Barbados Advocate Editorial: Islam, Rastafarianism are “extremist religions”

Bob Marley: Extremist - just like Muslim suicide bombers!

Also: Intolerant, arguing Christians are just like mass-murdering Al Qaeda

Dear BFP and fellow readers,

Have you read the Barbados Advocate ‘editorial’ called “Tolerance the path to peace” ???

What pap. What rubbish. Aside from the pure idiocy of some of the stated “facts” and conclusions, I’d just like to know what the author was smoking and where they got it – because it must be excellent herb!

submitted by “Big Cutter”

Further Reading

BFP will reprint the entire Barbados Advocate editorial here because you know how that paper changes history – but you should still go to the paper’s website to read the full article because it’s only fair. (link above)

Tolerance the path to peace

5/29/2011

Throughout the ages, extremist religions such as Islam and Rastafarianism, among others, have been loudly criticised, mainly because of their evident differences from each other and from Christianity. Similarly, there exists a situation where people in these religions castigate outsiders because they refuse to conform to what they each considers to be the “true” religion or faith.

Religion, like politics, and cricket in the Caribbean, can be a very testy subject, simply because any discussion on the subject tends to be based in a large part on an individual’s faith. Even within each religion, there exist sects where the beliefs can vary from the strictest followers, (fanatics), to those who are somewhat more liberal in terms of the proposed guidelines that should be followed. This situation very often causes conflict even among believers of the same religion.

Some readers might think immediately of organisations such as Al Qaeda where more liberal followers of the Muslim faith are excommunicated and killed for refusing to adhere to the strictest beliefs of the religion. These religious differences have caused major problems around the globe, and it must acknowledged that Barbados experiences the same behaviour, right here in our own backyard, even if on a much smaller scale.

Here at home, the main religion practised on the island is Christianity with small representations of other religions including Islam, Buddhism, Hinduism, and others. Within the Christian faith there are several separate denominations such as Catholicism, Jehovah’s Witnesses, Pentecostals and Adventists, among others which are fairly similar. However, the disparities between them are capable of causing arguments.

Many of these conflicts occur due to the fact that like with the Al Qaeda sect of the Islam religion there can be zealots, and then there are others who adopt a moderate stance. Although not escalated to extreme situations such as war and genocide, it is still necessary to examine the root of such conflict in order to prevent more serious occurrences.

The main lesson here should be that of acceptance. As simplistic and unlikely a concept as this is, it is probably the solution to the entire world’s religious problems. In the Old Testament of the Bible the Jews were believed to be God’s people, with non-Jews being called the Gentiles. As a result, laws were established according to Jewish beliefs with punishments being documented for those in breach. According to the teachings of the Christian Bible, when Jesus came to earth, he preached His message and performed His miracles for Jews and Gentiles alike with no discrimination among the people.

Jesus accepted the differences of all the people that He met in His life, regardless of gender, occupation, and even religious belief. He set about proclaiming the goodness of God both through His words and in the actual way that He lived. In His life, He set an example for everyone then and for those of us who would later seek to follow in His teachings. We have a long way to go before we can boast of being in His image.

Those Christians in our society should all try to live our lives following as closely in His footprints as possible. Similarly, those of other religions should do their best to uphold their respective beliefs. Tolerance is key. Rather than judging and discriminating against others for their differences, we should accept them and try to make our own lives a beacon for all to follow.

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4 Comments

Filed under Barbados, Religion

4 responses to “Barbados Advocate Editorial: Islam, Rastafarianism are “extremist religions”

  1. J. Payne

    First thing. It was an editorial, meaning it may not actually the Barbados Advocate’s views… Second, when I read it I understood it to be a historic perspective of Rastafari (remember they hate “isms”, so it is just Rastafari). The A-Z of Barbados heritage says the following of Rastafiari: (Pg. 164″Epitomising the black man’s search for his identity in the New World, first emerged in Jamaica in the early 1930s . Its leader was Leonard Howell, and other names associated with its early existence are Robert Hinds, Henry Dunkley, and Joseph Hibbert.
    The movement was heavily influenced by the teachings of Marcus Garvey, who proclaimed during the 1920s that blacks in the New World would soo be physically repatriated to Africsa, and he was said to have urged his people to ‘look to Africa, when a black King shall be crowned, for the day of deliverance is at hand.’ When Ethiopia in 1930, Ras (or, Prince) Tafari was crowned Emperor Halie Salassie, King of Kings, Lord of Lords, and the conquering Lion of the tribe of Judah, it was seen by many as the fulfilment of prophecy, and the Rastafar(ian) movement was born.
    Follower of nurtured pride in their blackness, and in their work, embracing the arts and sports and games, while rejecting what they regard the white man’s decadent lifestyle. Marijuana became their sacred sacrament and eventually they adopted the lion’s image, wearing the hair in ‘dreadlocks’ to imitate the lion’s mane.
    The movement gradually spread throughout the Caribbean, impacting on Barbados around 1973, its popularity heightened after the visit of the Jamaican band, Third World.
    During the early years, the movement gained a significant number of followers, and inevitably the ranks of the genuine Rastafarians were joined by some undesirables including social drop outs and some criminals, the latter whom felt the ‘dreadlocks’ hairstyle offered some anonymity. This period was one of turbulence for the movement , which was met with hostility from the general public, especially when the media highlighted crimes by ‘dreadlocks’.
    Gradually there was a period of ‘settling down’. and those not genuinely in Rastafarian(ism) resumed their former lifestyles, leaving the genuine members, who have now more ir less been accepted by society. Many of them make significant contributions to sports, craft and arts.”

