** DISCLAIMER: The purpose of this article is not to take a stance on any religion and staying true to the motto of our site, we will not make any attempt to say whether anything is morally right or wrong. This article is for educational purposes only. **
Read almost any major source of news, in any country, and you will indubitably come across a story about religion, terrorism or the Islamic State in Iraq and Syria. Something you rarely, if ever, hear in these stories is the reasoning or rationale behind the people perpetrating these actions/events. At the core, where does it all begin? Why are so many people caught up in international conflicts?
At its core, the situation in the Middle East revolves around religious scriptures and the interpretation of what these scriptures mean in modern times. Lets start with the proliferation of the Islamic State in recent times.
You must understand that Damascus, Syria is critical to these beliefs. According to Islamic scripture, this is the place the end will begin. It is no mistake that Damascus has been decimated and Syria is suffering through one of the world worst humanitarian crises at the current moment in time – this was the plan.
Whether it is the will of God/Allah or not, the Islamic State has essentially taken scripture into their own hands and is now trying to manually create a self fulfilling prophecy for their religious beliefs – to make scripture come to life.
One thing you will not hear in the main stream media’s reporting on the matter is that the Islamic State believes that the final 7 years of Earth, before Armageddon, began in 2015. This means according to their doctrine, Islamic State fighters believe by the year 2022 the world will end.
It is estimated the total global Muslim population encompasses about 1.6 billion people, or to put in context, about 24% of the global population. By comparison the highest estimation of ISIS troops was 200,000 in 2014, this was also before the U.S. coalition increased its efforts and before Russia became involved in the region. This means that fundamentally, only about 1% of Muslims follow Islamic State fundamentalist interpretation of the Quran.
The Islamic State is not alone in believing it is the end times, according to a recent poll, 40% of Christians also believe we are living in the end times. You may not know this, but at its core the scriptures between ‘rivaling’ religious institutions is more similar then you might think. After all, the 3 Abrahamic religions do all share the same creator.
Did you know that Islam regards Jesus as a prophet, same as Muhammad? Islam simply that Muhammad was the last prophet that God/Allah/YHWH/Jehovah sent to Earth. Similarly to Christianity, Islam also believes in the return of Jesus Christ. The difference comes that when Jesus returns to Earth, Islam believes, Jesus will step forward to officially declare Islam the new religion to make peace on Earth.
What you might not know is that Revelation in Catholic scriptures is similar in many ways to the scriptures of the Quran, which also precludes an end times world battle. Christianity also believes in a final 7 years of tribulation before Armageddon. Remember what was discussed a few paragraphs ago, the stated mission of the Islamic State is to physically manifest this end times War via creating real world events. Therefore, if you apply the mission of the Islamic State and cross-reference this to Catholic scriptures you could then say that the Islamic State is trying manifest the same end days as express by Christian scripture as well.
Let us not forget that War and Islam are not entirely to blame for the Syrian/Middle Eastern conflict. It was the United States, a predominantly “Christian Country”, which first invaded and declared War in the area before the Islamic State rose to power in 2011. Now in 2016, presidential hopeful Donald Trump has all but assured a new American War effort in the region stating “I am going to bomb the shit out of them” and “kill the terrorists and their families.”
Violence is violence no matter how you want to dissect it or claim your allegiances. I argue, a United States soldier who desires to go to War and kill people is no different and no better than a Syrian soldier who desires to go to War and kill people. They are both committing the same acts and have the same destructive desires in their hearts.
Now that you understand what the Islamic State, at its core, is attempting to accomplish and the similarities between their beliefs and those of many Christians around the world, lets move on to Judaism and Israel.
You may hear the term Zionism thrown around from time to time, usually in a belligerent fashion. Though many people freely use this word in a negative way, few actually understand the history behind it and what this word actually means.
In scripture Zion is the city of heaven, the place believers all hope to one day end up – Zion is the city of God.
In ancient times Zion was the name of an area conquered by King David, today this city is known as Jerusalem and this is where the first Israeli Empire was built. At the height of its ancient prosperity the Israelite built Temple of Solomon which say atop the temple mount.
