Islamic Fundamentalism, Islamism and Extremism – Introduction

islamism

“The mere fact of adherence to Islam has profound political consequences.” – Daniel Pipes, In the Path of God: Islam and Political Power.

The topic  of Islamic fundamentalism, Islamism, and extremism is being widely studied, discussed, and researched in academia, in almost all the top secular Western universities, parliaments, media, and communities. Its prominence came in the wake of the Oklahoma bombings and the 9/11 incident. The rise of attacks on the West and Western tourists visiting Islamic countries and the rise of Al-Qaeda and ISIL has shown new battlefronts emerging and new generations entering into conflict because of ideologies developed from the Quran. Even within Islam, there is no consensus over these ideologies. There is no clarity and many Muslims are increasingly getting radicalized by preaching they hear from radicals invited to preach in their mosques. What makes Muslims become suicide bombers or join ISIS? What drives them and motivates them to kill people with whom they have no personal issues? What lies behind the hatred of the West in many in Islamic societies? Does an average Muslim support extremists? [Read more...]

The Maze Runner

The Maze Runner took the YA world by storm in 2009, winning the New York State Charlotte Award, the Kentucky Bluegrass The_Maze_Runner_coverAward, the Oregon Reader’s Choice Award the New Hampshire Isinglass Teen Read Award, the Missouri Truman Readers Award, the Illinois Abraham Lincoln Award , the Tennessee Volunteer State Book Award, the Arizona Grand Canyon Reader Award, the Georgia Peach Book Award , and the New Jersey Garden State Book Award. Dashner went on to write three more books in the series: The Scorch Trials, The Death Cure, and a prequel called The Kill Order.

As much as I enjoyed The Maze Runner, I grew increasingly uneasy as I read the remaining books. Please be aware there will be all kinds of spoilers as I offer some thoughts about the series.

A boy named Thomas wakes up in a village populated solely by other teenage boys. He doesn’t know who or where he is. He learns they all live in the middle of a maze that changes every day. Runners go out every morning attempting to map the maze, then return every night before mechanical monsters kill them (or at least make them wish they were dead). Somehow the maze is important, but no one knows why. [Read more...]

Honor Living: How the Moral Absolutes Elevate Human Life

Omni-Mandalay HotelOn the evening of January 1st, 2008, at approximately 7:30pm, a call came in to the Irving, TX, 911 emergency response line. A female voice came screaming onto the line, “Help me … my dad shot me and now I’m dying!”

The caller was 17-year-old Sarah Said. She and her sister Amina, 18, had been shot multiple times in a taxi cab which had been abandoned at the service entrance of the nearby Omni Mandalay hotel. Amina was incapacitated instantly, but Sarah had been able to make this one call before the ninth shot unloaded into her body silenced her voice for good. It is believed with good evidence that the girls’ father, Yaser Abdel Said, an Egyptian-born Muslim who was working as a taxi-driver at the time, is the perpetrator. The girls, both of whom had American boyfriends, had previously fled home with their mother and had been resisting his plans to “sell” them as wives to men of his choosing in Egypt. Said has not been seen since, and is wanted by the FBI. [Read more...]

Sufism – Assessment

sufi2 sufiThe main quest of Sufism is a mystical experience of God like that of Prophet Mohammed. Main line Muslims argue that the experience of Prophet Mohammed was a unique one. We as Christians think it’s a demonic experience that Prophet Mohammed had. That is exactly what he thought first, before being convinced by his first wife, Khadija, and her uncle that he actually had encountered the divine. Many Sufis are unable to articulate clearly their experience of God in their ecstatic state. It is a vague and undefined phenomenon, which they claim can only be experienced.  The fast pace of the rhythm of music at which this experience happens is not unique to Sufism. Hare Krishna devotees indulge in rhythmic chanting leading to an experience of Krishna consciousness. Many tribal religions are also involved in a similar type of worship which is regulated by rhythmic drumming and ecstasy as worship.  In Voodoo, there is rhythmic music and ecstasy, opening up to possession by spirits. Therefore this psychological phenomenon cannot be considered an encounter with the divine. None of the prophets of the Old Testament, or even Jesus, indulged in mysticism.  Moreover this practice has actually opened up people to commune with demons rather than with God. [Read more...]

The 5th Wave: I Am The Battlefield

“I may be the last one, but I am the one still standing. I am the one turning to face the faceless16101128 hunter in the woods on an abandoned highway. I am the one not running, not staying, but facing. Because if I am the last one, then I am humanity. And if this is humanity’s last war, then I am the battlefield.” – Yancey’s favorite quote from The 5th Wave

Rick Yancey’s The 5th Wave has received starred reviews in Publisher’s Weekly and Kirkus, the New York Times and Goodreads both listed it as one of the best YA books of 2013, Entertainment Weekly thinks it might be “the next big thing,” and Sony Pictures is currently in the process of bringing this book to the big screen. The much anticipated sequel, The Infinite Sea, is being released today.

The 5th Wave is an ambitious alien invasion story written for both YA and adult audiences, packing not just one but five extinction events into one book. Aliens have been waiting patiently for decades to take over east, infusing their essence into unborn babies and lying dormant until the right time for an invasion. They begin their attack with Four Waves of disasters that obliterate most of humanity. The embedded aliens manifest in their human hosts to infiltrate – and then eradicate – the remnant of humanity in a decisive 5th Wave of human/alien hybrid assassins. These Silencers have brought the sucker punch. Up to this point, humanity had feared the aliens. Now they have to fear themselves. [Read more...]