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How does Islam connect with the past, present and future of Afghanistan?

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Presentation on theme: "How does Islam connect with the past, present and future of Afghanistan?"— Presentation transcript:

1 How does Islam connect with the past, present and future of Afghanistan?

2 What is Islam? Who is Osama Bin Laden? What is the relationship between Osama Bin Laden and Islam? Why did Osama Bin Laden declare war against the US? Why did the US invade Afghanistan?

3 When you think of a Muslim woman, what images come to mind?

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11 Muslim women are not MONOLITHIC. Muslims are not MONOLITHIC. They are not ALL THE SAME. Just like every other religion in the world, no two Muslims act, think, dress, or express their faith in the exact same way.

12 1. We must be very careful not to base our ideas in stereotypes. 2. We must be very careful about generalizations – ** Not all of a group of people do the same thing or have the same experiences. 3. We must specify what specific people we are alleging did or did not do the specific act. 4. We must work in FACTS RATHER THAN ASSUMPTIONS. If you do not evidence to back up your assumptions, then its probably not a fact.

13  Islam is a religion.  It means “to submit.” Submit to the will of God.  It was started by the Prophet Muhammad in the 7 th Century in what is now called Saudi Arabia.  Muslim means “one who submits.“  Those who follow the way to submit to the will of Allah as explained by the Prophet Muhammad as outlined by the Koran.  It describes a huge group of people who aspire to follow the tenets of Islam.

14  Islam is a _____________________.  Muslim is a ___________________. So if you meet someone who says they submit to the will of Allah, you would call him a __________. If you meet someone who says their religion is based on the prophecy of Muhammad, you would say her religion is _______________. Is the word Arab a synonym of Muslim?

15  He was born in 570 AD.  His father died before he was born.  His mother died when he was 6.  He was raised in the desert as an orphan in the care of Bedouins, nomadic african traders.  He was low in socio-economic status but highly respected as a skilled negotiator and peacemaker.  At 25 he married an older, wealthy, and powerful woman named Khaldija.  While they were married, he was totally loyal and faithful to her.

16 At some point – probably when he was about 40 years old he went out into the desert to the Mountain of Hira There he sits when he hears the voice of the Angel Gabriel who commands him to say: Proclaim! (or read!) in the name of thy Lord and Cherisher, Who created- Created man, out of a (mere) clot of congealed blood: Proclaim! And thy Lord is Most Bountiful,- He Who taught (the use of) the pen,- Taught man that which he knew not.(Surah 96:1-5)96:1-5 TRANSLATION – “Recite! Your Lord is the most Honorable One, who by the pen, taught the human being. He taught the human being what he did not know. Despite this, the human being still tends to rebel because he thinks that he is independent. However all things will return to your Lord

17  When he comes home, he’s freaking out. He thinks he might be crazy.  He tells his wife what happened. She assures him that he isn’t crazy but tells him to keep his mouth shut.  He keeps his mouth shut for 3 years but the voice of God keeps coming to him.  Finally, his wife Khaldija believes him.  SHE IS THE FIRST BELIEVER OF ISLAM.  He goes around telling everyone that he has been talking to God and God has a message for the people.

18  There is no God but God.  Human beings must submit to God at all times and in all manners.  God is upset because the people of the world have tormented and ignored the previous prophets that He sent them.  The world will end and there will be a day of judgment.

19  Moral responsibility of Man to the Creator  Resurrection of the dead  Descriptions of Paradise versus Hell  Appropriate use of natural resources  Rejection of cheating and love of wealth  Being moral in sexual life  Not killing new-born girls  Asking forgiveness for sins  Assisting those in need, etc.  Emphasized prayer  Almsgiving  Pilgrimage  Fasting  Balance between body and soul

20  The religions have a lot in common.  Muslims see Jesus as another prophet sent to people from God, just like Noah, Moses, Abraham, etc.  Both have essentially the same creation story. Much of their early versions of history are the same.  Islam is considered to be the final word from god on a continuation of messages from God including Jesus.  They are NOT spiritually in opposition to each other.

