Monday, April 23, 2007

Tolerance and Unitarians

Now here is something new to me. There are two religions encompassing people known as Unitarians. See if you can guess which religions from these descriptions.

1. Along with the fundamental doctrine (the unity of God), certain characteristics have always marked those who profess unitarianism: a large degree of tolerance, a minimizing of essentials, a repugnance to formulated creed and an historical study of scripture.

2. An oath of absolute loyalty to a religious leader, to follow his every interpretation of scripture and to foreswear all other interpretations, to hate apostates, blasphemers and unbelievers, and to follow the leader in killing apostates, blasphemers and unbelievers, as may be required.

Not too hard now, was it?

The Islamic unitarianism is better known today as Wahhabism (after its 18th century founder, al-Wahhab). It is the official version of Islam taught in Saudi Arabia and in mosques and madrasses around the world supported by Saudi petro-dollars. It is the version espoused by the Taliban in Afghanistan, and endorsed by Osama bin Laden and his associates and acolytes. But originally, the theology was called ad Dawa lil Tawhid, which translates as The Call to Unity. Hence the name Unitarians.

I am indebted to the excellent book, GOD'S TERRORISTS, The Wahhabi Cult and the Hidden Roots of Modern Jihad, by the British historian, Charles Allen.

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