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Why Islam does not prevent destructive tribalism.

Reader comment on item: The Middle East's Tribal Affliction
in response to reader comment: And perhaps, overarching all, INTOLERANCE

Submitted by Duane F (Canada), Jan 25, 2008 at 13:40

What I think Ron T and others, especially Jaladhi, fail to realize is that Islam is not simply a religion that is practiced by a lot of Tribal/Clan centric people throughout the world. Islam is, more than anything, a political philosophy for tribal people - almost a Judaism translated into Arabic, substituting Arabic historical context for the Hebrew. The most important message of Islam is, "If you stop focussing on self-destructive behaviours like intertribal warfare and raiding and focus on your common issues you will be unstoppable."

Sure enough, as Muhammad gathered followers who then stopped harassing each other they began to kick the asses of everyone around. They expanded from a dusty settlement almost due north of Mecca throughout the Arabian penninsula, the Persian Empire, the Levant, North Africa, the Iberian Penninsula, and northern India in just over a hundred years. They were a tough desert people and when their tribe became all of Islam (the Ummah) they were a force to be reckonned with.

So, Islam's most important achievement was to create a Pan-Arab or Pan-Muslim tribe. Many of the traditions within Islam are tribal in nature, as the article suggests, and predate Islam. Islam doesn't make Arabs dominate their women and try to dominate everyone who is not part of them - the fact that they are Arabs makes them do that. Islam will not prevent those behaviours because Islam is fundamentally Arabic. If Islam were to suddenly collapse you would still have tribal former Muslims acting like tribal people but with smaller tribes. Islam is the Arabic cement that holds Arabs together. Of course, not all Muslim peoples are Arab but the nature of Islam is Arabic and it makes non-Arabs Arab-like and then focusses their attentions outside at the larger Ummah.


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