Radicalization of Youth
Disclaimer: "The New Crusades" is a work of fiction interspersed with current events. The honour killing of Hazirah at Ball's Falls, Canada, in October 2011 did not actually happen, although there have been real cases of the radicalization of youth and of honour killings in Canada by Muslim extremists. The killing of Ramona in May 2013 also did not happen. That too was an invention of the author's creative mind. The story does, however, present some real questions when two traditions and extreme beliefs collide. As evidenced in extreme Islam, the result can be dangerous to the very identity of a country, with the radicalization of youth and actual honour killing becoming a fact in Canada.
The concept of honour killing is an interesting motive for murder, steeped in extreme Islam, as well as extreme Christianity. Neither Christianity, nor Islam, is exempt from extreme interpretations of their Holy Scriptures or their Deity, whether named God or Allah. To many minds, a Deity who is neither gracious, nor merciful would be hard to believe in. Be that as it may, the notion of honour in honour killing is a great motive for writing a murder mystery novel.
Research into the extremes of Islam and of Christianity has been arewarding task for me as an author. May it be that Christians will learn to be more respectful of other religions, because God knows, Christians, themselves, have perpretrated horrific acts during their history. May it also be that Allah-fearing Muslims can reform extreme views within Islam, so that there is more acceptance for other Faiths. We all have a lot to atone for in our individual pasts. May it be that change and kindness among all Faiths of good-will can co-exist on this planet, the only planet we have.
The three major Faiths, it seems, have been given a divine mission, often called The Great Commission, originally sprung from a good intention by God to bring Light to all peoples, but in sharing that Light with other cultures, the result has often been killings, instead of conversions, and Holy Wars and Crusades, instead of Peace. No wonder authors like Mark Twain can be cynical about the whole matter.
Jews, The Great Commission: Genesis 22:17 ".indeed I will greatly bless you, and I will greatly multiply your seed as the stars of the heavens and as the sand which is on the seashore; and your seed shall possess the gate of their enemies. 'In your seed all the nations of the earth shall be blessed, because you have obeyed My voice'."
Christians, The Great Commission: Matthew 28:19 19 "Therefore go and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit..."
Muslims, The Great Commission: "Invite to the Way of your Lord (i.e. Islam) with wisdom and fair preaching, and argue with them in a way that is better. Truly, your Lord knows best who has gone astray from His Path, and He is the Best Aware of those who are guided." [The Holy Quran, an-Nahl: 125]
1 Peter 3:15 "But in your hearts revere Christ as Lord. Always be prepared to give an answer to everyone who asks you to give the reason for the hope that you have. But do this with gentleness and respect." [NIV]
The Crusades: 1095-1291: There were 7 crusades. The crusades were a series of Holy Wars called by popes with the promise of indulgences for Christians who fought in them.
The sale of indulgences was a corrupt practice by the Catholic Church in the Middle Ages to raise money with a promise to forgive sins ahead of time! The motive behind the Holy Wars was money for the popes and plunder for the crusaders.
Both Islam and Christianity have had their own schisms, dividing sects and factions seeking power, often to the point of bloody violence among their own kind.
Joan of Arc: burned at the stake in 1431 for heresy.
Galileo Galilei (1564-1642): in 1633 Galileo was found "vehemently suspect of heresy," namely of having held the opinions that the Sun lies motionless at the centre of the universe, that the Earth is not at its centre and moves, and that one may hold and defend an opinion as probable after it has been declared contrary to Holy Scripture. He was required to "abjure, curse and detest" those opinions. He was sentenced to formal imprisonment at the pleasure of the Inquisition. On the following day this was commuted to house arrest, which he remained under for the rest of his life.
So much for science, and so much for religious power.
Muhammad [570-632]: considered by Muslims as the last prophet to mankind. Primarily worked as a merchant. Took retreats in a cave in the mountains and at the age of 40, reported that he had been visited by the angel, Gabriel, and received his first revelation from God. At age 43, he started preaching that God is One and that complete surrender to Him is the only way acceptable to God. Muhammad gathered an army of 10,000 converts and marched on the city of Medina. He united most of the Arabian Peninsula converting the various tribes to Islam. The revelations. each known as Ayah, lit. "Sign [of God]," which Muhammad received until his death form the verses of the Qur'an, regarded by Muslims as the inspired "Word of God." Christians believe their Bible is the same thing.
The Prophet left no sons who grew to adulthood, who could inherit his authority and religious power. Islam split into two main factions shortly after Muhammad's death in 632 CE with two different views on succession.
Sunni Abu Bakr was Muhammad's friend and became the first Caliph after the prophet's death. They became known as the people of tradition and unification. Sunnis are a majority in most Muslim communities.
Shiite: Others felt that the successor should come from within the prophet's own family, i.e. Ali ibn Abi Talib, his cousin and son-in-law.
Fierce rivalry and bloody fighting erupted between the two factions within short years after the Prophet's death. A sort of Holy War pitting Muslim against Muslim. The two sides not only disagreed on the question of legitimate succession but also upon the proper version of The Holy Qur'an.
"Do not take my enemy and your enemy as friends and show them no sympathy!" [Sura al-Mumtahana 60:1]
The most extreme Islamists seek to impose the totalitarian Shari'ah Law on the entire world. The Shari'ah can only be enforced in an Islamic State, which means eventually world-wide.
This novel is dedicated to all children and civilians who have been killed in all wars throughout this planet's history by militants and terrorists, of any religion or race, who have no conscience and no loving God.