Reading Infidel by Ayaan Hirsi Ali had a major impact on my outlook on religion's role in world affairs. Seeing her in a promotional interview for Infidel piqued my interest in atheism as well. Reading her book perhaps partially facilitated my gradual acceptance of an atheistic world view.
(I had just recently abandoned Christianity. I hadn't yet embraced atheism yet, however. Perhaps I was sort of in denial about all the changes I was going through).
Reading her book is well worth the time and will really bring into focus the present activities in Ethiopia and Somalia.
While I think that characterizing all of Islam as violent is a mistake, one must admit that horrible things happen when fundamentalist Islamic leaders take control. And to be fair, everyone is in some measure of danger when a religious zealot takes control -- regardless of the religion. Likewise, a non-religious zealot can be very dangerous; religion does not necessarily need to be involved.
But in this case, religion is very much involved. A man was shot dead in Somalia this week because he was accused of leaving his Islamic faith.
His real crime was taking sides with Ethiopia during this current political-theological conflict. Since this conflict is political and theological in nature, his assistance to the Ethiopian political cause is apostasy from Islam. These ideals are one and the same in the eyes of the extremists.
I'm sure there is more to this story. But at the end of the day, why is there so much turmoil between Christian, Muslim, and Jewish groups in the Eastern Hemisphere?
One can argue all they want that religion isn't the cause.
Well, I know one thing -- religion surely isn't the solution, either.
Not on that side of the world, at least.
Here are two news articles related to my post:
Somali Executed for 'Apostasy'
Ethiopia's Somalia Dilemma