Tuesday, March 14, 2006

Islam is a Tool

Islam is a big religion, it is complex and I do not understand the half of it. But it is not needed to understand the religion to see how it is used. Islam is being used as a tool of connection.

I have not attempted to read the Koran (I do not read Arabic for starters). I have not read a translation of the Koran. I am in almost total blissful ignorance of what the word of God is. There are however millions of people who have read the Koran or its translation and they all seem to have different opinions about it. It is my contention that Islam’s actual nature is irrelevant. It is a big and complex religion that is enough to make it useful. Islam provides a brotherhood of community, umma, between all Muslims. It serves to direct grievance externally.

The people who pay for all the best madrassa and schools of Islam are Kings and dictatiors of the Muslim world, some of the most insanely rich people on the planet. They gain this wealth mostly by selling the resources of their countries to the outside world. They are infamously debauchees, fornicators and inobservant Muslims, but they are Muslims. The brotherhood bestowed by the religion is used to maintain their power, by making them appear as a brother to those they oppress. Islam is employed to keep Muslims under control and maintain the power of the kings and dictators.

The modern wahabist Islam teaches the importance of keeping pure faith strong against outside influence. That Islam is the cure for all problems, if Islam can be made strong enough then the world will be made right. Teaching that all that stands between Muslims and perfect happiness are unislamic influences.

This is most useful in keeping the peasants in line. When a peasant looks upon his life and sees that he is poor with little chance of becoming rich Islam teaches him that he is part of a greater family that cares for him. It also teaches that his troubles are due to stress being placed upon this family by outsiders. Islam shows the clear path of responsibility is to protect the umma. The preachers who tell him this are paid for by the King, who is as far from being poor as it is possible to get. The King has no intention of improving the life of the peasant; there is no reason for the King to do so. Couple this strengthened faith directing grievance towards external oppression with an efficient internal police network and all the Kingdoms trouble makers can be redirected or crushed.

A big problem for the King is that if the peasants manage to flee outside the limits of his control. Such ex-peasants may be poor, but in their new circumstances they also see ways of making themselves richer. If they become rich, improving their lot whilst living among outsiders they may start to question the whole "it is outsiders, pushing us down" meme. They may start to question the role of the King in religion. To counter this, the Kings export religion - sending preachers of prestige to mosques and fine teachers to madrassa the world over - to maintain a sense of religious brotherhood. They also fund violent groups to provide an outlet for the fervent believers generated by their religion and to scare back into line any who question their religion and to turn the outsiders against the Muslims in their midst.

Thus Islam is used to serve the kings and dictators of the Muslim world.