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Apr 05 2011

The barbaric killings in Afghanistan

People who choose not to be affiliated with any religion are the fastest growing segment of the population in the world. In contrast, all religions are in decline except for Islam which seems to be in a growth mode largely because of its high birth rates. When Islam goes into decline, as it surely will like all the other religions, it will in large part be due to actions like those of the murderous fanatics who rampaged in Afghanistan and killed over 20 people (even beheading some) in retaliation for the burning of a Koran in the US.

Such an atrocity cannot help but cause acute discomfort to any Muslim who likes to see himself or herself as part of the modern world. While murdering people (like blasphemers or apostates) who commit an act that is offensive to your religious beliefs has a barbaric logic to it that presumably makes sense to the appropriately insane, killing innocent people who just happen to be nearby because you cannot lay hands on the people who did the offensive act is so outside the bounds of reason that no one who has any pretence to being part of the modern world will even try to find justifications for it. Doing so immediately brands one as being outside the pale of normal human society.

And this is what Muslims who aspire to modernity have to confront. The people in Afghanistan who committed that atrocity claim to be acting in the service of their god. It is no good for so-called ‘moderate’ Muslims to say that these people are misguided and that ‘true’ Islam (i.e., their own version) would frown on such acts. People will be forced to ask themselves what it is about their religion that makes people even consider the possibility that killing innocent people for the actions of others is noble and that their god will look favorably on them for doing so.

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