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Saturday, September 27, 2014

Fear and the rhetoric of 'unprecedented' barbarity

By Mark Durie

Many leaders have been stating that the Islamic State’s actions are ‘unprecedented’, ‘extreme’, ‘unique’, or even ‘eccentric’.  Western leaders who are intervening in the Syria-Iraq conflict justify their actions by declaring the Islamic State to be uniquely evil.  In announcing military action and increased security measures, Australian Prime Ministry Tony Abbott said of the Islamic State that “To do such evil — and to revel in doing such evil — is simply unprecedented”. David Cameron stated that “ISIL is a terrorist organisation unlike those we have dealt with before.”  Barack Obama claimed “these terrorists are unique in their brutality.”

Friday, September 26, 2014

Muslims Need Truth and Love

By Mark Durie

This article first appeared in Eternity Magazine.

The past few weeks have been hard ones for Australians, not least for Australian Muslims. Various alleged plots by Islamic State supporters to slaughter Australians has Islam in the news. Even as I write, five out of ten of the “most popular” articles on The Australian’s website are about Islamic jihad and national security.

What are ordinary Australians to make of conspiracy theories aired by Muslims on the ABC’s Q&A program, implying that recent police raids were staged as a cynical act to manipulate public opinion?  Are Muslims being unfairly victimized by all these security measures?

How are we to evaluate Senator Jacqui Lambie’s claim that sharia law “obviously involves terrorism”?  Or the Prime Minister’s decision to mobilise Australia troops against the Islamic State? 

What about the Islamic State’s grandiose claim that “We will conquer your Rome, break your crosses, and enslave your women.”  Or Mr Abott’s declaration that the balance between freedom and security needs to be adjusted in favour of greater security and less freedom? 

Friday, September 5, 2014

Complexity, Truth and the Islamic State: a Response to John Azumah and Colin Chapman

Recently Lapido Media published an article of mine entitled ‘Three Choices’ and the bitter harvest of denial: How dissimulation about Islam is fuelling genocide in the Middle East.  In it I argued that Western theological illiteracy, made worse by demonstrably false statements put out by scholars, has weakened leaders’ and governments’ capacity to manage the risks associated with Islamist radicalism.  Because of this illiteracy Western leaders have had great difficulty grasping the implications of the global Islamic revival, especially its impact upon religious minorities.

I referred to three Christian scholars whose writings are examples of this problem: Miroslav Volf, Colin Chapman and John Esposito.  

Colin Chapman and John Azumah have responded to my article (see here, here, and also here), to which I am responding in my turn with this article.