Thursday, January 22, 2015

Anglicans and ISIS revisited

The destruction wrought by ISIS (or ISIL) continues, and my post comparing the religious extremism of modern Islam with our own shameful past remains one of my most visited posts. But I'm certainly not the only one to have noticed the parallel. Here is Dominic Selwood today in the Telegraph:

It can only be a good thing that people are again thinking about [Thomas] Cromwell. Because as we look to the east, to the fanaticism that is sacking the cultural and artistic heritage of other ancient societies, we can all draw the same, inevitable conclusions about religious extremism in any age, whether Christian, Muslim, Jewish, Hindu, or Buddhist. None of it is pretty. All of it is real. And we, in England, are not in some way removed from it. We only have to survey the smashed up medieval buildings the length and breadth of the country, or contemplate Cromwell’s record of public beheadings and other barbarous executions.

Here is Michael Brenden Dougherty, some time ago, in The Week:

Convert, leave, or die. That's the trio of awful options ISIS is giving to Christians in Iraq. Sadly, there's an all-too-familiar ring to this ultimatum. These were the exact options given to all Catholic clergy in Ireland when England instituted the penal laws against Catholics several hundred years ago.

There have been others too of course.

Every analogy has dis analogous elements: otherwise it would just be the same thing. It's not the same thing. But the comparison should help us understand what is happening and make us a little less smug about the superiority of the West.

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1 comment:

  1. Anonymous2:53 pm

    There's another connection that's more direct. Up until the British colonization of the Middle East, Muslims understood the Crusades as just the Christian response to the actions of Muslim leaders...little different to how English and French see their past conflicts. Once the British (and Anglicans) took over, their hatred of Catholics caused them to spread the black legend about how the Crusades were about Catholic conquest of Muslim lands and the Inquisitions were about persecuting Muslims (and Jews). These Black Legends eventually backfired since to Muslims all Christians are the same and British imperialism (and subsequently American cultural imperialism) has been tied to Christianity and has bread resentment among Muslims.

    It was only a mater of time before that resentment boiled over into something like ISIS.