he was helping the fundamentalists to fight against western corruption of their faith.
If such a future scenario is predicted then the result will also be predictable. The free world will not allow this rogue nation to threaten the whole world and change the world order as it stands now. People will have too much to lose and will protect what they have at any cost so they will unite against this rogue nation and destroy it or make it incapable of further mischief. In this effort India will join hands with US and Europe and other countries will fall behind this joint effort to root out the evil empire that ISIS plans to make. This will lead to the Third World War and it will last scores of years at a tremendous loss of lives on all sides but the joint will of the free world will prevail against evil as it usually does but at a tremendous costs.
I think the good always wins against evil in the long run but this war will devastate certain parts of the world and will bring death and untold misery and grief just like the last war and people everywhere will have to pay a very heavy price to defeat the purveyors of evil in the name of religion.
I hope I am not alive when that happens but I worry about the next generation because they will bear the brunt of it one way or the other.