www.citypages.com, Wednesday, February 15, 2006--by
STEVE PERRY--Bin Laden's Game
Most officials thought last month's Osama bin Laden tape was no big
deal- maybe even a gesture of weakness. Author and ex-CIA analyst
Michael Scheuer, who founded the Agency's bin Laden unit 10 years ago,
thinks they're dead wrong.
City Pages: You've dissented strongly from the Bush administration line
that says bin Laden and other Islamic radicals "hate us for our
freedoms." What's the real root of their opposition?
Michael Scheuer: The real root of their opposition is what we do in the
Islamic world. If they were hating us because we had elections, or
gender equality, or liberty, they would be a lethal nuisance,
but they wouldn't be a threat to our security. If you remember, the
Ayatollah tried waging a jihad against Americans because we were
degenerate-we had X-rated movies, we drank liquor, women were in
workplaces. Very, very few people were willing to die for that kind of
thing. Bin Laden, I think, took a lesson from that and instead focused
on the impact of our policies in the Islamic world-our support for the
Arab tyrannies in Saudi Arabia and Egypt, our presence in the holy
lands on the Arabian Peninsula, our invasion of Iraq, our support for
countries like Russia that are deemed to repress Islamic people. He's
focused on things that are visible to the Islamic world every day, and
quite frankly there's a direct correlation between what he says and
what all the Western polling firms are finding, that there is a huge
majority in Islamic countries that hate our foreign policy. And yet
generally, every one of the same countries has a majority, sometimes a
large one, that admires the way Americans live, the basic equity of our
society. We should be so lucky as to have him hate us only for our
freedoms. He's never even discussed that kind of thing.
Our problem in the East is that we have too many religions.
Hansadutta: Religion is too much only if it is bogus.
Muslim Imam: In the East, people are very aware of God.
Hansadutta: That is not true. last August there were
communal riots here in Sri Lanka. People were going mad, just like
animals. How can you say they are religious?
Muslim Imam: People in the West are steeped in materialism.
Hansadutta: In Sri Lanka also they are steeped in
materialism. Whatever we have in the West they want in the East. People
in the West are materialistic and irreligous, but unfortunately, in the
East they are becoming mad after westernization, and they are
Muslim Imam: Has Christianity failed you?
Hansadutta: Christianity has not failed, if you follow it.
But people don't follow it.
Muslim Imam: You are giving up meat eating, illlicit sex,
gambling and intoxication. I see your movement as a reaction to your
own country's failings.
Hansadutta: These are the principles of religion; they are
not reactions. These four principles are standard for any religion,
whether it is Islam, Vedic religion or Christianity. Every religious
teacher instructs us not to kill, commit adultery and not to gamble.
These are standard teachings for every religious community. These
teachings are not a reaction to the cultures of the East and West. We
are all one family. If God is one, and if He is the creator of
everything and everyone, then there is no difference between you and me.
Muslim Imam: Religion can lead to love of God, whereas
materialism can lead to proper life.
Hansadutta: Unfortunately, people do not follow the
principles of religion. Social consciousness does not lead to God
consciousness. From 1922 to 1941, Germany had the most intense social
consciousness ever known on Earth, but it did not lead to God
consciousness; it led to material, or demonic consciousness. It
practically led to the destruction of the world. The same thing is
happening now in the form of communism. Communism is an intense form of
social consciousness, but it does not lead to God consciousness; it
leads to demonic consciousness.
God conciousness begins with following the orders of God. God has very
clearly said, "Thou shalt not kill, and thou shalt not steal." We
should abide by the four principles by giving up animal slaughter,
intoxication, illicit sex and gambling. If we chant the Lord's
names—for example, in Islam you chant the name of Allah—it is a very
effective process for keeping our mind pure.
Muslim Imam: The most important thing in Islam is
submission to God. We must submit five times a day.
Hansadutta: No. All day. Why five times? All day long, not
only five times. Real Islam means all day. Just like Mohammed. All day
and all night, he was submissive to God.
Muslim Imam: But he also fought.
Hansadutta: He was fighting for God. The name Allah means
The Greatest. Krishna means the same, or all-attractive.
Actually, God has no particular name, but He is known according to His
attributes. For example, Vishnu means one who lives everywhere. God is
addressed according to His characteristics.
We do not worship just anyone as God. We worship Krishna, or Allah. We
also worship Jesus, as well as Buddha, who is a Vishnu avatar, or
incarnation of Lord Vishnu. We worship even an ant, because Lord
Chaitanya said one should offer respect to all living creatures.
Muslim Imam: But you worship an ant? Which one?
Hansadutta: At least we give respect. We do not kill
anyone. We give everyone respect.
Muslim Imam: As a Muslim, I don’t think I could join this
movement because of the first principle “don’t kill animals”. We have
to kill animals to eat. Sometimes there is nothing else to eat.
Hansadutta: Are you living in the North Pole? First answer
this. Are you living in the North Pole? It is practical. If you are
living in the North Pole, then we will see. But now you are living
here, so don’t kill animals.
Muslim Imam: We must take care of ourselves first. But we
don’t believe in doing anything in excess.
Hansadutta: Not doing it in excess means that if there is
no need to kill, don’t kill. You don’t need to kill any animal because
there is enough fruit, vegetable, enough rice, enough milk, enough of
everything. You don’t have to kill. Therefore your scripture also says
not to kill.
Muslim Imam: No, you are misquoting.
Hansadutta: I am not misquoting. When your shastra
not to take anything in excess, this is the meaning. If there is no
need to kill an animal, don’t do it. If a man is living, for example,
in a desert where there is nothing to eat, and he is going to starve,
naturally he will kill some animal and eat it. But we are not living in
the desert. We are not living in the North Pole. We are living in Sri
Lanka, where you can produce every fruit, vegetable, grain, sugar and
milk in abundance and live very peacefully and happily and healthily.
Why do you want to kill these poor animals?
Muslim Imam: So your religion is only for certain areas?
Hansadutta: No, this religion is for everyone. If you are
starving to death, then of course you have to eat an animal. But who is
starving to death? Therefore Bible says, “Thou shalt not kill”, Buddha
said, “Ahimsa”, and your religion says, “Do not take anything in
excess.” Every religion says don’t kill. Every. It is a universal
principle. How can God allow killing?
Priest: We can accept your point that the principles are
essentially the same in all religions, although the language may
differ. But all these religions have so far failed to solve the
problems of the world. Why is this?
The reason is because people don’t follow.