It is interesting the psychology of islamophobia and other phobias. I should commence by stating that I’m not a follower of any man created terrestrial religion not even an atheist as that is also an absolute stating that followers know. I’m probably closer to an agnostic but these are only man created words for I have my own thoughts.
As a species our ability to misinterpret misquote is endless quite often out of personal convenience. The written word opens the door to misinterpretation.
Diversity frightens us it states that we could be wrong therefore we suppress it. If we believe something that is logically incorrect then it becomes the truth and is the truth, therefore clever people can programme us. Even to such people their truth can be the truth to them even the truth of personal promotion and gain can be justified.
Throughout history man has tried to impress upon others his truth mostly from fear of the unknown, the Inquisition from the 12th century, holy wars in Palestine, Spain, Protestant Lutherans and Reformed wars with Catholicism the Massacre at Ayyadieh on the fall of Acre by Richard Coeur de Lion, 2700 prisoners massacred an act not repeated by Saladin all out fear and the hunt for power. A statement that I am right you are wrong or a recognition that you may be right and if I take what you have I will be stronger. Some cannibalistic tribes consumed their enemies as they believed that a strong enemy would enhance their spirit. There are many passages in the Quran that relate to violence against what can be misinterpreted to include all non-believers most are in response to specific wars within periods of antiquity. There is also verse within the Quran threatening retribution against his captors for the seizing of Jesus an important prophet in Islam this verse can easily be misinterpreted. It should be remembered that the Quran is an extension of the Old Testament as is the Torah and to a substantial extent the New Testament, all derived from a very violent book originally written to address issues of a specific and bloody period in historical time. The original texts rewritten over time to address changing issues of social structure. So, plenty of material that can be taken out of context by the uneducated on both sides and dangerous if believed to be uncontested fact. Much in the texts was also intended as parable. Even within Islam as within most churches of the Catholic(Universal) world scholars debate the meaning of the word.parable can add to confusion. I have worked with many Sharia committees made up of highly intelligent scholars and few have a universal agreement on meaning. As a species, we are insecure and frightened of the dark. This fear breeds inhumanity in all sectors of society and suppresses the quest for truth and reality. Working in the past with Islamic groups including being an advisor to one of the largest on the development of Islamic financial products that are created from Western concepts all had to be endorsed by a Sharia committee. I have many good Islamic friends who have little interest in any other issues other than supporting their families and having a comfortable, prosperous and violence free life. The quest for truth and understanding has had a difficult path and will have a difficult path in the future, as we are all hardwired into protectionism and tribalism, however we should all try to move along the path of understanding. Much has come from the great religions of the world Islam has given us much of our science, astronomy, language(words such as Alchemy, Alcohol, Algorithm, Alkaline,Average, Admiral, Arsenal,Candy, Check, Coffee, Cotton, Guitar, Hazard, Mattress, Racquet, Sofa, Elixir, Soda, Zero, Chemistry, to name only a few) numbering and some of the greatest art and buildings in the world, much has also come from other great Catholic(Universal) religions, my favourite painting the ‘Beheading of John the Baptist’ by Caravaggio a violent painting from the world of Catholicism but stunning and dramatic light. It also depicts the violent thread that runs through most religion. Also as a very intellectual and respected uncle of mine once said to quote ‘variety is the spice of life’ Marcel Aurousseau. Absolute is not always truth.
Shane Aurousseau ShaneA
I’m not a religious man in the context of following a Church doctrine or deity, the interpretation of this does not mean that I don’t have religious thoughts. The concept of atheism is a difficult one for me to comprehend as this is a statement of absolute and is a bedfellow of fundamentalism. The following of an agnostic path is to me a much more logical direction, ‘the only thing I know is I know nothing’ Socrates. Man’s interpretation of the teachings of some of the towering figures of religious history. Mohammed, Christ, Abraham, the Hindu teacher Shankara and even the Buddhas I believe would horrify the creators of those great religions. Much criminality and suffering has been perpetuated in the name of religion. The quest for some form of understanding is far more important than some vague and misguided belief that one has omnipotent knowledge, however sometimes from man’s muddled and myopic thinking comes something beautiful, the music of a Latin Mass,
The Sacred Geometry of Islam, The great paintings of the world, The Last Supper – Leonardo da Vinci, The creation of Adam – Michelangelo, Madonna del Prato or Madonna of the Meadow – Raphael, The Beheading of Saint John the Baptist – Caravaggio not to mention the great temple sculptures of the East, the great fiestas of the Catholic world Semana Santa Spain. I have to admit these creations give a fabric and synergy to society that today much of the world lacks with out these creations the world would be a boring and barren place indeed. The disillusionment especially in the ranks of the youth of the world is giving rise to a self driven and violent society with an inability to see any beauty we are building the blind society.
It was attending Holy week or Semana Santa Malaga that confirmed to me the importance of maintaining these great festivals and protecting the great artistic legacy that religious belief of most persuasions has bestowed upon us. The realisation of the contribution that has been bequeathed to us by the great religions of the world is part of growing up and becoming an understanding member of society.
Semana Santa (Easter Week) Spain’s greatest festival and most important week of the year. A celebration of piety expressed almost exclusively in the processions of the brotherhoods or fraternities. Associations that have their origins in the Middle Ages, however a number were created during the Baroque Period, inspired by the Counter-Reformation ( Catholic Revival) commencing from the time of the ‘Council of Trent’ 1545 – 1563 finishing at the end of the ‘Thirty Years War’ 1648 and also during the 20th and 21st centuries. Membership of the brotherhoods is usually open to any Catholic person; family tradition is an important element to becoming a member or “brother” (hermano). The family the importance of being a part of something greater than you. The family can be seen in the important participation of Children and how they are welcomed into the festivities. The family group is an institution that we seem to be losing in most western countries to the detriment of our society.
One of the most striking spectacles of the festival are the hundreds of slow-moving Nazarenos (based on the people of Nazareth) in their tall, pointy hats and matching robes with their faces completely covered, apart from their eyes. Reasons for the use of such costumes have long been lost in antiquity however the purpose is simple , the Nazarenos their faces are covered in mourning and also as a sign of shame for the sins they have committed throughout the year. It is not uncommon for prisoners to participate as pallbearers participating in the carrying of the huge Thrones of the crucified Christ and the mourning Virgin Mary in order to repent of their sins.
There are 168 to 280 men and sometimes women who carry the thrones on their shoulders. Each man must be able to carry 40 Kilos on his shoulders for hours they tend to march for a longer period than women. The processions culminates on Easter Sunday in a long procession from the cathedral or church with the meeting of the effigies of the mourning Virgin and the resurrected Christ. Truly an artistic and spectacular fiesta that gives Spain its character and synergy. .
Images of the great Spanish fiesta Semana Santa
Photographer Shane Aurousseau