By Shenali Waduge
Historically Christianity & Islam has been at odds. Both remain engaged in a historical endeavour to overrule & over power the other while at another level both join to influence other religions and their status quo. Both Vatican/Holy See and the stricter form of Islam (Wahhabism) under control of Saudi have at their disposal a plethora of trigger points that are used to influence non-Islamic & non-Christian/Catholic nations politically, culturally, economically, via international trade, diplomatically and even socially. They have groups steering these endeavours at state, non-state, NGOs, INGO and even private capacity levels. These facts have to be taken into account whenever either or both join to chagrin other religions and people following other faiths.
There are 2.2billion Christians worldwide. In 1900 the Christian population was just 600million. Christians in Sub-Saharan Africa was 9% in 1910, in 2010 it has shot up to 63%. In Asia-Pacific the Christian populace in 1910 was 3%, it is 7% in 2010 (Pew Research)
Catholics number 1.1billion. Over 285million are Evangelicals. Other offshoots include Assemblies of God, Independent Bible Churches, etc.
A shocking 33,000 Christian denominations interpret Scriptures differently.
Indonesia, a Muslim majority country is home to more Christians than all 20 countries in the Middle-East North Africa region combined. More than a third of Christians (37%) live in Americas where nearly 9 out of 10 (86%) are Christian. US, Brazil, Mexico account for nearly 1 in every 4 Christians worldwide.
Jesus was the poorest of the poor, Roman Catholicism which claims to be His Church, is the richest of the rich, the wealthiest institution on earth. The Church of England’s income was £1.41 billion in 2013 – beating McDonald’s.
The Vatican refers to the Vatican City, an independent sovereign territory located in Rome, Italy. Vatican is home to the Pope, the leader of the Roman Catholic Church and the Holy See, which is the government of the Catholic Church.
The Pope is the leader of this absolute monarchy, while the legislature is run by Cardinals (Pontifical Commission) Vatican City is 0.17sq.miles and occupies 850 people. The Pope is leader to 1.2billion Catholics worldwide. Vatican’s annual revenue is more than $300million. Vatican is protected by the Pontifical Swiss Guards Corps.
Vatican Bank, officially titled the Institute for the Works of Religion (also known as IOR), manages $8bn of assets. The Bank also has gold reserves worth over $20m with the US Federal Reserve. the CIA estimates Vatican City’s 2011 revenue to be $308m.
The Holy See (the Government of the Church) has investments in the New York Stock Exchange, in real estate, pharmaceutical companies that manufacture birth control, There is also allegations that Vatican is the main shareholder of arms manufacturer – Pietro Beretta. Because of its sovereignty, the Vatican Bank has the ability to withhold account information from regulators and authorities.
The Vatican exerts power on countries that have significant catholic populace and it also influences international donor agencies.
Jean-Guy Vaillancourt, professor of sociology at the University of Montreal says
Report by Center for Reproductive Law & Policy questions the entry of the Vatican to the UN being the only religion to be accepted as it can influence population, family planning, and women’s rights. Vatican has held high profile positions in 1992 United Nations Conference on Environment and Development, the 1993 Vienna Conference on Human Rights. http://www.population-securit
Then there is Opus Dei – one of the most influential religious organizations in the world. It holds enormous power over local communities. Publicly it donates to locals in need, but underneath much controversy exists. Dan Browns’ Da Vinci Code reveals the cult nature of it.
The US has channelled millions to influence foreign elections. $10 million was sent to the Christian Democrats in Italy’s 1948 election campaign. CIA has also been used to overthrow elected governments and prop up puppets. George E. Irani’s book, The Papacy and the Middle East, illustrates the Vatican’s involvement in Lebanon’s series of religious wars in the 1970s and 1980s.
More than 70% religious non-government organisations (NGOs) at the UN are Christian while, the Vatican enjoys a special observer status, as a state and religion. Muslim NGOs are often represented through the collective of states in the Organisation of Islamic Cooperation. http://www.independent.co.uk/n
Overall, the UN regularly engages with more than 3,000 non-governmental organisations afforded ‘official’ UN status. Around 10 per cent are classified as FBOs, implying that their activities and goals are significantly moulded by religious orientations and principles.
Then at the other end of the spectrum is Islam.
In July 2013, Wahhabism was identified by the European Parliament in Strasbourg as the main source of global terrorism. In the 1970s, with the help of funding from petroleum exports and other factors, Saudi charities started funding Wahhabi schools (madrassas) and mosques across the globe (UK Telegraph)
US State Department estimated that over the past four decades Riyadh has invested more than $10bn (£6bn) into charitable foundations in an attempt to replace mainstream Sunni Islam with the harsh intolerance of its Wahhabism. http://www.telegraph.co.uk/new
The intelligence service of India estimates more than $244 million has been spent by Saudi Wahhabis during the past decade to set up 40 new mosques and four new madrassas and take over hundreds of others across the subcontinent, from Kashmir in the north to Maharashtra in the west and Kerala in the south. The years 2011 to 2013 alone saw a record number of 25,000 Wahabis coming to India and conducting seminars in various parts of the country. With them they brought in Rs 1700 crore in several installments and used it to propogate the Wahabi style of Islam. The Saudi sponsored Wahabis are aiming to set up their own education system in India – Rs 800 crore is being spent on setting up Universities in different parts of the country. They have earmarked Rs 400 crore to set up 40 Mosques adhering only to Wahabi preachings
In Bosnia, too, Saudi financing has been central since the end of the civil war, in 1995, for construction of new mosques and cultural centers, such as the King Fahd Mosque in Sarajevo. Saudi and Qatari Wahhabi charities controlled 60% of mosques in Italy by 2009. 80% of the 1,200 mosques operating in the US were constructed after 2001 & with Saudi money.
