March 10, 2008

Islamic Extremism in Iraq: Change on the Horizon?

It makes sense to me that learning firsthand about the perils of religious extremism would lead one to question the merits of faith. In the United States, the long rise of Christian extremism, characterized by increased hatred and bigotry, is being followed by a resurgence of secularism and rejection of faith. As we look to the Middle East, there are encouraging signs of a similar backlash beginning among Iraqi youth. Time will tell if this trend can be sustained, but a reduced influence of religious extremism is something we can all welcome.

According to the International Herald Tribune, young Iraqis are growing tired of nearly constant immersion in violence fueled by Islamic extremism. About damn time!
After almost five years of war, many young Iraqis, exhausted by constant firsthand exposure to the violence of religious extremism, say they have grown disillusioned with religious leaders and skeptical of the faith that they preach.
Yes, after years of being caught in a civil war, provoked by an unjust and unprovoked American invasion, the young men and women who have seen their country deteriorate into chaos are starting to question what their religious leaders have been telling them. They are recognizing that Islam offers nothing but empty promises and oppression.

If Islam is to be salvaged, the extremism has to go and a significant reformation is needed. It is easy to forget that many of the reforms which forced led to a loosening hold of Christianity over the West have never occurred in the Islamic world. If the Iraqi youth are any indication, such reforms cannot come soon enough.
Atheer, a 19-year-old from a poor, heavily Shiite neighborhood in southern Baghdad, said: "The religion men are liars. Young people don't believe them. Guys my age are not interested in religion anymore."
Perhaps there is hope for reason to supplant religious delusion and the violence to which it so often leads.

H/T to Daily Atheist