History of Islamic Extremism?

Historically, extremist groups have always been marginalized and rejected by mainstream Islam as heretical aberrations. But now a major change has occurred. The magnificent Islamic civilization of the Middle Ages has crumbled, and traditional institutions that once sustained and promulgated Islamic theology - and marginalized extremism - have been taken over by State institutions.

A thousand years ago, at the height of Islamic power, the tradition called Ijtihad - the spirit of discussion, debate and dissent - flourished, and was presided over by a class of religious scholars, independent of the political system, called jurists. From the 8th to the 12th century, some 135 schools of Islamic interpretation existed, as well as 70 great libraries. Divergent opinions and schools of thought were not only tolerated, they were celebrated. (There was discrimination, and it was hardly an interfaith utopia, but historical evidence indicates that Jews living under Islam experienced much less persecution than the Jews living in European Christendom.) Science and art thrived, and Islamic civilization laid the groundwork for the Renaissance.

But in the centuries since, following the Crusades and the later invasions by Genghis Khan and his successors, as well as the inevitable internal political intrigues and challenges as opponents battled each other for power in a vast empire, the world has seen the demise of this high civilization, the stifling of Ijtihad, the closing of schools, the repression of critical independent thought, as the duty of the jurists has been co-opted by nationalistic politician - technocrats serving as self-appointed arbiters of faith - who limit debate and interpretation, rather than expanding it, all to prop up their cultural and political goals and maintain the status quo. Now Muslims in these countries are silenced by relentless propaganda telling them that Unity means Conformity, Debate only causes Division, and Division is synonymous with criminal Heresy, so you'd better keep your mouth shut!

The Military and Political System in the Qing Dynasty

The Military and Political System in the Qing Dynasty (1644-1911) was mainly composed of the Eight-Banner System, the Six Ministry System, the Privy Council and the Han Green Army.

1. Eight-Banner System

The Eight-Banner System (administrative divisions into which all Manchu families were placed.) was founded by Nurhachi (the founder of the Qing dynasty), composed of the Border Yellow Banner, the Plain Yellow Banner, the Plain White Banner, the Plain Red Banner, the Bordered White Banner, the Bordered Red Banner, the Plain Blue Banner and the Bordered Blue Banner, which combined the army and the common people perfectly as one. The political power was centralized in the hands of nobilities, and the important decisions were discussed and decided by Manchu Council of Princes and Ministers. Hong Taiji (the son of Nurhachi) imitated the political system of the Ming dynasty (1368-1644) and established the Six Ministries in the 5th year (1631) of Tianchong Period, trying to weaken the power of Manchu nobilities. Emperor Shunzhi reformed the Eight-Banner System by commanding the Plain Yellow Banner, the Plain White Banner and the Bordered Yellow Banner, centralizing all power in his own hands.

Evolution of the New American Political System

It's spring time; a time of resurrection and change. The sun rises a little higher in the sky every day to awaken flora which responds by sprouting fresh, colorful new blossoms. Critters go out in search of new mates and participate in this glorious process. In America, new elections have been scheduled and politicians are out buying votes by making empty new promises for change, if only we would elect them.

I am sitting on the porch swing watching a pretty a red Cardinal attack himself in a car mirror. With flapping wings, slashing claws and a punching beak, he flies against the mirrored glass crying out in anguish and frustration. The little bird has apparently laid claim to the breeding rights on his little acre of his and is determined to drive off any rival who dares to intrude on this domain.

Mr. Cardinal reminds me of the average American voter. Conditioned by constant exposure to a carefully scripted charade, he believes that a two-party system exists in his country. One party, he is told, will protect and defend him against the asserted intrusions of the other. He must therefore choose an ally to support and, of course, an enemy to fight against by default. Then, having chosen, he is to proceed to beat himself into a stupor hopelessly trying to solve a problem hidden beyond his ability to comprehend.