Monday, March 14, 2011

"Prepare for holy wars"

On the margins of the dramatic events worldwide, we saw a small, seemingly insignificant news story about the Pope exonerating the Jews of killing Jesus. On the face of it, this is a rather unspectacular story in the midst of a Middle Eastern storm, with regimes collapsing and the world changing right before our eyes. The preoccupation with who’s at fault for the death of Jesus appears archaic, academic and detached. Nonetheless, this headline is especially significant precisely at this time.

The formation of Islam in the 7th Century changed the world to a situation whereby two major religions exist – Christianity and Islam. Judaism remained a small religion in terms of numbers but nonetheless important and central for other faiths too, as in their view it was their source and root.

Much has happened since then, and Jewish blood was spilled in Europe and elsewhere in the world. Some 1,300 years have passed since Islam’s emergence, and the world has shifted to political and national entities. However, global events in recent years that pertain to Islam and to

Muslim states are taking us back in many ways to the Middle Ages.The world at the time was made up of religious frameworks to a greater extent than national and political ones. Identity and belonging were mostly religious rather than geographic and territorial. The global discourse was religious and so was the tension. The wars were holy wars. (read more)