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Dear Dan:

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Originally posted by Dan Lauffer:

Hence, the Church must send thousands of missionaries into these lands.
The Catholic Church hears you!

The vast majority of Muslims are in South West Asia (Pakistan, Bangladesh, Afghanistan) and Southeast Asia (Indonesia, Malaysia, and the southern islands of the Philippines). The Middle East, where most of the "radical" and "fundamentalist" Muslims are or are bred, has only about 10% of the Muslim world.

The African continent is now a "battleground" between Islam and Christianity. Based on an interview aired by "Al Jazeera" early this year, it seems Chrisitianity, led by the Catholic Church with almost 120 million Africans under her fold, IS winning more converts than Islam.

Asia IS the bigger problem. Although none of the states with overwhelming Muslim majority have fully embraced the Law of Shariah, radicalism is rising and will continue to rise. Catholic missionaries are all over the place but the immensity of the necessary work just overwhelms them.

Two cases readily come to mind as the only bright spots thus far in our struggle with Islam in Asia:

(1) The successful secession of the Republic of East Timor from Indonesia, the largest Muslim country in the world with more than 200 million adherents, after a bittterly fought civil war and 26 years of forced occupation. East Timor is around 91% Catholic.

(2) The never-ending war (spanning almost 400 years now, beginning with the Spanish colonial government in the 16th century) of attrition between the Philippine government and the secessionist Muslim Southern Philippines has simmered down a bit. Only the recent emergence of radical Islamists like the "Abu Sayyaf," with ties to bin Laden's "Al Qaida," has marred the otherwise "peaceful" co-existence of Christian and Muslim Filipinos. Muslim Filipinos remain about 5% of the 85 million population, while Catholics are about 85%.

Asia has around 110 million Catholics but 60% are concentrated in the Philippines.

Amado

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Amado,

Thanks for the information. I keep wondering if in the long run if we are consistent in our bringing voting to South Asia if we won't begin a chain reaction that will be good for the world. The worry, of course, is that whatever we touch we tend to turn pornographic. But still, if we can start a movement toward something like what Turkey has or what Lebanon had couldn't we foresee a movement away from the aggressiveness of radical Islam?

Dan L

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Dear Dan,

I think you've hit the nail on the head here.

American democracy is NOT for everyone in the world.

Many political cultures simply prefer traditional order and a strong authority that is not left up to the electorate - they don't have a tradition of being asked who they wish to be ruled by.

And the idea of voting comes across as a kind of questioning of the old ways - thus, a temptation to instability and chaos.

I believe the U.S. did it to itself when it followed a policy of ridding the Middle East of the monarchies it used to have.

What replaced those monarchies is why you are in Iraq at this moment and why your sons are dying while your businessmen are being taken hostage and are having their heads chopped off on camera.

And whatever corruption the Royal House of Saudi Arabia suffers from is NOTHING by comparison to what would happen if a republic of the religious variety is established there.

The U.S. helped topple the only sane form of government the Middle East knew and inadvertently trained the terrorists who have now set their gun-sights on the Americans and their allies, including civilians not in uniform.

Thanks!

Alex

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Well!

After a brief sojourn, I am back, and ready to argue!

But while my sentiments at first reel by some of the ideas posted, but along with the bad, comes the good.

Well, first things first. The Jihadists just shot themselves in the foot by killing Hassan, who was widely respected and liked by the muslims in the arab world and Iraq especially for the aid work she did there. So, while her death is cruel, evil, and just plain old wrong, no good came for either side from this, though the bigger hurt may be to the radicals.

But that's just what I think.

And, Mr. Dan, while the idea that Israel may win the wars against the Arab world may sound good, I don't think it's happening if we just wipe our hands of the matter. Impossible, even if Israel cuts loose with atomic bombs, because how are they supposed to colonize the newly made sheets of glass they just made? They won't do it, or, at least not on a large scale, with huge bombs and weapons.

Now, the idea of conversion holds great merit, even if the danger is great to the missionaries.

