Well religions and the disaster that it has brought along with it. Have you ever imagined how things would without anyone of us brainwashed believing there is a way to serve God (well to all of us that believe there is a God) which is the right way?
I just can’t help to not be interested in associating myself with any of the 2 most popular religions in the world. I believe every human’s got a purpose. On the bright side what has religion brought to everyone of us? Why have we left serving God to waving religious flags? Is it a curse to never find peace in the world because of difference in belief?
Why have we created religions to make God look so imperfect clueless and at the same time trying to cover it up with eulogy? You show how powerless he be and try to read out how fictitious his miracles sound? Who decides what gender God has to be? And who gets to win the argument about whose side God is on?
I have studied Religions ( Christianity, Islam, Buddhism, Judaism ) I have come to realization that the situation we have going on right now is a result of ethnocentrism and we are caught up right in the middle of it. Com’on what really is the difference? 2-3 cultures fighting for supremacy and claiming to be the chosen generation? Oh my! Only if African (Negroids) Ever tried to sail across the oceans right in front of them to feed their curiosity and see what lies beyond and never had to be the gullible, weak, unintelligent host that would carry the virus of so called civilization and religion. Look at how it has turned out for us. We believe we can practice better than the original owners of the cultures (trust me Islam is the traditional culture of Arabs while Christianity belongs to Caucasians and Judaism to Israelis).
Our culture and traditions were sabotaged by the colonialism of Africa, we have been brainwashed to believe there is no better way to have an acquaintance of what salvation really is except we accept the colonial ways. So sad! Well it is not their fault, we are a race of weak brains and little knowledge which we do not desire to learn and intellectualize, we are simply like a host which is waiting to accommodate the colonial virus and let it take over everything we ever had. The battle for supremacy between this cultures (Islam, Christianity and Judaism) have been going on for so long, but due to our ignorance and lack of intelligence we just didn’t know.
The Crusades were a series of religious wars sanctioned by the Latin Church in the medieval period. The most commonly known Crusades were the campaigns in the Eastern Mediterranean aimed at recovering the Holy Land from Muslim rule, but the term “Crusades” is also applied to other church-sanctioned campaigns, such as the crusade against the Cathars and the Baltic Crusades. These were fought for a variety of reasons including the suppression of paganism and heresy, the resolution of conflict among rival Roman Catholic groups, or for political and territorial advantage. At the time of the early Crusades the word did not exist, only becoming the leading descriptive term around 1760.
In 1095, Pope Urban II called for the First Crusade in a sermon at the Council of Clermont. He encouraged military support for the Byzantine Empire and its Emperor, Alexios I, who needed reinforcements for his conflict with westward migrating Turks colonizing Anatolia. One of Urban’s aims was to guarantee pilgrims access to the Eastern Mediterranean holy sites that were under Muslim control but scholars disagree as to whether this was the primary motive for Urban or those who heeded his call. Urban’s strategy may have been to unite the Eastern and Western branches of Christendom, which had been divided since the East–West Schism of 1054 and to establish himself as head of the unified Church. The initial success of the Crusade established the first four Crusader states in the Eastern Mediterranean: the County of Edessa, the Principality of Antioch, the Kingdom of Jerusalem and the County of Tripoli. The enthusiastic response to Urban’s preaching from all classes in Western Europe established a precedent for other Crusades. Volunteers became Crusaders by taking a public vow and receiving plenary indulgences from the Church. Some were hoping for a mass ascension into heaven at Jerusalem or God‘s forgiveness for all their sins. Others participated to satisfy feudal obligations, obtain glory and honour or to seek economic and political gain.
The two-century attempt to recover the Holy Land ended in failure. Following the First Crusade there were six major Crusades and numerous less significant ones. After the last Catholic outposts fell in 1291 there were no more Crusades but the gains were longer lasting in Northern and Western Europe. The Wendish Crusade and those of the Archbishop of Bremen brought all the North-East Baltic and the tribes of Mecklenburgand Lusatia under Catholic control in the late 12th century. In the early 13th century the Teutonic Order created a Crusader state in Prussia and the French monarchy used the Albigensian Crusade to extend the kingdom to the Mediterranean Sea. The rise of the Ottoman Empire in the late 14th century prompted a Catholic response which led to further defeats at Nicopolis in 1396 and Varna in 1444. Catholic Europe was in chaos and the final pivot of Christian–Islamic relations was marked by two seismic events: the fall of Constantinople to the Ottomans in 1453 and a final conclusive victory for the Spanish over the Moors with the conquest of Granada in 1492. The idea of Crusading continued, not least in the form of the Knights Hospitaller, until the end of the 18th century but the focus of Western European interest moved to the New World.
