JUST what we need: The top dog at Lynchburg VA’s Liberty University, a school so radically conservative it puts Attila The Hun to shame, urged students on Saturday to arm themselves to “teach them – terrorists – a lesson if they ever show up here.”
But Jerry Fallwell, Jr., the son of the televangelist who founded L.U. in 1971, advised his 100,000-plus students that only those at least 21 years old would be able to carry a concealed weapon on campus.
(I know whereof I speak, regarding the politics and religious orientation of that institution, since I live less than 20 miles from Liberty and have worked with or otherwise been acquainted with dozens of current and former students there.)
Liberty has a very strong and growing presence in the area: It’s campus is the constant home of construction cranes and workers building more dorms and other facilities, and a University plan was approved by the local (Campbell County) Board of Supervisors as recently as last week to extend a feeder road from the campus to one of Virginia’s major north/south highways – US 29.
Undoubtedly because its extreme right Christian orientation melds well with the belief structure of potential students from Virginia and elsewhere, Liberty has grown, in a relatively short time, to become “the nation’s seventh largest university, the world’s largest Christian university, the largest private nonprofit four-year college in the country, and the largest college in Virginia,” its website says.
Fallwell’s concern has some basis in fact: Daesh – better known, for the moment, as ISIS, the Islamic State, or ISIL – seemingly is starting to really catch on to a notion I proposed 40+ years ago, when the Irish Republican Army (IRA) was ‘at war’ with the United Kingdom (UK): Numerous, frequent attacks on small-appearing targets, in unassuming areas, are far more likely to put fear into the hearts and minds of many people, over a broad territory, than will the occasional large ‘event’.
The attacked site in San Bernardino CA was a ‘perfect’ target for that theory: The facility certainly helps a lot of disadvantaged people, but it is little known beyond its customer base – and its employees and their families. The wife of an employee is thought to have been the instigator of what turned out to be the deadliest terrorist attack in this country since 9/11.
Henceforth, this blog will – like France, Russia and a growing number of others entities – refer to Daesh as that – not as a ‘state’, which it isn’t, or any other variation on the theme that describes it as such.
This is, plain and simple, a terrorist organization. Its ultimate aims remain a mystery, beyond its claims to want to function as a caliphate, a kind of ‘state,’ dedicated to strict observance of Sharia law. That represents a legal system that “deals with all aspects of day-to-day life, including politics, economics, banking, business law, contract law, sexuality, and [among other things] social issues, as the simple-English version of Wikipedia puts it.
However, as the Wikipedia reference notes, “There is not a strictly codified, uniform set of laws, that can be called Sharia. It is more like a system of several laws, based on the Qur’an, Hadith and centuries of debate, interpretation and precedent.
The word Hadith means, Wikipedia says, “something new or a piece of information. The religious meaning of Hadith is a statement, action or approval attributed to the Prophet of Islam, Muhammad. Therefore, Hadith can be divided into three categories based upon their content:  A statement of the Prophet,  An action of the Prophet, and  The Prophet’s approval of an action done by other than him.”
I strongly suspect the majority of followers of Daesh have little or no concept of that definition, or even come close to understanding it even if they know (of) it.
Islamic Sharia “is not [fully] implemented in any country of the world, the most Muslim countries have their own laws & chosen only few of laws from Islamic Sharia,” according to Wikipedia. One might suspect that, even in strongly Muslim countries, Sharia law isn’t widely implemented because all but the most extreme people don’t want it – that they don’t believe in eye-for-an-eye or similarly extreme solutions to social and legal issues.
Jerry Fallwell, Jr.’s encouragement of concealed carrying weapons on Liberty University’s campus speaks more to his extreme views than to something vaguely resembling reality. The latter is represented by “The Concealed Carry Killers database,” which notes that from May of 2007 until ‘recently’ (no specific date is noted), “hundreds of killings not ruled self-defense” were carried out by private individuals with permits to carry concealed handguns.
Oddly, their database doesn’t offer a straight-forward total of such killings, but “hundreds” sounds bad enough.
In their way, the followers of and fighters for Daesh are pursuing a path similar to that many Liberty University students take: Toward the absolute acceptance of an extremely strict belief structure with little tolerance for non-compliance to that mindset.
Christians of various denominations, have vastly varying beliefs that, for whatever reason, they accept as ‘gospel’. What gospel version is another issue. Translations and various interpretations over 20+ centuries test the ‘credibility’ of anything in Christian — and even Jewish — Bibles.
It could be argued that strict believers in all aspects of any religion’s dogma are missing many of the original points, whatever they happened to be. The thing is, with all the translations, interpretations, etc. over the centuries, it’s impossible for anyone to know what all the original points were — or to know which ones are being misinterpreted today.
Me, I go to the opposite extreme — the Bill Mahar extreme — and put no faith in any religion.