Martyrs' blood is the soil of Christianity's conversion in the early centuries, and may well earn respect among the Muslims living in the Middle East. The fact is, without the persecutions and martyring of early christians, Christianity may well be now a dead Middle Eastern religion remembered only in textbooks.

I don't think we should go there to be martyred mind you, but that if missionaries do go there in large numbers, or step up conversion, they will be in danger by those who fear and hate the Catholic Church for reasons you have above stated, and others as well, though I seem to be a bit kinder to them than many.

That's all I have to say, for now. Feel free to tear up my thoughts, and have fun doing so!

I can't learn any other way, you know. And I'm not being sarcastic.

Really!


Torn betwixt body and soul; somewhere between heaven and earth; is where the penitent but chained sinner weeps. -Errai, "Our Friend Errai", Short story I have not finished.
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M,

I was only suggesting one possible option. One must admit it is better than the continual murder and domination that is done in the name of Allah now.

The better options include buying no more oil from the Middle East and sending a few hundred thousand missionaries.

Dan L

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Menkalinan, I have been observing that Middle East situation for a number of years now. Sad to say, it has continued to deteriorate over time. I do recall during the original Gulf War that U.S. diplomacy was the only thing keeping Israel from attacking Iraq in retaliation for those SCUD missles being fired at it. I believe U.S. influence has been a major factor in keeping Israel from attacking some of its neighbors in other instances, as well. The hatred between the groups has increased and I don't see any major leaders in the Middle East who have the stature to negotiate peace. It looks bad, and I hope it doesn't get worse, although I expect it to do just that.

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If you were to note some of the speeches of most of the Arab leaders over the past thirty years you would know that there is no room for diplomacy. Jihad is a continual reality for I believe a majority of Muslims in the area. It has been declared and acted upon over and over again.

Alex,

Jihad has been a way of life for Islam for many many centuries before America ever existed. There is very little reason to believe that we had anything to do with exacerbating the situation nor that we will have much to do with making it go away.

Dan L

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Quote
Originally posted by Dan Lauffer:
If you were to note some of the speeches of most of the Arab leaders over the past thirty years you would know that there is no room for diplomacy. Jihad is a continual reality for I believe a majority of Muslims in the area. It has been declared and acted upon over and over again.

Alex,

Jihad has been a way of life for Islam for many many centuries before America ever existed. There is very little reason to believe that we had anything to do with exacerbating the situation nor that we will have much to do with making it go away.

Dan L
I heard something awhile back that said Westerners don't really understand Middle Eastern history. We think historically of the glittering Islamic civilizations that once existed, but they were not in Saudi Arabia and the near areas. Perhaps in Persia and Turkey, but not Saudi Arabia. According to the commentator, the folks in Saudi Arabia were like the poor, backward cousins of Islam, until the oil boom. Now they have money. The commentator was getting at the fact that the brand of Islam practiced there doesn't reflect the glories of the past. Also mentioned was that the Palestinians in the 50s and near times were educated, refined and peaceful. When Arafat and his thugs arrived, things changed until now they are hopelessly fragmented into warring groups. He was indicating that peace might have been more of a possiblity before Arafat ruined things. Interesting, but a lot of speculation.

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But Alex- It is precisely the Saudis who introduced the Wahabbi version of Islam to the Arab world and then proceeded to promote it with the financing of countless mosques and religious schools throughout the world.
Militant Islamist thought is sort of like if the radical violent anabaptists had taken off in the 16th century and proceeded to become a major force in Christianity. There have been more cultured and tolerant Islamic civilizations, but the fastest growing Muslim faction is the Wahabbist- rooted Jihadists.
From their point of view the jihad is defensive; American policy for the last half century has supported Israel, has supported India [a polygamist nation with an anti-Islamic policy], has supported China and Russia in their suppression of their Islamic minorities.
The US constantly reinforces this perception by its acts...
I don't know what the solution is , but I know that it is not in parroting the party line that "they hate us because we are free". Nonsense; they hate us because of what we do, and because we export a corrupt "culture": an imperialistic pornocracy intent on devouring their children, with the abortuary in its wake.
And please note that Arafat was far from an Islamist; he was of the old school of the leftist revolutionary movement. The jihadists had no use for him.
And Dan- could you possibly bury your head any further in the sand? Just wondering...
-Daniel

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I simply do not understand why anyone in the middle east (or anywhere else for that matter) would trust the US at all when we speak of "freedom."