Modern historians hold widely varying opinions of the Crusaders. To some, their conduct was incongruous with the stated aims and implied moral authority of the papacy, as evidenced by the fact that on occasion the Pope excommunicated Crusaders. Crusaders often pillaged as they travelled, and their leaders generally retained control of captured territory instead of returning it to the Byzantines. During the People’s Crusade, thousands of Jews were murdered in what is now called the Rhineland massacres. Constantinople was sacked during the Fourth Crusade. However, the Crusades had a profound impact on Western civilisation: they reopened the Mediterranean to commerce and travel (enabling Genoaand Venice to flourish); they consolidated the collective identity of the Latin Church under papal leadership; and they constituted a wellspring for accounts of heroism, chivalry, and piety that galvanised medieval romance, philosophy, and literature. The Crusades also reinforced the connection between Western Christendom, feudalism, and militarism.
The Colonization of Africa
Ehiedu E. G. Iweriebor – Hunter College
Between the 1870s and 1900, Africa faced European imperialist aggression, diplomatic pressures, military invasions, and eventual conquest and colonization. At the same time, African societies put up various forms of resistance against the attempt to colonize their countries and impose foreign domination. By the early twentieth century, however, much of Africa, except Ethiopia and Liberia, had been colonized by European powers.
The European imperialist push into Africa was motivated by three main factors, economic, political, and social. It developed in the nineteenth century following the collapse of the profitability of the slave trade, its abolition and suppression, as well as the expansion of the European capitalist Industrial Revolution. The imperatives of capitalist industrialization—including the demand for assured sources of raw materials, the search for guaranteed markets and profitable investment outlets—spurred the European scramble and the partition and eventual conquest of Africa. Thus the primary motivation for European intrusion was economic.
The Scramble for Africa
But other factors played an important role in the process. The political impetus derived from the impact of inter-European power struggles and competition for preeminence. Britain, France, Germany, Belgium, Italy, Portugal, and Spain were competing for power within European power politics. One way to demonstrate national preeminence was through the acquisition of territories around the world, including Africa. The social factor was the third major element. As a result of industrialization, major social problems grew in Europe: unemployment, poverty, homelessness, social displacement from rural areas, and so on. These social problems developed partly because not all people could be absorbed by the new capitalist industries. One way to resolve this problem was to acquire colonies and export this “surplus population.” This led to the establishment of settler-colonies in Algeria, Tunisia, South Africa, Namibia, Angola, Mozambique, and central African areas like Zimbabwe and Zambia. Eventually the overriding economic factors led to the colonization of other parts of Africa.
Thus it was the interplay of these economic, political, and social factors and forces that led to the scramble for Africa and the frenzied attempts by European commercial, military, and political agents to declare and establish a stake in different parts of the continent through inter-imperialist commercial competition, the declaration of exclusive claims to particular territories for trade, the imposition of tariffs against other European traders, and claims to exclusive control of waterways and commercial routes in different parts of Africa.
This scramble was so intense that there were fears that it could lead to inter-imperialist conflicts and even wars. To prevent this, the German chancellor Otto von Bismarck convened a diplomatic summit of European powers in the late nineteenth century. This was the famous Berlin West African conference (more generally known as the Berlin Conference), held from November 1884 to February 1885. The conference produced a treaty known as the Berlin Act, with provisions to guide the conduct of the European inter-imperialist competition in Africa. Some of its major articles were as follows:
- The Principle of Notification (Notifying) other powers of a territorial annexation
- The Principle of Effective Occupation to validate the annexations
- Freedom of Trade in the Congo Basin
- Freedom of Navigation on the Niger and Congo Rivers
- Freedom of Trade to all nations
- Suppression of the Slave Trade by land and sea
This treaty, drawn up without African participation, provided the basis for the subsequent partition, invasion, and colonization of Africa by various European powers.
