Wednesday, August 25, 2010

"They want to hand this country over to foreign terrorists."

No, that's not a TeaPartier, or a blogger, or a pundit, or a Fox news analyst. It was, in fact, Sheikh Sharif Sheikh Ahmed, the president of Somalia, speaking in response to an attack by Al Shabab rebels that killed at least 32 people, including 6 members of Parliament. This is the same group that staged the bombing in Kampala during the finals of the World Cup.

I heard the story yesterday on the Africa Today podcast from the BBC, and was struck by this quote from President Ahmed (through an interpreter (I doubt the President actually said, "these guys")):

The fact that they think of such an atrocity and attack fellow-Muslims in this holy month of Ramadan, it shows that this group has nothing to do with Islam. I call on the Somali people to be aware that these guys are not religious as they say. The group's aim also is to prevent Somalis from having peace, and they want to hand this country over to foreign terrorists.

I guess the point being that, yes, there is indeed Muslim extremism, but the victims of it are just as likely to be fellow Muslims as they are to be either Christians or Westerners. It is worth understanding the difference between Islam and Islamists, but that will require some real effort.

Believe me, I am among the ignorant. I mean, think of all the Anglican/Episcopal tribes just in the U.S. I'm sure there must be distinctions like that in the Muslim world too. I vaguely know that there is Sufi Islam...and some other kinds. Hardly a basis for making rational distinctions, much less showing any real understanding.

Oh, how it aggravates me that we--and I mean me--I have no nuances in my understanding of the world. It may be simpler that way, but it's also wildly inaccurate.


Ann said...

Hope you will sign your name on the comments at Episcopal Café next time. Thanks

LKT said...

It's strange, actually. My name got "signed" automatically up until today. I don't know why that changed. Thanks for adding it on!