19 October 2009
Quizzes, Guns, Grenades, Jihad, and Ramadan
Somalia is a violent place, and with those who remain steadfast in their determination to meet and defeat the enemies of Allah wherever they maybe found in Somalia, it would not seem that the place is going to become any more peaceful, at least not in the short-term.
Sheikh Andullahi Alhaq was presenting the prizes to a group of winners in a recent Ramadan quiz contest organized by the Al-Shabaab insurgents where he hoped that their prizes would encourage and facilitate their participation in the Jihad against Allah's enemies. So, what sort of prizes might be so encouraging and facilitating, you ask; well, for the winners it was an AK-47, two hand-grenades, an anti-tank landmine, and some office supplies. The runners-up were not quite so lucky. They received just an AK-47 and some ammunition.
The quiz was a radio broadcast and consisted of questions on science, culture, and the Al-Quran.
I always was led to believe that Ramadan was the holiest of months, a month for reflection, and in essence a jihad of its own as one resists the everyday temptations of food and other things. A quiz where the prizes are weapons to be used in violent jihad seems to run counter to what many claim Islam to be about. I am not Muslim so perhaps I am missing something with respect to my understanding of how this quiz fits into the spirit of the holiest of months.
The question in my mind is this, "How do you convince people that a religion is a religion of peace if there is a concurrent promotion of violence or violent conflict?"
This does not have to be a question exclusively directed at Muslims or Islam. It just so happens that this is the context in this case. The question could be posed equally to other religions that have used violence as a means of resolving conflict. I do not think that any religion is immune, is it?