Saturday, September 15, 2012

Middle East 101 For Preppers

Part of your preparedness is finding out information that affects your survival as soon as possible. Just as you can handle an emergency better if you keep tabs on storms headed your way, you will do better preparedness if you keep track of civil and political storms in the Middle East. 

Most people need fuel for their daily lives and a lot of the world's supply of fuel comes from the Middle East, or not. If there is a big enough disturbance in the Middle East, there can be an immediate fuel crisis.

War in the Middle East has a way of spreading and dragging other countries clear across the world into it, as peacekeepers, if not doing the fighting.

It is very difficult to figure out what is going on in the Middle East unless you know some basics about Islamic people and countries. I am not an expert on Islamic people and countries, but I took a class on this and have been interested and learning about it since. Therefore I know something about it, which practically makes me an expert compared to the average person. :-P

There are two main sects in the Muslim religion. They are Sunnis and Shiites. Shiites tend to be more fundamentalist than Sunnis most of the time. This means Shiites usually like a stricter, more literal interpretation of the Koran than most Sunnis. 

Sunnis are often more tolerant of people who have different religions. There is a part of the Koran (Islamic Holy Book), that says that other "people of the Book" are ok and their beliefs are acceptable to Gd and Muslims. This is usually interpreted as two "Books", the Christian Bible, and the Jewish Torah. Tolerant Muslims even consider it acceptable to marry other people of the Book. 

You may not be considered to be people of the Book if you belong to the religions, or churches that believe in the Bible or Torah and do not practice your religion. If you are not people of the Book, that can mean to some Muslim fundamentalists that they have a duty to kill you or convert you. Most Muslims are not that extreme, however.

There is another Islamic sect that is fairly numerous and well known. They are called Sufis. They are Muslim mystics. They dance as a form of worship and meditation is an important part of their religious practice. They are generally accepted by both Shiites and Sunnis. Shiites and Sunnis are sometimes not on good terms with each other, and occasionally fight each other. This most often happens when the members of the ruling class belong to Sunnis and most of the general populace is Shiite or vice versa.

There are various smaller factions within Shiites and Sunnis who may have quite different beliefs from the general ones in their Islamic sect. One of these is Salufis. The rulers of Saudi Arabia and Osama Bin Laden and many of the early El Quaeda members were Salufis.

Salufis are more conservative than most Sunnis. Some of the people who took action on their feeling of offense by the video demeaning Mohammed were Salufis. Here is a link explaining more about Salifis:

One major difference between Muslims and Christians is how much agreement there is between members. A room full of Christians could have a hard time agreeing on much of anything. It would be different with a room full of Muslims. 

One of the things that a room full of Muslims would agree on is what happens if their religion or one of its important parts is insulted. This comparative unanimity can be very bad for someone who does the insulting, or anyone connected to them.

This comparative shared Muslim agreement can make it hard for an average Muslim to understand why if one Christian insults them or their religion, that all other Christians were not involved. This can also be true for someone from one country who insults them. A lot of Muslims do not get it that all Americans did not insult their religion, or intend to do that, even though one American dweeb insulted them. 

Misunderstandings like that can get people killed and even start wars. Now that we have a misunderstanding going between many Muslims and Americans, you might want to work a little harder on your emergency preparedness. That would apply whether you are Muslim, American, or work in an Embassy.

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