Taliban and Fanaticism, an analysis

Nazis fanatics burning books, in Germany

Taliban fanatics burning books, in Afghanistan

Taliban fanatics destroying Buddha Statues, in Afghanistan

Nazi fanatics destroying Synagogues on "Crystal Night", in Germany

Taliban and Fanaticism, an analysis

"As a Christian, I have the DUTY to be a fighter, to recognize these Jews for what they were, are, and summon men to fight against them. Lord who, God's truth! was great not as a sufferer but as a fighter. Hence today, I believe that I'm acting in accordance with the will of Almighty Creator: By defending myself against the Jews, I'm fighting for the work of the Lord." Hitler, 'Mein Kempf'.

"We don't have to follow any other kind of Islam, ours is the real one. Because God is one God, and according to Islam, I don't worry about anything. These Idols are there to be worshiped, and that's wrong. As a Muslim, My DUTY is the implementations of Islamic-Orders." 
Taliban Leader, Mullah Omar in his 'Edict On Relics'.

The above quotes are comparative illustrations and disturbing evidence of echoes of shared sentiments. Hitler, the Christian fanatic, fulfilling his so called Biblical duty of annihilation of Jews, and Mullah Omar, the Muslim fanatic, fulfilling his so called Koranic duty of smashing the Idols. Naturally and as expected, both mad men utilized their undisputed and most powerful tool, the religion.

To penetrate deeper into the hidden character of Taliban, I begin by analyzing the very definition of Fanaticism: From the Latin word Fanaticus, Fanatism is excessive and irrational zeal, a contrast to common-sense, and an intellectual and emotional blindness. The French philosopher, Denis Dedroit explains that "Fanaticism is one of the most dangerous of all diseases. All the wickedness of human nature is aroused by it. Anger is stirred up, nerves are high strung, and humans begin to behave like animals."

In my opinion, the most disturbing and erroneous aspect of Taliban's fanaticism lie in the fact that their faith is less in God than in their own concept of God. Their frenzy readings of religious scriptures and its strictly by the word interpretations and applications, have created human tragedies unparalleled in ancient or modern Afghan history. The Fanaticism phenomena occurs when one religion or followers of a particular faith think that those who do not believe in their faith must face the consequences of their ungodliness. Fernado Savater, Spain's most notable contemporary philosopher and essayist, traces the modern roots of fanaticism from Martin Luther to the present in his extraordinary article "FANÁTICOS SIN FRONTERAS/Fanatics Without Borders":

".. For Luther, the attempt to overthrow the secular authorities was a sign of disastrous pride, a religious catastrophe... For Kant, it was the case in nationalistic fanaticism, which Kant sets against cosmopolitanism. In his Critique of Practical Reason (1788), Kant distinguishes between "religious fanaticism", which pertains to the supposed knowledge of God, and the much more dangerous "moral fanaticism", which, instead of making its actions right through a simple duty, tries to base morals on sentiments, noble beliefs, and sublime faith... in Hegel's philosophy, fanaticism is depicted as a necessary passage in the progressive universalization of Spirit. Hegel speaks of a "fanaticism of destruction" that is exemplified in the elimination of suspected individuals, and in the rejection of the stabilization of the revolution in any determined institutional order. In the field of politics, if the fanatic strives for the realization of an ideal, he at any rate ends up fatally undermining any particular organization, inasmuch as his "negative freedom" manifests itself only in the destruction of the particular. In an addition to the Philosophy of Right, Hegel associates this "nihilistic" rage with the injection of religious subjectivity into the objectivity of the State. Insofar as religion is characterized by a strict impetus towards totality, and the State instead depends on the differentiation of its "organs", the introduction of religion into politics is destructive. "The wish to have the whole in every particular", writes Hegel, "could be fulfilled only by the destruction of the particular, and fanaticism is just the refusal to give scope to particular differences."...for Kant and Hegel, "fanaticism" is not simply an erroneous but inevitable tendency of human reason (Kant) or a necessary phase of extremism in the development of humanity (Hegel)...".

The ever pessimist German philosopher, Karl Marx argues in his 'Different ways of social revolutions and reforms' that more blood is shed on religion wars and religious persecutions than any other causes. In Marx's analysis, Fanaticism is due to "Evolutionary weakness" of humans. Or as Marx would so vehemently argue "We have failed to evolve as complete humans, as yet."

The great French philosopher, Voltaire argues in his 'Philosophical Dictionary' that "There is only one step from fanaticism to barbarism. Fanaticism in religion is the alliance of passion fanatics condemn with dogmas fanatics profess. Fanaticism in religion is what delirium is to fever and rage to anger. The man who supports his madness with murder is a fanatic.Once fanaticism has corrupted a mind, the malady is almost incurable."

Mahatma Gandhi, who's life was cut short precisely by a fanatic, denounced the religious fanaticism by declaring that "Sectarianism, bigotry, and its horrible descendant, fanaticism, have long possessed this beautiful earth. They have filled the earth with violence, drenched it often and often with human blood, destroyed civilization and sent whole nations to despair. Had it not for these horrible demons, human society would be far more advanced than it is now. But, fanatics' time will come, and I fervently hope that the bells that tolled this morning in honor of the victims may be the death-knell of all fanaticism, of all persecutions with sword or with the pen, and all uncharitable feelings between persons wending their ways to their gods."

The history of Sufism is filled with examples of interfaith outreaching, in contrast with the rigid separatism of the Islamic fundamentalists.Given the fact that Sufism and Sufi "Way of life' is profoundly relevant to the possible growth of pluralism and tolerance within the Islamic society, the "Sufi alternative" to radical Islam, in my opinion, is the ideal alternative for the emergence of tolerant and pluralist cultures in the Islamic World.

In conclusion, any comparison between the Taliban-Fanatics and German-Fascists must be defined as: For German-Fascists, it was a question of race, while for the Taliban-Fanatics, it is a question of religion and race!

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