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Fundamentalism Hates Fundamentalism

Peter Robinson, the current DUP leader and Joint First Minister in the north of Ireland, caught on camera in late 1984 during a visit to the Israel-Lebanon border while testing out an AK47 automatic assault rifle
Peter Robinson, the current DUP leader and Joint First Minister in the north of Ireland, caught on camera in late 1984 during a visit to the Israel-Lebanon border while testing out an AK47 automatic assault rifle

When religious fundamentalism combines with politics to create a cultural and societal norm that “the people” are expected to conform to it must also create enemies and victims in order to justify and propagate that norm, whether they are real or not. From the Huffington Post:

“The First Minister of Northern Ireland Peter Robinson has said he would not trust Muslims “devoted to Sharia law” and appeared to back a controversial pastor who described Islam as “heathen” and “satanic”.

Pastor McConnell of the Metropolitan Tabernacle in north Belfast is being investigated by police for the comments he made a fortnight ago at a sermon, telling the congregation “Islam is heathen, Islam is satanic, Islam is a doctrine spawned in hell.”

“Enoch Powell was a prophet, he called it that blood would flow on the streets and it has happened,” he said, referring to the famous 1968 speech.

“Fifteen years ago Britain was concerned of IRA cells right throughout the nation,” he said. “They done a deal with the IRA because they were frightened of being bombed.

“Today a new evil has arisen. There are cells of Muslims right throughout Britain, can I hear an Amen, right throughout Britain, and this nation is going to enter into a great tribulation, a great trial.”

Robinson has attended the evangelical church in the past, and told the Irish News there “isn’t an ounce of hatred in his (the pastor’s) bones” and that it was a duty of a preacher to denounce “false prophesy”.

Asked he would trust Muslims, Robinson said he would be wary of those “fully devoted to Sharia law, I wouldn’t trust them for spiritual guidance”. But he would trust a Muslim to “go down to the shops’ for him” and in other “day-to-day issues”.

Deputy First Minister Martin McGuinness of Sinn Féin said Robinson should show a better standard of tolerance.”

Perhaps we can draw some comfort from this fictional axiom?

“When religion and politics travel in the same cart, the riders believe nothing can stand in their way. Their movement becomes headlong – faster and faster and faster. They put aside all thoughts of obstacles and forget that a precipice does not show itself to the man in a blind rush until it’s too late.”

Bene Gesserit proverb.

6 comments on “Fundamentalism Hates Fundamentalism

  1. Athbhlagáladh é seo ar seachranaidhe1.

  2. Oppressive regimes need someone or something to divert the attention of the masses. The IRA yesterday, Muslims today, etc., it doesn’t matter as long as there is a common foe to whip up sentiment against.

    • Agreed. Even sectional interests in democracies can indulge in it. The success of Sinn Féin and other Left-wing parties and independents in Ireland has certain invested interests predicting the dire threat posed by the unrest of the great unwashed masses. Even predictions of “capital” fleeing the country. In the United States you have the Religious Right and their fights from school boards to state legislatures. Demonizing the other is always an easy way to tap into our inner caveman or woman.

      • Indeed, nothing like creating a bogeyman to get everyone to circle the wagons and, not coincidently, take the focus off other issues. It’s been a tried and true tactic in American politics for decades.

  3. Thank you for the proverb about religion and politics in the same cart. That’s so true it aches.

    • !בָּרוּך הַבָּא

      Thank you for the Comment. The proverb of course comes from the Sci-Fi classic “Dune” by the late Frank Herbert. I always liked it and thought it appropriate given the context.

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