21  Unlike the Bible which was written hundreds of years after the death of Jesus by people who did not know him, Muslims main spiritual book called the Koran is considered the literal word of God which was spoken to the people through Muhammad. Each copy of the Koran is sacred.  The Koran is also not written in chronological order, it is organized from longest chapters (Surah) to shortest chapter. It is written more like spoken word than written prose.  Muhammad is not like Jesus who proclaimed to be the Son of God. Muhammad is a mortal man who hears and speaks the word of God.

22  At first he was laughed at by the community.  But then he started getting a following of people: the younger brothers and sons of great merchants, people who had failed out of favor of their tribe and the weak foreigners who lived in Mecca. --- (outcasts)  His tribe called the Quraysh (Kuraish) – initially did not really object to Muhammad – rather they called his followers “the clan of Abd al-Muttalib who speaks of things from heaven.”

23  Muhammad started railing on his tribe’s practice of worshipping who he thought were false idols rather than the one God.  And then he said he would burn the holy gathering place to the ground because he thought it was being disgraced by the worshiping of false idols.  This threatened the locals’ religion but also their FINANCES because this is where they conducted their trade and business.

24  They try to buy Muhammad off.  This society was built totally around the idea that a successful man was someone who had lots of wealth and beautiful women.  So the locals told Muhammad that he could have a great new position in the tribal elders with great trade routes and a younger, hotter wife.  Muhammad refused. It was not about money for him. He BELIEVED he was following the voice of God. And he was actually in love with his older wife.

25  They’ve “made him an offer he cannot refuse” and yet he refused.  So they ordered a hit on his life. But he gets some protection from a powerful tribal leader who supports him and his mission.  When they cannot get to him, they start killing his followers.  To be safe, some of his followers leave Mecca to establish new communities of Islam in Africa and Asia.

26  He doesn’t back down.  He keeps attacking the power establishment. This really angers the power establishment. They try to kill him and his followers.  So Muhammad is on the run. Everyone is being persecuted and starved to death. And then tragedy hits.  In 619 Muhammad’s wife, uncle and principal tribal protector die because they refused to turn Muhammad in for execution. The locals starve them to death.

27  For the next few years, Muhammad is on the run and trying to find a safe way to continue his message.  In 622 he goes to Medina to arbitrate a fight between the local Jews and local Arabs.  He solved their dispute by drafting a document called the Constitution of Medina – in which he specified the rights and responsibilities of all citizens, the relationships between the tribes and to the Jews  In fact, he adopted many Jewish traditions such as three daily prayers and fasting on Yom Kippur.

28  All the tribes welcomed him into Medina and offered him protection. Therefore all his followers moved to Medina.  This upset the Meccanites because he has found a safe haven. They then plotted to assassinate Muhammad again.  In Medina he gets many converts from the Arab tribes. This frightens the local Jewish leaders who begin taunting and attacking Muhammad too.

29  Repeatedly the Meccanites keep coming to Medina to kill him.  He has enemies from Mecca trying to kill him. He has Arab enemies in Medina and he even has Jewish enemies in Medina.  He responds by ordering his own hits on his own enemies. He’s ordering the killing Arabs and Jews who threaten him.  It’s a mess.

30  Muhammad’s main allies are the nomadic Bedouin tribes who carry goods across Asia and Africa to trade to the many different civilizations.  Muhammad was raised by these people as a child, so he relates to them.  They are also primarily responsibly for spreading Islam across Asia, Africa and eventually southern Europe.

31  For the next few years the Jews and Arabs repeatedly are at war with the Muslims. Everyone is attacking or being attacked, almost constantly.  Muhammad plans to go back to Mecca to attack but on the way he changes his mind and decides to make a peaceful trip to Mecca. This is the FIRST HAJJ or pilgrimage of peace to Mecca.  Once there he enters the city and signs a treaty called “The Pledge of Good Pleasure” which is an agreement that once a year Muhammad and his followers can come back into Mecca for a holy visit or Hajj.

