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March 30, 2015 / 10 Nisan, 5775
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An Awakening…or Just Terror?

In the Middle East and North Africa, at least among large swaths of enthusiastic Islamists, true redemption still requires Muslims to present tangible proof of 'membership.'

An entire block in Damascus destroyed by Syrian Army shelling.

An entire block in Damascus destroyed by Syrian Army shelling.

The stubbornly cumulative violence that we face in the Middle East and North Africa is a problem of displaced human centeredness. Ever anxious about drawing meaning from their own inwardness, large numbers of Islamist adherents draw closer and closer to the faith-based tribe. In too many cases, this collective voice spawns hatreds and excesses that may make even genocidal forms of mass killing appear thoroughly desirable. Fostering a visceral refrain of “us” versus “them,” it may eventually prevent each affected person from becoming fully human.

This prevention is accomplished by encouraging motivated adherents to inflict mortal harms upon selected “outsiders” and then by subsequently celebrating such egregious harms as a proper expression of religious “sacrifice.”

Every person contains the possibility of becoming more fully human, an empathetic possibility that could reduce potentially destructive loyalties to any manifestations of groupthink. It is only by nurturing this indispensable possibility that we can seriously seek promising remedies to our current difficulties. Our immediate task must be to encourage certain amenable masses in the Arab/Islamic world to discover the way back to themselves, as genuinely feeling and caringindividuals and as members of an entire species that would seek only a graciously universal, or non-discriminatory, redemption.

This sort of redemption would depict an infinite circle of membership, an inclusive geometry in which the whole could become more than the sum of its parts, into which everyone could “fit,” and from which no one could be denied entry.

The core challenge we face in Middle East and North African “awakenings” is not one of securing criminal justice for the terrorist killers (“we will find and punish those responsible…” – always a silly refrain) but rather of acquiring a better cultural understanding of our pertinent foes.

About the Author: Louis René Beres (Ph.D., Princeton, 1971) is professor of political science and international law at Purdue University and the author of many books and articles dealing with international relations and strategic studies.


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3 Responses to “An Awakening…or Just Terror?”

  1. I have resigned from the metuchen edison clegy association. I AM A PAST PRESIDENT. Rabbi Dr. Bernhard Rosenberg

    HATIKVAH has been included in every service since I created interfaith holocaust services in 1974 with no objection. N0 ONE HAS EVER WALKED out, sat down OR OBJECTED until recently. With Israel and Jews being attacked throughout the world, I PERSONALLY will and have fought to keep it in. We are living in a world where anti-SEMITISM is rampant especially in Europe where JEWS ARE FLEEING IN MASS to Israel and other countries. Everyone is entitled to their OWN opinion , I stand by mine. Another Holocaust is on the horizon. A nuclear extremist muslim regime would like nothing better than the complete destruction of Israel and if you listen to Morsi all Jews should perish.
    I will be the keynote speaker at another Holocaust event that evening. I refuse to compromise my beliefs or allow the Hatikvah to be disgraced. I am taking my highway to what I believe in. Rabbi DR. BERNHARD ROSENBERG

  2. THERE MAY BE A PROTEST AGAINST THE IMAM BEING ORGANIZED BY THOSE WHO ARE EXTREMELY ANGRY AT WHAT IS HAPPENING. GREAT PUBLICITY for THE TOWNSHIP OF EDISON N.J.. AND THE J.C.C. I am neither organizing it or will participate as I will be speaking at another synagogue. RABBI ROSENBERG

  3. If you believe a Imam should not be invited to a holocaust program where he will walk out before Hatikvah speak out.

    http://www.aish.com/j/as/The_History_of_Hatikvah.html

    As it states,

    • The British Mandate government briefly banned its performance in 1919 due to Arab anti-Zionist political activity.

    • In 1944, Czech Jews spontaneously sang it at the entry to the Auschwitz-Birkenau gas chamber and, as reported by a member of the Sonderkommando, were beaten by SS guards.

    The link is clear, the Arabs were against Hatikvah before there was Israel or even before the myth of Palestinian people. Furthermore, Jews sang it while being led to their death. How dare anyone allow individuals to leave in protest during Hatikvah with the canard they are commemorating the Holocaust but against the State of Israel. Just keep quoting Dr Martin Luther King, Jr “When people criticize Zionists, they mean Jews. You're talking anti-Semitism.” RABBI DR. BERNHARD ROSENBERG

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