  2. J. Payne

    I used to be what Iwer George affectionately called a “Bald head rasta”. I didn’t take on weed, and my hair texture is straight (what some call “good hair”) and would not kink unless I treated it heavily. This started to get expensive so I gave up on ‘kinking’ and eventually the whole ideal.
    Rastafari was indeed considered a fanatic religion. One important fact is it has taken on mainstream norms now. My understanding of true traditional Rastafari meant that a black person shouldn’t seek or even believe in upward mobility, because it was counter culture, you’re not supposed to do anything that “Babylon” (colonial ‘first world’ whites) did. So in those days math, science, being an attorney, politician, anything so, doing good in school and/or trying to seek good high paying jobs are contrary to Rastafari. Do so would mean an individual would be joining or practising the Babylon way of life. True rastas in theory are supposed to stay in the jungles. I also started pondering what would happen if a nation full of citizens took-on these traditional Rasta ideals, of not assimilating with the global system. Would not that nation fall further and further behind developed nations which are engaged in science, technology, and seeking upward mobility for their citizens? Therefore, I found it all to be contrary to freeing one’s self from mental slavery. I couldn’t embrace a religion that basically told me ‘try and live in the jungle and don’t do anything to better myself.’ That seemed so backwards to me and I think would guarantee my descendants also would remain slaves of the global system.
    Rastafari also spoke of black people having pride in themselves meaning *only* black men and black women should be together, but nowadays you see many a’ rasta trying to hit on the “white” tourists. So I couldn’t pick sense out of that. Some Barbadians are mixed now anyway so the whole thing just seemed racist to me. I felt that if someone has an interest in someone, it shouldn’t matter what race they are. Live and let live.
    The next thing I couldn’t understand, the central god of Rastafari, Haile Selassie I ( https://secure.wikimedia.org/wikipedia/en/wiki/Haile_Sellassie ) is also long dead and gone. Since then, somehow modern Rastafari has somehow replaced “Jah” to mean Jehovah (Jesus), and some have even gone so far as to make their version of Jesus black to try and retain some relevance, but I feel the original spirit isn’t there any longer.
    I also couldn’t figure out how Rastafari would be sustainable in Barbados. Barbados is the second most densely populated place in the Americas (behind only Bermuda) thus all of the land of Barbados (in theory) has been owned by someone since the 1600s. Therefore, if I don’t work hard to buy my own land to live in “jungle” how am I going to do that? I would have to make money somehow to eat, survive, and buy land to live on and do nothing. And, if 3 wall houses build up around my land the value will go up and I’d have to pay higher taxes soon enough on it. So I would need some good income to survive. And it seem like it would force me to tief in order to survive. I couldn’t see how Rastafari would work in a modern Barbados… I would have to give up electricity, TV, piped water, car, nice house and all that since those things require a descent income to maintain. Traditional Rastafari I don’t believe is practised by many people in Barbados. Most in Barbados may cherry-pick a part here or part there but I don’t think anybody going back to the original values.
    Furthermore, call it racist if you want but I am proud that my ancestors are from Barbados (and to a lesser extent Trinidad and Tobago.) Of all the places in the world where my family could be born, God blessed me to have Barbados as home. Healthcare, education, good transportation, no civil wars, I don’t have to dodge bombs on my way to the market, etc. Barbados is a blessed place. I have no desire to do as Rastafari says and move back to Africa. As the old people say “I’m alight where I am”, so I don’t see a need to move back to Africa as Rastafari believes in. Traditionally Rastafari seemed doomed to failure so I gave it up. But to answer the question, I agree with the assessment printed via the Barbados Advocate, back then that whole way of life day was considered a fanatical way of life. Esp. to the colonial status quo. Rastafari was a resistance movement.

  3. Blackbird

    Talking about religious intolerance…does anyone remember a little thing called The Crusades? Ask any historian about how tolerant Christians have been historically. Does anyone remember slavery and the Age of Exploration? How many slaves were beaten, killed, and enslaved for hundreds of years in the name of Christianity? Ask the Tainos and other Native American people about religious “tolerance” in the name of Christianity. Ask the Jews about the Holocaust and those “Christian” Germans who participated or simply said nothing as millions were murdered. As a practicing Christian, we certainly have nothing to brag about in terms of how Christianity has been practiced historically throughout the world. And we certainly can’t grandstand about how much better we are as a religion than others based on this history.
    By the way, who said that Jesus wasn’t black…was he white, Asian? And in the end, who really cares? For years, people of color were told and shown illustrations of him as a white man with blue eyes. So what if we now chose to believe he is black? And to my Rastafarian brethren….Jah live!