32  In 630 AD – Muhammad returns with an army of 10,000 men who retake Mecca.  Other tribes and groups who were enemies of Mecca come out of the woodwork thinking they can take on Muhammad.  But they are wrong – Muhammad and his followers easily defeat the new threats. Muhammad looks invincible at this point and it reaffirms their claim at being instruments of God’s will. Plus, to go against the Muslims at this point means you are financially isolated. So…  The Arab survivors of Mecca convert.  The other tribes who challenged Muhammad and were defeated convert.  The Bedoins convert.

33 In 632 Muhammad went to Mecca and gave a famous sermon to a huge crowd where he outlines the fundamental tenants of Islam:  Belief in One God, similar to whom there is nothing.  Piety as a standard of excellence for all believers without distinction of race or class.  Sanctity of life, property and honor.  Abolition of interest on loans  Establishment of a complete system of justice and criminal law  Better treatment of women  The obligation to inherit and distribute property of deceased persons to near relatives of both sexes  Establishment of laws and guidelines for earning and spending one’s wealth to remove the possibility of accumulation of wealth in the hands of a few

34  On June 8, 632 he began experiencing head pain and died a few days later. He is buried in Medina.

35  He improved the civil order social security of his followers  He increased the strength of the family structure  He improved the life of slaves  He expanded the rights of women * Yes the men had many wives but those wives had influence and had rights (unlike contemporary Arabs) * Remember also that prior to Muhammad if a daughter was born, the father had the right to bury the baby in the sand if he had wanted a boy.  He denounced aristocratic privilege, rejected hierarchy and promoted meritocracy.  He established an alms tax to benefit the poor  MAYBE MOST IMPORTANT – MUHAMMAD UNITED DIFFERENT TRIBES/CLANS/RACES INTO A SINGLE IDENTITY

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37  The top five Muslim countries in the world include only one in the Middle East ‑ Egypt ‑ behind Indonesia, Pakistan, India and Bangladesh, in that order.  Russia has more Muslims than the populations of Libya and Jordan combined.  Germany has more Muslims than Lebanon.  China has a bigger Muslim population than Syria

38 Fatwa – A legally binding ruling Jihad – Means to Struggle Greater Jihad – the inner struggle to follow Islamic principals Outer Jihad – the outer struggle to promote Islamic principals Muslim Fundamentalist – A Muslim person believes in following a very strict, conservative interpretation of Islam.

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40 Sunna  90% of Muslims  Believe the leaders of Islam should be voted on by the people  Those leaders are just fallible human beings.  80% of people in Afghanistan are Sunni Shia  9% of Muslims  Believe the leaders of Islam should be related to the Prophet Muhammad.  Those leaders are infallible manifestations of God and perfect interpreters of the Koran Sufi  Less than 1% of Muslims  A mystical tradition

41  Bin Laden is generally believed to be a follower of Wahabism – which is an extremely conservative sub- sect of Sunnism.  His belief in Wahabism is KEY to understanding the conflict between Al Qaeda and the United States.  In order to understand the present conflict, we need to have a basic understanding of Osama Bin Laden.

42 Osama Bin Laden was born in 1957 in Saudi Arabia to a rich businessman and his 10 th wife. A couple of years after he was born his parents split and his mother remarried. He is generally related to the Saudi royal family.

43  He was raised in the Wahabi religion.  He went to the top high school, he went to college and studied economics, business, engineering and public administration.  He married four or five times and has around 26 children.  His hobbies included studying the Koran, charitable work and poetry.

44 Sayyid Qutb – A fundamentalist Muslim scholar who came to the United States in the late 1940’s to teach and study. During this visit he witnessed American culture and did not like what he saw. He published an article detailing the “problems” with American culture.

