All Islamists are not the same. We’ve been hearing that over and over even if, when push comes to shove it’s Islam vs. the world. As it happens, though, there is one HUGE difference between two competing factions of Islam – the Sunni and the Shiite – that dates back to the 7th century and has more to do with succession of power than it does religion. The basis for this difference is worth a review.
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Readers familiar with Christian history from, say, Charlemagne (800 A.D) to the fall of Constantinople (1453 A.D.) may recognize some of the themes here. In the case of western Christianity, it was not head of the faith that was always in question, but how to support the faith. In the case of Islam, it was all about who was going to be in power. Fascinating that the more populous group wants to hold elections, and that a major holiday on one side is the elimination of the threat to power.
One thing that the hostess from Test Tube News makes clear is that being militant, and having groups that are hell bent on jihad is normal for all Islamic regimes and followings even if there are millions of people within the billion and a half of muslims worldwide who do not espouse the workings of ISIS or Al Qaeda. If these people do not stand up and condemn the actions of the few, they are tacitly accepting of them.
In that way, yes, Islamists are all the same. It is the tribe against the world, just as Leon Uris, one of the 20th century writers who documented the times in fiction, described.
“Before I was nine I had learned the basic canon of Arab life.
It was me against my brother; me and my brother against our father;
my family against my cousins and the clan;
the clan against the tribe;
and the tribe against the world
and all of us against the infidel.”
Leon Uris, ‘The Haj’