I grew up in England when ‘the troubles’ in Northern Ireland were very much in the news, particularly when they often spread to England through the killings. The war as I understood it was between the Anglican Irish and the Catholic Irish who were intent on wiping each other out. This didn’t make sense to me as it involved two branches of the Christian church, all affirmed followers of the God of love, each trying to kill off the other group. The cost was horrific, both in financial terms and in terms of human lives either wrecked or lost yet it continued for decades. Imagine growing up in a world in which each day you didn’t know whether you or a family member would be killed.
About this time the leaders of the two branches were starting to communicate with each other- it was regarded as a breakthrough in the Christian church. What I could never understand was why they didn’t make a joint visit to Northern Ireland to bring peace. After all, if the two leaders could do this what was the point of the two sets of followers killing each other, if there was any point in the first place?
I am reminded of this as Islamic terrorism tries to spread across the world. Some Muslim leaders say that violence is not part of the Islamic faith but they say it very quietly. Instead of the current waste of ammunition and lives wouldn’t it be possible for Muslim leaders in every country where ISIS is a problem, and this seems to be most at present, to organise their own demonstration marches condemning what is happening and saying that it is not part of their beliefs and isn’t being done on the prophet’s behalf.
We are now questioning how we elect our civil leaders given the mess each party seems to land us in, particularly financially. Shouldn’t we also be questioning how we elect our religious leaders, particularly where violence by their followers is involved . Why can’t they stand up for what they believe in and be real leaders of their followers, whatever their faith. We all share this same planet and we should all be working to make it the best place possible. Murder has no part in that.