Bringing together non-believers
By Kennedy Karuga
I arrived home yesterday to the very terrible news that one of my family’s friends had lost a son in the blast on Moi Avenue (which, not unusually, the police commissioner tried to explain away as the result of an electrical fault). The son did not actually die in the blast. I understand he was a courier, and was on Moi Avenue on his motorcycle when the explosion happened. While trying to get away from the blast Zone, in the confusion that followed, he drove his motorcycle head-on into an oncoming lorry. He was knocked off and was dead by the time he reached the ground.
I have been following the details of yesterday’s explosion since I picked the story on Facebook, minutes after it had happened. It is an event that has put many people in dismay, and will be a talking point for quite a while. In my following it, I have been rather keen on noting where fingers are pointing. The police, the government, the Minister for Internal Security, even the President himself have been reproved by Kenyans over the tragedy. And the Al shabaab, of course, who, as of now, there is little doubt were the orchestrators. Strangely, and sadly, I have seen no fingers pointed at the actual force behind the attack: the combination of madness and false hope known as Religion.
Through this year and the last we have had a sequence of similar blasts in Nairobi, for which responsibility the Al Shabaab acknowledges. Now, the Al Shabaab, as can be deduced from its name, is an extremist, Jihadist, Islamic religious and political sect based in Somalia, and with links to Al Qaeda. For years now, it has been at war with the federal government of Somalia and has a record of atrocities and human rights violations under its belt: rape, abduction and murder of Aid workers, the suppression of rival religions, particularly Christianity, and the brutal enforcement of a strict form of Sharia law. The Al Shabaab hold all non-muslims as enemies of Islam.
The friction between Kenya and the outfit began in October, 2011, when the Kenyan government resolved to send its troops into Somalia in response to a slew of tourist kidnappings blamed on the Al Shabaab. Ever since, the Islamists have been murdering civilians in Nairobi by way of grenade attacks on peopled locations around the city. Yesterday’s attack was the first on a major Nairobi street.
As news of the attack spread on Social utilities, petitions to this or that god requesting protection from the Jihadists swamped the internet. This, of course, put me in dismay because ironically, the gods are the problem to begin with.
The Al Shabaab fight a religious war. They are radical islamists adhering to a book containing verses such as these:
“When you meet the unbelievers in the battlefield, strike off their heads, and when you have laid them low, bind your captives firmly.” Koran 47:4
“Slay them wherever ye find them and drive them out of the places whence they drove you out, for persecution is worse than slaughter.” –Koran 2:191
“Fight against them until idolatry is no more and Allah’s religion reigns supreme.” Sura 2:193
“Oh Believers, take not Christians and Jews as friends; they are friends of each other. Those of you who make them his friends is one of them. God does not guide an unjust people.” Koran 5:54
“Allah will humble the unbelievers. Allah and his apostle are free from obligations to idol-worshippers. Proclaim a woeful punishment to unbelievers.” –9:2-3
“Believers! Make war on the unbelievers around you. Let them find harshness in you.” 9:123
Those that comply are pledged a lot of posthumous rewards, including a mansion with servants and beautiful virgins for great, eternal sex.
“Those who are slain in the ways of Allah, he will never let their deeds be lost. Soon will he guide them and improve their condition, and admit them to the garden, which he has announced for them.”
“The smallest reward in heaven is an abode where there are 80000 servants and 72 wives, over which stands a dome decorated with pearls, aquamarine and ruby, as wide as the distance from al-Jabbiyah to San’a.” (from the Hadith).
“Those of the right will be on the right side. In lush orchards. Fragrant fruits. Extended shade. Abundant water. Many fruits. Never ending; never forbidden. Luxurious furnishings. We create for them mates. Never previously touched. Perfectly matched.” Koran 56: 27-40.
I have always been taken aback by religion’s glorification of virginity. But that aside, it should be clear to you by this point why I hold religion responsible for yesterday’s attack in Nairobi, and for many such attacks that have been orchestrated in the name of religion around the globe. Contrary to the defense put forward by many religious people, terrorists do not use religion to pursue their own selfish ends, religion uses them to meet its ultimate goal of proselytisation. Their actions are endorsed, encouraged and even ‘rewarded’ by their holy texts.
The killings are not a contradiction to religious principles; they are merely the logical consequence. The grenade-thrower does not do it out of malice, or for amusement. They have been convinced since childhood that unbelievers in Islam are foul, and that killing them is their duty as muslims; that it is the delight and command of the highest being in the Universe. With this attitude, what would one expect?
And this is not just restricted to Islam. The Christians are participants in faith-based violence as well. Aren’t they the ones bombing abortion clinics and killing doctors?
Religion is at the bottom of this. Religion has innocent blood on its hands. So what Kenyans, and the whole world by extension, need to do is not to petition ancient gods for help with these problems; problems for which the gods are the cause to begin with. What we need is for people to start thinking. That is about the only way the elephant in the room can be defeated.
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