45 America is a place that is: Too materialistic Superficial Greedy Sexually promiscuous Tacky Prejudiced Selfish Devoid of faith, art or culture Corrupt = ANTI- ISLAMIC

46 He studies Qutb and others like him in the Muslim brotherhood. He becomes RADICALIZED. Meaning he is prepared to take serious, potentially violent, actions to defend what he considers to be an assault on Islam. He is prepared to defeat capitalism, socialism, pan-arabism, democracy, communism or any other ideology that threatens to distract from the strict following of Islam.

47 Bin Laden leaves college in 1979 to go to Afghanistan. The Soviet Union had invaded Afghanistan as part of their quest spread communism throughout the world. To Osama bin Laden, communism was more dangerous than even democracy because communism promoted the idea of a godless society.

48  Bin Laden used his inherited family fortune to recruit, train, arm and support Muslim fighters from around the world to defeat the Soviet Union. These fighters were called the mujahadin.  The US helped finance this effort because the downfall of the Soviet Union was their primary concern as part of the Cold War.  It is absolutely true to allege that the US help Bin Laden become more powerful and more dangerous during the late 1970’s-early 1980s. Many of the people in George W. Bush’s administration (including the Bush’s themselves) were closely tied to the Bin Laden family.

49  Part of why he joined sides with the Americans against the USSR was the US’s promises to help rebuild Afghanistan at the end of the war. But the Americans did not live up to these promises. We helped blow up the country but didn’t clean up our messes. He wanted schools, roads, and hospitals built. We only would supply bombs and guns. This confirmed Qutb’s assessment of America as a rich, greedy, dishonest and corrupt.

50 Afghanistan was left financially devastated by the war. The people had less than nothing. Many Afghans turned to the one crop that could reliably provide for their families… poppy..which becomes opium and heroin. Bin Laden was extremely angry that Afghanistan became a bastion for drug production, which he considered a threat to the practice of Islam because it distracts from submission to God.

51 1990 when Saddam Hussein invaded Kuwait, it threatened the oil riches of the Bin Ladens and the Muslim community. Bin Laden was considered a hero in Saudia Arabia at this point. He was prepared to defend his people with his army. He went to the King of Saudi Arabia and offered his services. He did not want “infidel” (un-Islamic) people defending the most holy country in Islam.

52 Bin Laden was irate. He felt hurt and rejected by his own people. For the next 20 years (and counting) Bin Laden has tried to destroy American greed, immorality and imperialism. He has traveled to many countries eventually coming back to Afghanistan where he found an ally in Mullah Muhammad Omar, the head of the Taliban.

53 Bin Laden’s Al Quada operated under a fatwa issued by Mahmud Saleem ( a self-declared leader) which said that the killing of innocent people is acceptable if it is done as part of a jihad against people threatening Islam. This fatwa only applied to Al Quada fighters. In 1998 the fatwa was extended by Bin Laden to include authorization for the killing of any North American.

54 No! Islam IS A PEACEFUL RELIGION. The Koran specifically prohibits killing innocent people. The Koran specifically requires that Muslims offer peace before starting wars. The Koran specifically prohibits spreading Islam through violence. It requires to spread Islam through ilm (knowledge) and Zagat (charity).

55 1. There are less than 10,000 out of 1.5 billion Muslims who are part of Al Qaeda. 2. Those who join are generally people who are motivated by a sense of hopelessness regarding their economic condition and anger toward people/countries who are perceived to richer, more powerful than they are. 3. Their grief, anger, hopelessness and depression is manipulated by Bin Laden.

56  We all know about the attacks on the US on 9-11, but prior to that event Al Qaeda attacked dozens of countries killing hundreds of innocent people.  Al Qaeda recruited people from around the world and trained them to kill in dozens of countries ranging from Bosnia, Sudan, Malaysia, and even the US.

57 None of the hijackers were from Afghanistan – most were Saudis. Almost all of the training for the 9-11 attacks was done in the US. Al Qaeda has bases in dozens of countries around the world. Bin Laden has never been captured there.

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59 Find evidence to answer the question… “Why did the US invade Afghanistan?” Be prepared to share what you found tomorrow at the beginning of our work group.


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