Modern people associate the name Nebuchadnezzar with a ship out of the hit move The Matric, but in world history Nebuchadnezzar was an Arab King who defeated Israeli forces in the city of Jerusalem in the 6th century BCE. In doing so he recaptured the city of David/Israel for Arab control. Nebuchadnezzar then deconstructed the temple of Solomon and forced the Jewish people off of the land.
Jewish and Christian scriptures prophesied of a return of the Israelite’s back to Jerusalem, that the Israelite’s would one day return to their city and to build a new empire. Centuries came and passed, countless wars were waged and eventually in the early 20th century a philosophical/political movement to finally return the Jewish people to their holy land began to build and grab hold – this was the beginning of what many people today call “Zionism“.
November 2, 1917 – British Foreign Secretary Arthur Balfour drafted something known as the Balfour Declaration which called for the establishment of a Jewish state in the then country of Palestine. Though many people backed this movement and supported the Balfour doctrine, the establishment of Israel would not take place for another 30 years.
We are all well aware of World War II and the atrocities endured by the Jewish people at the hands of the Nazi’s of Germany, but a piece of history seemingly forgotten is the political process which took place immediately following the conclusion of the War.For example, most young Westerners do not know that Israel and the United Nations did not exist before WWII.
Together with the Jewish community, the allied forces and the then newly formed United Nations began to conduct a series of hearings about what to do with the rebuilding effort in Europe. How should the land be divided to create new boarders, what countries should get what consideration, what punishments needed to be handed down; how should others be helped – so on and so forth.
One of the most hotly contested issues was what to do for the Jewish people, what reparations could possibly be made?
In 1947, as a result of centuries/decades of Zionist movement and in reparations for atrocities suffered by the Jewish people during World War II, the United Nations awarded the Jewish community a sovereign state in the territory of Palestine around the holy city of Jerusalem. This is the origins of the problems in the area as we now observe today.
The United Nations Partitions Plan of 1947 established Israel in the area of Palestine around the city of Jerusalem. According to the original agreement with the United Nations the city of Jerusalem was to remain independent, an international city of the World not a city in Israel. Jordan and Israel would share the boarders of Jerusalem. The contract also established parameters limiting the number of migrants which could legally move into the newly established country.
This was a contract which could never be enforced. After the country of Israel was founded Jewish immigrants from all around the world flooded the country by the hundreds of thousands. By 1967 the country has grown so crowded it began to interfere with the activities of surrounding countries. Boarder conflicts soon spoiled over and the Six Days War of 1967 began.
In literally just six days the Israeli Military defeated three countries on three separate boarders. Israel defeated Egypt to the south gaining control of the Gaza Strip. Israel defeated Jordan to the east and captured the city of Jerusalem. Israel defeated the Syrians to the north and gained control of the West Bank.
Fast forward to the present moment in time and Israeli population continues to grow, more resources are required to sustain this population and more land is needed to host them. Despite outcry from the United Nations and humanitarian rights leaders to stop their expansion, Israel continues to acquire more and more land.
Prior to WWII the area of Palestine was considered third world by modern standards and boasted one of the lowest literacy rates in the world. It is true, if it had come down to it the people of the area would have sided with the Axis Powers rather then the Allied Forces, but the area was so poor they never substantially contributed to the military efforts of WWII.
What you may not know about the Six Days War is that the United Nations, which helped establish Israel just 20 years prior to the war, called “Israel’s occupation of the lands acquired in the 1967 Six Days War illegal” – UN Secretary Kofi Annon – .
To this day the Israeli occupation in Gaza is considered “a violation of international law” by Amnesty International and an “illegal occupation” by the United Nations: http://www.amnestyusa.org/our-work/countries/middle-east-and-north-africa/israel-and-occupied-palestinian-territories
The fighting, violence and hardship surrounding Israel and its neighbors has been well documented by now, but too many people forget the history behind how the world came to exist at this present moment in time and why the world looks the way it does.
Many modern people, including prominent politicians on both sides dismiss the notion that modern conflict arises out of ancient disputes, but when you hear Mr. Natanyahu address the Temple of Solomon and that fact that Jewish scriptures are finally coming to fruition in a modern political speech, there is no doubt to the validity of this fact.
This article (Understanding How Religious Fundamentalists Are At The Core of International Conflict & The Implications This Has on Future Events) is free and open source. You have permission to republish this article using a creative commons license with attribution to Brian Dunn and Alternative Medi4