I think the Muslim fundamentalists who are killing for their faith, and using it as an excuse to subjugate women, are very wrong, and doing evil. But this behavior is not unique to Islam. It has been engaged in by Christians. (And other religions, but I am discussing Christianity because it is by far the dominant religion in the U.S.)
When this subject has arisen in conversation, people will say, well yes, but the Christians were behaving like this several hundred years ago, they don't do it now.
But that is not true. The examples that come immediately to mind are Northern Ireland and Bosnia.
There was violence between Catholics and Protestants in Northern Ireland for a long time, until a little over 10 years ago. The Catholic fighters wanted a united Ireland, because they would be in the majority and have power. The Protestants want to remain part of Britain, because they are in the majority in N. Ireland.
By SHAWN POGATCHNIK
Associated Press Writer
updated 8:53 p.m. ET, Mon., Feb. 22, 2010
DUBLIN - Irish Republican Army dissidents detonated their first car bomb in nearly a decade Monday night, damaging a courthouse but injuring nobody in an attack designed to rattle Northern Ireland's peace process.
IRA dissidents opposed to Northern Ireland's 1998 peace accord had not successfully exploded a car bomb since 2001. Since then more than a dozen car bombs have failed to detonate or been intercepted by police before they could reach their targets.
The civil war in the former Yugoslavia was less than 20 years ago, where the Serbians were the aggressors against the Croats and Muslims. The "Muslims" were obviously identified by their religion, but it was rare that the media identified the religion of the Serbs and Croats. I saw a letter to the newspaper that referred to the Serbs as Hindus, and that seemed to be a common mistake. Few people were aware that the Serbs and Croats were of two Christian denominations.
The Serbs are Orthodox Christians.
The Croats are Catholic.
The feature of the Croatian and Bosnian wars that has caught the world's attention has been the Serbian expulsion of Croats, Muslims and smaller nationalities from their native areas in an effort to make the regions purely Serbian. This policy of 'ethnic cleansing' is responsible for the huge wave of Muslim refugees flooding into many European countries. The detention camps where Serbs are holding large numbers of Muslim prisoners are not, however, places of extermination in the Nazi sense. The primary Serbian goal is to remove Muslims from an area comprising about two-thirds of Bosnia so that this territory can be merged into one lump with the two autonomous Serbian regions of Croatia and Serbia proper. This will be 'Greater Serbia'.
At the same time, the Croatian army has helped Croats in Bosnia to take over much of the west of the republic that lies near Croatia's Adriatic coast. Just as the Serbs have declared an 'Independent Republic of Bosnia-Herzegovina', so the Croats have proclaimed an autonomous region of Herzeg-Bosnia with Mostar as its capital. De facto, Croatia has colluded with Serbia in carving up Bosnia, although it has escaped with much less international censure.
The real losers, then, are the Muslims, who have been left with almost no land. Both Serbs and Croats have claimed that Muslims are not a genuine nationality but are 'really' Serbs or Croats beneath their religion. Both have also claimed Bosnia-Herzegovina as part of their own historic territory. The Muslims might once have preferred to stay in a united Yugoslavia where their ethnic and religious rights were protected, but now they are locked in a struggle for their very survival.