Yehuda Bauer, a professor emeritus of Hebrew University wrote a piercing analysis of the current wave of violent Islamic fundamentalists, which was run within the Jerusalem Post.
First, Bauer observes that “Islam is not a murderous religion, and Muslims are no different from Christians, Jews, Buddhists, or Confucians.” That is, though obviously there are theological differences between these religions, there is no reason to conclude that Islam is especially predisposed to become violent.
He then acknowledges that “There are…’fundamentalist’…trends in all religions. They tend to be exclusionary…fanatic in their beliefs, and try to convert everyone else…They believe in the literal interpretation and absolute truth of every word of their sacred texts.”
Interestingly, Bauer finds that radical totalitarian Islamists seem to have more in common with destructive largely anti-religious mass movements such as the Third Reich of Nazi Germany and Stalinist Communism, as opposed to more mainstream and moderate religion.
Like the Nazis and Stalinists such radical Islamists seeks to control everything and utilize scapegoats to manipulate those who follow them. They also have an absolute worldview that does not tolerate an outside frame of reference.
Bauer says that the ultimate goal of radical, totalitarian Islamists “is to conquer the world and make it Islamic,” and that ironically an important “step toward that goal is the toppling of the existing Arab national regimes.” They see such regimes as essentially shamefully willing to compromise and sinfully open to outside input.
Ultimately their vision of the world is one “ruled by Islamic religious experts,” Bauer concludes.
Like destructive cults such radicals have a rigid mindset and are frequently controlled and/or influenced by charismatic totalitarian leaders, such as Khomeni of Iran and most recently Osama bin Laden.
What Bauer exposes is that the current wave of violence promulgated by this radical and violent mass movement within Islam has no easy resolution. And it will not end through some Middle East peace accord. Even the complete destruction of Israel would not satisfy these extremists, nor is this the real nexus of their agenda.
Bauer likewise tacitly acknowledges not so hidden agenda of extremists within Israel who “under various guises” want some version of “ethnic cleansing,” which they often rationalize through religious proof -texting.
Historically, Europe eventually learned that there was no way to deal with Hitler and that appeasement was not the answer. It should also be noted that the leaders of destructive mass movements, like many cult leaders, are frequently psychopaths and not rational.
Osama bin Laden, like Hitler and other radical totalitarian types, wants nothing less than the triumph of his brand of totalism and world domination. There is no room in his worldview for meaningful diolog and/or genuine negotiation. Eeither you are with him or against him. This includes Moslems, Jews Christians or anyone else who disagrees with what he calls “Islam.”