Extremists: Islam and Christianity

When Barack Obama advised assembled foreign leaders at the UN on September 29, 2015 to avoid profiling Muslims because "violent extremism is not unique to any one faith," David Cameron replied "But we have to be frank that the biggest problem we have today is the Islamist extremist violence that has given birth to ISIL, to al-Shabab, to al-Nusra, al Qaeda and so many other groups."

How does a young Christian practice his religion in an extreme way? He attempts to follow the life and commandments of Jesus Christ as recorded in the Gospels. This is a very difficult path or poverty, self-sacrifice, selfless service to the poor and sick, celibacy or monogamous marriage and even more difficult to follow, the Greatest Commandment:

Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind. This is the first and greatest commandment. And the second is like it: Love your neighbor as yourself. All the Law and the Prophets hang on these two commandments. - Matthew 22:36

How does a young Muslim practice his religion in an extreme way? He attempts to follow the commandments of Allah as recorded in the Quran and imitate the life of Muhammad as recorded in the Hadith and the Sira. This is a difficult path of violent conquest, murder and oppression - Jihad.

Jihad [fighting in Allah's Cause] is ordained for you [Muslims] though you dislike it, and it may be that you dislike a thing which is good for you and that you like a thing which is bad for you. Allah knows but you do not know. - Quran (2:216)

Until Western leaders admit the truth that Osama Bin Laden is a modern model of a man attempting to emulate the life and commandments of Muhammad they're not going to be able to solve the "problem" of Islamist extremist violence if that's even possible. Thank heavens that the majority of Muslims are not attempting to emulate Muhammad but the cat is out of the bag and any young man with a mobile phone can be instructed in "radical Islamism."

Every person living in a western democracy should read the Quran and discover the relentlessness with which non-Muslims are vilified in its pages. - Sam Harris

It's true that groups of all religions have fought wars of conquest but only within Islam is this part of the foundational commandments of the religion. It's unfortunate that relatively free societies are the ones least able to prevent minority violence. Saddam Hussein and the Ayatollah Khomeini ruthlessly suppressed dissent in their countries while putting their citizens through a terrible war that lasted a decade and killed over a million Muslims. They allowed no dissenting voices against their rule and no "terrorism" they didn't ordain.

I'm old enough to recall Buddhist extremists protesting oppression by the Catholic South Vietnamese leaders in the 1960's. They didn't burn down Catholic churches, they burnt themselves to death in public.

Burning Buddhist Monk