The African Resistance
The European imperialist designs and pressures of the late nineteenth century provoked African political and diplomatic responses and eventually military resistance. During and after the Berlin Conference various European countries sent out agents to sign so-called treaties of protection with the leaders of African societies, states, kingdoms, decentralized societies, and empires. The differential interpretation of these treaties by the contending forces often led to conflict between both parties and eventually to military encounters. For Europeans, these treaties meant that Africans had signed away their sovereignties to European powers; but for Africans, the treaties were merely diplomatic and commercial friendship treaties. After discovering that they had in effect been defrauded and that the European powers now wanted to impose and exercise political authority in their lands, African rulers organized militarily to resist the seizure of their lands and the imposition of colonial domination.
This situation was compounded by commercial conflicts between Europeans and Africans. During the early phase of the rise of primary commodity commerce (erroneously referred to in the literature as “Legitimate Trade or Commerce”), Europeans got their supplies of trade goods like palm oil, cotton, palm kernel, rubber, and groundnut from African intermediaries, but as the scramble intensified, they wanted to bypass the African intermediaries and trade directly with sources of the trade goods. Naturally Africans resisted and insisted on the maintenance of a system of commercial interaction with foreigners which expressed their sovereignties as autonomous political and economic entities and actors. For their part, the European merchants and trading companies called on their home governments to intervene and impose “free trade,” by force if necessary. It was these political, diplomatic, and commercial factors and contentions that led to the military conflicts and organized African resistance to European imperialism.
African military resistance took two main forms: guerrilla warfare and direct military engagement. While these were used as needed by African forces, the dominant type used depended on the political, social, and military organizations of the societies concerned. In general, small-scale societies, the decentralized societies (erroneously known as “stateless” societies), used guerrilla warfare because of their size and the absence of standing or professional armies. Instead of professional soldiers, small groups of organized fighters with a mastery of the terrain mounted resistance by using the classical guerrilla tactic of hit-and-run raids against stationary enemy forces. This was the approach used by the Igbo of southeastern Nigeria against the British. Even though the British imperialists swept through Igboland in three years, between 1900 and 1902, and despite the small scale of the societies, the Igbo put up protracted resistance. The resistance was diffuse and piecemeal, and therefore it was difficult to conquer them completely and declare absolute victory. Long after the British formally colonized Igboland, they had not fully mastered the territory.
Direct military engagement was most commonly organized by the centralized state systems, such as chiefdoms, city-states, kingdoms, and empires, which often had standing or professional armies and could therefore tackle the European forces with massed troops. This was the case with the resistance actions of the Ethiopians, the Zulu, the Mandinka leadership, and numerous other centralized states. In the case of Ethiopia, the imperialist intruder was Italy. It confronted a determined and sagacious military leader in the Ethiopian emperor Menelik II. As Italy intensified pressure in the 1890s to impose its rule over Ethiopia, the Ethiopians organized to resist. In the famous battle of Adwa in 1896, one hundred thousand Ethiopian troops confronted the Italians and inflicted a decisive defeat. Thereafter, Ethiopia was able to maintain its independence for much of the colonial period, except for a brief interlude of Italian oversight between 1936 and 1941.
Another example of resistance was the one organized by Samory Touré of the emergent Mandinka empire in West Africa. As this new empire spread and Touré attempted to forge a new political order he ran up against the French imperialists who were also trying extend their territories inland from their base in Dakar, Senegal. This brought the parties into conflict. Touré organized military and diplomatic resistance between 1882 and 1898. During this sixteen-year period, he used a variety of strategies, including guerrilla warfare, scorched-earth programs, and direct military engagement. For this last tactic he acquired arms, especially quick-firing rifles, from European merchant and traders in Sierra Leone and Senegal. He also established engineering workshops where weapons were repaired and parts were fabricated. With these resources and his well-trained forces and the motivation of national defense he provided his protracted resistance to the French. Eventually he was captured and, in 1898, exiled to Gabon, where he died in 1900.
A Period of Change
It is quite clear that most African societies fought fiercely and bravely to retain control over their countries and societies against European imperialist designs and military invasions. But the African societies eventually lost out. This was partly for political and technological reasons. The nineteenth century was a period of profound and even revolutionary changes in the political geography of Africa, characterized by the demise of old African kingdoms and empires and their reconfiguration into different political entities. Some of the old societies were reconstructed and new African societies were founded on different ideological and social premises. Consequently, African societies were in a state of flux, and many were organizationally weak and politically unstable. They were therefore unable to put up effective resistance against the European invaders.