What about the democratically elected governments overthrown by the US?

Freedom and democracy? More like, freedom and democracy only if the US approves of their choice.

Maybe the Iranians hate us because we overthrew their democractically elected government in the 1950's and forced them to endure 20 years of a brutal dictatorship?

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I know how to interpret it.

If everyone is so unhappy with America there are plenty of other nations to live in.

I am still waiting to see the Hollywood exodous they are promising.

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Pani,

Again I find you amazingly wise.

Daniel,

Thanks for your kind words. They are as insightful as always.

Dan L

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Quote
Originally posted by Jennifer:
What about the democratically elected governments overthrown by the US?

Freedom and democracy? More like, freedom and democracy only if the US approves of their choice.
As in Bosnia, do you mean? Look at the help we've given to Sudan and Rwanda.

Serious, American foreign policy has not always been helpful. Nevertheless, Muslim military aggression has been around since 627 beginning with massacres of entire villages. Hitler and Stalin added to the problems of the Middle East but they used what was already there. Geopolitics is a cynical business all around but don't make out the Muslims and Arabs to be innocent.

I wonder if someone would start a post with some practical suggestions of a Christian nature that might help matters to get better? I've offered a couple. Here's your chance to improve on my suggestions, Jennifer.

Dan L

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Quote
I heard something awhile back that said Westerners don't really understand Middle Eastern history. We think historically of the glittering Islamic civilizations that once existed, but they were not in Saudi Arabia and the near areas. Perhaps in Persia and Turkey, but not Saudi Arabia. According to the commentator, the folks in Saudi Arabia were like the poor, backward cousins of Islam, until the oil boom. Now they have money. The commentator was getting at the fact that the brand of Islam practiced there doesn't reflect the glories of the past. Also mentioned was that the Palestinians in the 50s and near times were educated, refined and peaceful. When Arafat and his thugs arrived, things changed until now they are hopelessly fragmented into warring groups. He was indicating that peace might have been more of a possiblity before Arafat ruined things. Interesting, but a lot of speculation. [/QB]
Stephen Schwartz has pointed this out. Could this be the author? I stubbornly cling to the belief that if we could stop buying oil from the Middle East we might well seem some positive movement in Israeli-Palestinian relations. I may be dreaming but if the Radicals weren't propped up by Wahabbist money they would go home. Palestine has been a pawn in these groups' and countries' hands for as long as I can remember. Without oil which is a source of "Shirk" (idolatry) all over the world there might actually be some possibility for serious movements toward at least a limited peace. In the ancient world besides Muslim ideology what drove Jihad were swords and military strategy. Now it's oil. Cut off the oil and people may call for Jihad but will not be able to do much. Israel stands in the way of domination. It sticks in the craw of many Muslims because they claim all fay lands as their own. If they've once conquored it they believe they own it and the people in it. Jews and Christians have been dominated and humiliated throughout the Middle East for centuries. Finally, Jews have arisen and said "enough", "never again." We should follow their example. Cut off the fuel for "shirk" and "shirk" gets less dangerous.

Dan L

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Dan, that's a great idea. Cut off the oil money and the Muslim capacity for mischief diminishes. But I don't remember any U.S. administration seriously looking for alternative fuels to end oil dependence. The Carter administration did fund energy research, but much of that funding went to the national labs and research universities. I don't think there was much in the way of results from either. It seems there is no real incentive for the private sector to produce alternative fuels either.

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