Thursday, April 19, 2007

Two Rivers

29 Mar 07
There are two very ancient and famous rivers in Iraq that eventually become one river. The rivers are called the Al‑Farat River and the Dijila River. Once they merge it’s called the Shatt Al Arab River and flows through Basrah at which point it forms the border between Iran and Iraq. However, neither river is known by its Arabic name outside of Arab countries. They are the Tigris and Euphrates rivers.

It’s at the mouth of the Shatt Al Arab River that the 15 British sailors and marines were taken hostage by Iran.

Adnan asked why the U.S. makes so many wars followed by what we think would happen if we just went home from around the world and let various governments govern themselves (though he did say Iraq was too unstable for us to leave here and it would create a massive terrorist stronghold). I told him about our old foreign policy of Isolationism and how that got us into two world wars and asked who would prevent that sort of escalation if we were not engaged in the world.

I asked him why Muslim countries weren’t more aggressive against Al Qaeda, Hamas, and Hezbollah and why Muslims are at war with seemingly every religion with which they border (Jews, Catholics, Orthodox, Hindus, Buddhists, etc). He said there are ancient rivalries but they are no excuse. There was a great Doonesbury comic that ran on 18 Feb 07 that makes fun of that mindset.

He explained that the Pope created many wars in Europe and even sent the Crusaders to war with Islam. Eventually, however, European nations told the Pope to stay out of national/government affairs—they created a separation between church and state. Iraq had a separation of church and state but the U.S. misunderstood the relationship between Islam and the state in Iraq and created a strong relationship between church and state. He said politically we set them back to the time of the Crusades when there was no separation between church and state.

Many believe that the Koran dictates the law in Islamic countries and therefore religious leaders must lead Islamic nations. The fact is governments create laws/policy which abide by the Koran but religious leaders are not required to make law. In essence, the Grand Ayatollahs are similar to the judicial branch of our government. The legislative and executive branches make and carry out law while the judicial branch determines whether laws are constitutional. The Grand Ayatollahs determine whether laws are Koranic. They do not make and carry out law.

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