The technological factor was expressed in the radical disparity between the technologies of warfare deployed by the contending European and African forces. African forces in general fought with bows, arrows, spears, swords, old rifles, and cavalries; the European forces, beneficiaries of the technical fruits of the Industrial Revolution, fought with more deadly firearms, machines guns, new rifles, and artillery guns. Thus in direct encounters European forces often won the day. But as the length of some resistance struggles amply demonstrates, Africans put up the best resistance with the resources they had.
By 1900 much of Africa had been colonized by seven European powers—Britain, France, Germany, Belgium, Spain, Portugal, and Italy. After the conquest of African decentralized and centralized states, the European powers set about establishing colonial state systems. The colonial state was the machinery of administrative domination established to facilitate effective control and exploitation of the colonized societies. Partly as a result of their origins in military conquest and partly because of the racist ideology of the imperialist enterprise, the colonial states were authoritarian, bureaucratic systems. Because they were imposed and maintained by force, without the consent of the governed, the colonial states never had the effective legitimacy of normal governments. Second, they were bureaucratic because they were administered by military officers and civil servants who were appointees of the colonial power. While they were all authoritarian, bureaucratic state systems, their forms of administration varied, partly due to the different national administrative traditions and specific imperialist ideologies of the colonizers and partly because of the political conditions in the various territories that they conquered.
ISLAM IN AFRICA
Africa was the first continent into which Islam spread from Southwest Asia during the early 7th century CE. Almost one-third of the world’s Muslim population resides in the continent. Muslims crossed current Djibouti and Somalia to seek refuge in present-day Eritrea and Ethiopia during the Hijrah (Arabic: هِـجْـرَة, ‘Migration’) to the Kingdom of Aksum. Most Muslims in Africa are Sunni; the complexity of Islam in Africa is revealed in the various schools of thought, traditions, and voices in many African countries. The practice of Islam on the continent is not static and is constantly being reshaped by prevalent social, economic, and political conditions. Generally Islam in Africa often adapted to African cultural contexts and belief systems forming Africa’s own orthodoxies.
It was estimated in 2002 that Muslims constitute 48% of the population of Africa. Islam has a large presence in North Africa, the Horn of Africa, the Swahili Coast, and much of West Africa, with minority immigrant populations in South Africa.
Islam has been in Africa for so long, since its emergence on the Arabian peninsula, that some scholars have argued that it is a traditional African religion.
Although the majority of Muslims in Africa are Sunni or Sufi, the complexity of Islam in Africa is revealed in the various schools of thought, traditions, and voices that constantly contend for dominance in many African countries. Islam in Africa is not static and is constantly being reshaped by prevalent social, economic and political conditions.
Islam in Africa is often adapted to local cultural contexts and belief systems, thereby forming the continent’s own orthodoxies. Different societies in Africa have generally appropriated Islam in both more inclusive ways, or in the more radical ways, as with the Almoravid movement in the Maghreb and Sahara.
Additionally, Islam in Africa has both local and global dimensions. On the local level, experts assert that Muslims (including African Muslims) operate with considerable autonomy and do not have an international organization that regulates their religious practices. This fact accounts for the differences and varieties in Islamic practices throughout the African continent. On the global level, Muslims in Africa are also part of the Ummah (Arabic: أُمَّـة, Islamic community worldwide), and follow global issues and current events that affect the Muslim world with keen interest. With globalization and new initiatives in information technology, Muslims in Africa have developed and maintained close connections with the wider Muslim world.
Analysts argue that Muslims in Africa, like other Muslims in Asia, the Middle East and the rest of the world, seem to be locked into an intense struggle regarding the future direction of Islam. At core of the struggle are questions about the way in which Muslims should practice their faith. The scholars assert that the majority seems to prefer to remain on the moderate, tolerant course that Islam has historically followed. However, a relatively small, but growing group would like to establish a stricter form of the religion, one that informs and controls all aspects of society.
We have taken all of this religion and are practicing while we believe to be saved, and fortunate to be serving God just the way he really wants us to. But it’s all a make-believe. God wouldn’t really need you to wave the christian or muslim flag. With our double standard hypocrisy we have committed more sins, we have spread hate and bigotry, leading to segregation, discrimination and many more things to cause disaster in our world.
May God have mercy on us…
(To be continued)