The money trail reflects the larger trend of the Saudi financing of Wahhabism abroad. Funds are funneled from Saudi sources through multiple, seemingly innocuous bank accounts—often via Qatar and Kuwait—reaching the accounts of mosques and imams who make distributions to Wahhabi organizations and individuals abroad. (Carol E. B. Choksy)
Bob Graham, a former Democratic senator from Florida who has called for declassification of the portion of the 9/11 Commission report dealing with Saudi Arabian links to the hijackers, says ISIS “is a product of Saudi ideals, Saudi money, and Saudi organizational support.”
According to the Saudi monarchy’s official websites, Wahhabi charities and royal trusts, including that of another Saudi ruler, the late King Fahd, spent millions of dollars recruiting students to more than 1,500 mosques, 210 Muslim centers, 202 Islamic colleges, and 2,000 madrassas and on staffing those institutions with nearly 4,000 preachers and missionaries in non-Muslim nations in central, southern, and southeast Asia, as well as in Africa, Europe, and North America.
Using the majority Muslim countries which number over 50, the IOC joins as a bloc of nations to make demands and exerts power over non-Muslim nations using trade, tourism, UN, UNHRC, local Muslims/local mosques/local Muslim politicians etc. Money is disbursed to not only promote Islam but also purchase property & land, shares in countries, investments etc and all these added up make formidable challenges to any non-Muslim countries. Islam exerts power politically, socially, economically, culturally using both state and non-state apparatus and these pose issues and concerns.
Let us clear some facts about the 3 Abrahamic religions. Both Islam and the Generic Church stand guilty of pursuing world conquest and domination through control of territory and people while Judaism pursued goal of dominating the world by controlling the world’s capital. That historical mandate of conquest continues using pan-national/international structures and ‘liberal’ politically correct idioms, Islam adopts the method of increasing Muslim population through birth and conversions while Judaism continues to control the world’s wealth. Where does this leave a compassionate philosophy like Buddhism and its adherents?
The trigger points of influence by these 3 Abrahamic faiths is clear and prevalent across Government and non-Government (private/Public) structures at every level. This is why communication/PR/media influences people’s minds against or for a cause that is directed or choreographed by those who own and influence these entities. This is why the Buddhists & Hindus almost always gets a raw deal electronically/print communication channels as well as by the UN, Western Governments & majority-Muslim states. There are no neutral countries today that are either Western or Islamic.
History is witness to how these Abrahamic faiths used the sword on behalf of their religion. Every murder, every territory taken was in the name of their God. Their new weapons have become the natives that have converted and the floors of the international agencies which they influence and the slogans democracy, freedom multiculturalism, human rights, racism, equality are perfect to interfere and dictate to non-Christian/non-Islamic countries which they eye to take over. There are only a few left. While both compete to take over non-Christian/non-Islamic territory they themselves are at odds with one another.
The Middle East and parts of Africa are in chaos. The new found friends to upset any country has become the Al Qaeda, ISIS and their off shoots. At the international level world trade is controlled by the IMF, WTO, World Bank who dictate the world order and money flow and control illegal & legal trade with the capacity to make bank collapse and recover. Hired Muslims and Christians are helping to kill innocent Muslims and Christians in a bogus war on terror.
It is in this global context that Buddhism/Buddhists face unprecedented challenges. Inside the UN the 70% NGOs, the Christian Western bloc vote, the Islamic bloc vote determines what UN officials deem ‘right’. Foreign government funds are also disbursed to non-state organizations to propagate a policy that gets subtly hidden in internationalized jargon. At the propaganda/media levels the situation is simple. A Christian/Islamic racist remark is given lesser coverage while a Buddhist or Hindu reacting to the remarks get full media attention and the electronic and print media goes into action to completely annihilate the person reacting ignoring the reason for the reaction. Moreover, there are hired people or those with bogus names tasked to denigrate Buddhism/Buddhists and this is flagged throughout the media channels given the impression that the world’s worst are no one but the Buddhists and Buddhism is to blame and this give reasons to sideline the place of Buddhism, marginalize the place given to Buddhism and that is what is being done vis a vis the new constitutional changes being proposed in Sri Lanka. The ground work has been nicely laid out to prepare people for the realization of the historical objective to oust Buddhism from its sacred role and position in Sri Lanka using all the jargon and people and institutes available and at their disposal.
It is only the people who have a solid understanding of the past, the historical background of Sri Lanka together with the understand of the influence and the trigger points that are used and are in control of the parties out to oust Buddhism, who understands the bigger picture.
The issue has nothing to do with people following the Abrahamic faiths. Most of them to not know or are totally unaware of what goes on inside these financially power religious institutions or what their leaders and their board of directors are really upto. What they are upto in reality has nothing to do with the philosophy that bore their faiths.
It is therefore time that people wake up to realities and place situations in their proper context.