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Thursday, August 23, 2007

A review of God's Warriors: Muslim Warriors

I've been watching God's Warriors for two nights now and I've been impressed with the extensive research that Christiane Amanpour has done for this massive documentary. I'd like to focus my discussion on tonight's installation, God's Muslim Warriors.

God's Muslim Warriors starts out with a brief overview on the radical group, Hizb Ut-Tahrir. Apparently Hizb Ut-Tahrir openly operates in London, impressing radical Islamist ideology upon young Muslims in hopes of creating a radical Islamist empire. This group is banned in most Middle Eastern and some European countries. Ed Hussein, a reformed radical Islamist turned activist against violent radical ideology, recounts his days in this group and what led him to cleanse his mind of these violent teachings.

As the documentary moves on to discuss Syed Qutb, the teacher/mentor/inspiration for Osama bin Laden and the birth of Al Qaeda, I found myself wondering what moves someone to enter our culture and be so alarmed by our "materialism" that they develop a deep loathing for an entire society. That deep "concern" as Qutb called it has inspired generations of Muslim radicals. His ideology has been instilled in a growing group of Americans as well. Take Adam Gadhan for instance. He is just one of a sector of American-born citizens turned radical terrorists which scare me death. I should point out here that Ms. Amanpour's documentary does not focus on Al Qaeda because they are not a religious group as she points out in her Q&A session with bloggers. And for that I am grateful because although these terrorists kill in the name of Allah, no where in the Koran does it condone their kind of violence.

Iran Hostage Crisis
As the documentary progresses, we come to discuss the Iran hostage crisis in 1979. I was just 13 years old when Iranian students stormed the American Embassy and took diplomats hostage for 440 days. I remember so clearly the day that they were all released. I watched it all take place on TV and can remember hating the image of Ayatollah Khomeini's as much as I hate Osama bin Laden and his army today. That "unprecedented act" as Amanpour calls it, felt so violent and vicious back then. I remember not understanding any of the political implications but knowing all to well that these Iranian students and Kohmeini made a laughing stock out of President Carter letting these hostages go as soon as President Regan took office.

I found the martyr portion of this piece extremely interesting since I had done extensive research on this subject two semesters ago. Imam Hussain ibn Ali, grandson of the prophet Muhammad became the first martyr when he and his entire family was killed during the Battle of Karbala in 680 CE. This battle was the very battle that is responsible for the Sunni/Shia conflict that we are now seeing played out now in Iraq's civil war. I would like to point out that there is a very clear distinction between these martyrs who would fight for their religious beliefs again and again and happily die in the name of Imam Hussain fighting this battle and radical Islamic terrorist who strap bombs on their bodies and inflict pain, horror and death on hundreds of people in the name of Allah. I am extremely please that Ms. Amanpour has taken the time to point out these distinctions.

A Useful Teaching Tool
I found myself thinking that this documentary would be a useful teaching tool in our school systems today so that our children can have a deeper understanding that this group of radical Muslims are just a small sect in a much larger population of gentle and good Muslim people. I believe if we educate our youth then we can eradicate the prejudice that I feel is rapidly growing in the West against Muslim people today.

The only criticism that I have with God's Muslim Warriors is that it focuses primarily on these radical groups and does not speak enough about the deeply religious yet respectful Muslims living peaceful and successful lives.

I do hope that you have been watching Christian Amanpour's documentary, God's Warriors. It is a very well-researched and well-produced documentary that I have found to be informative and thought-provoking. Have a wonderful evening! ~Sheryn


Sapphire said...

Sheryn thank you for the great write up on God's Muslim Warriors.
Christiane has done such a fantastic job on this series. I found the Muslim special very interesting and very intriging. I would think that after 9/11 it would be very hard to be a Muslim in the Western world, which is such a shame since the actions of a few have put such a horrible light on a large population of people. I think Christiane and CNN tried there best to show both the positive and negatives of the Muslim religion as it did with the Jewish Warriors and I assume with the Christian Warriors as well. No one in their religion is perfect, we are all human.

Again great write up Sheryn!!!!!

Purple Tie said...

Great write up. I missed this installement but hope to catch it this weekend.

Christiane does an amazing job!