People wonder why "Muslims are so violent" in some parts of the world. Is that a fair assessment of Muslims, however? Does Islam teach Muslims to be violent, as some shrill voices have alleged?
Let's take just one nation, one such as Syria for an example. It is in the news a lot these days. So what about it? Why are the 'Muslims so violent' there? Let's see... Syria was once a land at peace. It was a lazy backwater of the Ottoman Empire for centuries - until the British stirred up the Arabs to revolt in World War I. After the war the British broke their promises to create an independent Arab state there.
Then they gave it to the French to run. The French oppressed the people, massacred any Arabs who revolted, and even after promising independence in 1944 they continued to massacre Syrians until finally withdrawing in 1946. Don't you think this might make the people a bit, hmmm, unsettled?
The secular Syrian government then joined in the Arab effort to stop the formation of a Euro-Jewish state in their neighborhood in 1948 and lost territory to UN supervision on account of it. Eventually some unIslamic Socialists did a military coup which solidified a secular ruling elite in their power structure.
When the Syrians were alarmed at British, French and Israeli intervention in the Suez Crisis in Egypt in 1956, they aligned with the communist Soviet Union. Socialism + Communism - we know who invented it and how it misled millions. Islam was considered a backward relic in Syria ever since independence. Muslims in the cities largely abandoned it in favor of a 'modern' lifestyle.
Then Syria lost more territory in the Six Day war (1967) and was humiliated terribly by Israel. Israel even attacked an American warship with unmarked planes hoping to get America to enter the war against the Arabs. In 1973 the Syrians and Egyptians, both led by secular socialists, launched a surprise attack on Israel, and as a result of their bumbling they both lost even more land. (The U.S. helped Israel with direct military aid and intelligence. Outside intervention.)
The secular, socialist dictator, Hafez-el Assad, with the help of Soviet ideology and aid, crushed any of his people who dared ask for freedom or justice. The executions and torture prisons multiplied. The Syrians were brutalized by one of their own, a man who hated Islam. The secular elites, led by Assad's own minority sect, the Alawiyya, were firmly in control.
When Bashar, the son of Assad came to power, it looked like he would liberalize things, but then the allure of power took hold of his soul and he began his own campaign of crushing people and their spirit. In particular, those who loved Islam suffered greatly. Activists were jailed and killed. Mosques were once again monitored, like under his father's rule. Secret police were everywhere.
Intervention by Israel in Lebanon and by Iraq in Kuwait led to a period of great instability with Israeli, American and other forces on the move. Russian and American jockeying went on unabated, just like it did during the Cold War.
Being a SECULAR leader, like most others in the Arab world, Bashar followed a long line of evil men in oppressing everyone he felt challenged him: Kurds, Sunni Muslims, democracy activists, etc. Syria became more of a hollowed-out shell.
What do you do when oppression becomes unbearable? You fight back, like George Washington and Thomas Paine. The Muslims began to try and fight for freedom once again, and sometimes the methods were unpleasant, but that is the nature of asymmetric war. Bashar continued his brutal crackdowns. The second Gulf War in Iraq alarmed Syria to no end, and the paranoia grew.
Enter Obama and Hillary. As Sec. of State, Hillary fomented 'revolutions' in the Ukraine, Georgia, Libya, Egypt and finally Syria. These revolutions, funded and directed by the U.S. unleashed chaos across the Arab world. Military governments responded with brutality. Refugees began to flee to Europe of all places. From Libya to Iraq there is currently nothing but fear, despair and ashes. Traditional Islamic culture is broken in the Middle East.
Mosques are spied upon or used as bases of revolt. Muslim people are angry and afraid. There is no hope. Regular Islamic teachings are warped in the service of resistance. Cultural practices, a haven of psychological safety, are now bundled into the teachings of Islam by the common people, even if they are opposed by Islam itself!
So then people sitting safely on their couches ask, "Why are Muslims so violent?" Imagine if the American Revolution never ended. How would Americans be today if the war lasted for fifty or sixty years or more, punctuated by periods of oppression from their own Continental Congress and invasions and humiliations from outside? Imagine an endless parade of outside intervention by foreign powers. Imagine Christianity being all but outlawed by the secular government, and camps set up for torture and execution. How would 'Christians' react after they finally had enough?
I have now summarized the history of just one Muslim country, Syria, and how it has been brutalized by NON-MUSLIM ideologies (socialism, secularism, democracy rebels, communism), outside countries and evil megalomaniacs from within - all of this done outside of any influence of Islam. So Muslims start to want to fight back in Syria, and we expect them to come with muffins and cookies to the party?
Until we truly try to understand the suffering, and the effects of evil people in the brutalizing of a nation, we cannot even envision a way out or a solution. Islam does not give permission to do atrocities and kill the innocent. We all know that. But for the people on the ground in places such as Aleppo, Kabul, Tripoli, Cairo and other places, reasoned discourse is not a thing on their minds.
It's not that 'Muslims are so violent,' rather, it's Muslims have been so brutalized, practically everywhere, that they sometimes no longer remember right from wrong. During World War II, whenever Jewish resistance fighters had the chance to kill Germans, regardless of whether or not they were Nazis, they took it. Brutality has a way of clouding the mind.
I wish Muslims around the world who were fighting for their lives would obey the rules of war, as laid out by the Prophet, which forbade the killing of innocents and all that, but until the outside ideologies, evil actors, power-hungry nations and madmen stop stoking the fires, I have little hope that the average person on the ground will be able to pause for thought and change his ways. Moral teachings must be learned in safety, or they will be ignored. Islam as a religion will need decades of peace in the Middle East to restore itself to balance.
O Allah! Help Muslims to be free, and help them to reconnect with the good teachings of our religion so we can once again be a shining example and beacon for all humanity. Ameen!