“The religion of Islam is not the root of the problem; however the exploitation of religion by extremist remains very significant and ongoing problems (Bhutto,180). I believe that is trying to state that a religion cannot be a problem, it’s the people that believe they must purify the world by extermination. For instance, Hitler thought that he had to cleanse the world from Jews and anyone that didn’t have the features he thought would create a pure race. Another example, is slavery, due to the color of someone’s skin they were either deemed a slave or free person. Additional, I believe women’s rights strongly ties to this statement because women where considered property due to their sex. I think she’s trying to stress that religion has nothing to do with extremist acts against humanity. I believe this quote hit close to home because of my religion orientation. This quote perfectly captures that anyone could be capable of radical unjust acts and practicing a religion has nothing to do with it. Another quote I was drawn to was, “I am told that the terrorists who made the bombs and conspired to kill me took a fatwa, or religions edict, to sanctify the terrorist attacks (Bhutto,181). I think there is no hidden meaning for this quote, Bhutto is trying to say that people that are doing violent acts are to give themselves a peace of mind by saying that this part of their religion and they are religiously allowed to commit such terrible crime. I believe that even if acts like murder were accepted religious that it violates our basic morals. If we didn’t have morals we wouldn’t be a civilized nation. Bhutto is trying to vocalize that people that perpetrate such acts have to tell themselves lies so they can feel as if they still have some basic morals; they twisting religions so it can fulfill such demoralizing acts and gave themselves tranquility. “Democracies do not spring up fully develop overnight, nor is there necessarily a bright line between democratic governance and autocracy(Bhutto,191).” Bhutto proclaims that change can happen its not going to happen as soon as you wake up the next day but it’s going to happen in little waves, so don’t expect a democracy form. This quote enticed me because change is important for us a society to evolve and to become more moral set. If we still lived like cavemen we would still be lured by the aspect of creating fire and be more accept violence as a norm.
- “Thus humans must seek and apply knowledge, must use reason, must consult and build a consensus for a just society on earth on which they will be judged in the hereafter. They must not sin by taking innocent life, for God alone has the right to give and take life. Anyone who interferes in God’s work by taking a life commits the most heinous crime in Islam.”
This quote, made by Bhutto at the beginning of her essay, is a reflection of her personal interpretation of Islam. By reading this excerpt, you can clearly see that she has a positive view of her religion and believes God has the potential to guide humanity to where it should go. I find this quote important because it establishes a frame of reference for what Bhutto is talking about; she continually points out that extremists do not represent what she believes Islam should be.
- “It is quite easy (and typical) for Muslim extremists to blame the Americans for the sectarian civil war that rages in Iraq today, when actually it is a long-standing tension between Muslim communities that has been exacerbated and militarized to create the chaos under which extremists thrive.”
Bhutto explains with the above quote that she believes many of the Muslim world’s problems are internal. Although external problems like invasion or Western influence play a part, the quote implies there has always been disagreements and issues within Muslim communities, and according to her, Western influences stoked the fire and allowed Islamic extremism to rise. I find this quote to be interesting since Bhutto is acknowledging multiple causes to the current instability in the Middle East; it proves she has a wider view of issues rather than focusing in on one root cause.
- “The actions of the West in the second half of the nineteenth century and most of the twentieth century often deliberately blocked any reasonable chance for democratic development in Muslim-majority countries. It is so discouraging to me that the actions of the West in the pursuit of its various short-term strategic goals have been counterproductive, often backfiring. Western policies have often preserved authoritarianism and contained the growth of nascent democratic movements in the developing world, specifically in the Islamic world.”
For my third quote, I chose a quote from a section of the essay in which Bhutto is openly criticizing Western countries for their involvement in the developing world. I agree with her that the West, historically, has established and supported oppressive regimes across the globe, especially during the age of European colonialism. These actions have had direct impacts on the problems facing the Middle East today, but many Western nations are working to reverse the negative effects they had on the region (decolonization, military/economic support, taking on the burden of millions of refugees).
Benazir Bhutto attended Harvard University and Oxford University, where her studies were focused on political science. She was the first prime minister of Pakistan. With this title she was essentially the first woman leader of an Islamic country.
1. “They must not sin by taking innocent life, for God alone has the right to give and take life.” (Page 178)
This quote describes how the destruction of innocent lives matters deeply to Bhutto. I chose this quote because it stood out to me. It truly bothers me to see the hatred that goes on in the world around us, to take an innocent life is mind blowing and horrible to even think of. The fact that cruel actions such as this take place in the very world we live in is heartbreaking.
2. “I am told that the terrorists who made the bombs and conspire to kill me took a fatwa, or a religious edict, to sanctify the terrorist attacks. However, on the Day of Judgement, such an edict will be of no help. God has ordained that each individual will have to account individually for his actions without intercession from any other individual.” (Page 181)
In this quote, Bhutto explained the current situation, and then later ties it down to the religion of Islam. She explains how in the religion of Islam, those who commit sin or acts of injustice are said to later be punished by a greater being (God). I am a follower of the religion of Islam. I agree with all that Bhutto explained here, and the reason it stood out to me is because Islam is a religion of peace. Many people do not see it for what it truly is due to the evil acts of a few corrupt people who claim to be followers of this religion. In reality, Islam does not promote violence in any way, it frowns upon any acts of violence or hatred. True followers of this religion will agree with Bhutto’s quote. These people will bring the realization that violence is wrong, and those who commit sin, are believed to be punished on the Day of Judgement.
3. “True democracy is defined not only by elections but by the democratic governance that should follow. The most critical elements of democratic governance go beyond just free and fair elections to the protection of political rights for those in political opposition, the open function of a civil society and free press, and an independent judiciary.” (Page 191)
In this quote, Bhutto is explaining how there is more to a democracy than elections. While people have the voice to vote, a true democracy boils down to how the elected officials go about pressing issues. I agree with this statement in the sense that elected officials must be the voice for the people, and stand by what majority wants. This would then be a true democracy.