I always have hope that with the ringing in of a New Year things might change - hopefully for the better. I know it's just another day, but for some reason the fact that we start back at January 1st, once again, signals a kind of shift- a renewed energy and excitement about the many possibilities a new year might bring.
2010 was not so great both on a personal and global level, with all the natural disasters and economic woes. But what concerns me more than my petty challenges in life are the worsening global conditions, specifically the ever increasing, never-ending violence around the world, mostly in the name of one specific religion. And sadly, I don't think a new year is likely to change the course of those events. The ranks of those hell bent on establishing a third caliphate are increasing exponentially. We saw evidence of this in all the incredible violence across the planet in 2010- all the thwarted terrorist attempts, and actual acts of terrorism. Yes, there was some violence perpetrated by lunatic anarchists, but the bulk of the death and destruction last year was in the name of Allah.
And while Muslims in the West increased their demands for special treatment and other ( sometimes major) concessions through threats and lawsuits, and attempted to muzzle criticism of their religion through howls of racism, xenophobia and Islamophobia (successfully at times), non-Muslims in Muslim-majority countries experienced an increase in violence and intolerance. Christians (and other minority religions) continued to be killed and persecuted in most if not all of those countries. And to cap that intolerant mind-set, on Friday, December 31st Pakistan came to a standstill when a mass strike by Pakistanis (instigated by Sunni Muslim clerics) occurred in response to reports that the government was considering doing away with the Blasphemy Laws. Those oh-so humane laws which can arbitrarily condemn a man or woman to death for insulting Islam or Mohammad, and on mere hear-say, mind you. I suppose it was a fitting end to the year.
And my pollyanna-ish hopes that things might change this coming year came to a crashing halt when I read today, the first day of 2011, that a suicide bomber blew up a Coptic Christian Church in Egypt. At least 21 were killed.
No, nothing is going to change until Islam joins us in the 21st century.