Rationalizing terror

From IHT:

[...] An essential first step is admitting we have a problem. The terrible attacks of recent days occurred during the annual pilgrimage to Mecca, Islam's most solemn act of atonement. The introspection and self-criticism of this sacred time offer an ideal moment to acknowledge the sacrilege of terrorism and the sin of being a passive bystander.

We must also avoid the temptation to rationalize murder. "The attack is wrong," goes a common refrain, "but we must understand the root causes."

There can be no "buts" - no qualifications or justifications that indulge the political grievances and religious sanction claimed by extremists.


Taking an unequivocal stand against human sacrifice does not require radical reinterpretation of Muslim tradition. In fact, it is addressed directly in the new-year holiday of Eid al-Adha - the "Festival of the Sacrifice" - which commemorates Abraham's near-sacrifice of Ismael. In the Koran, it is Abraham's first-born son, not Isaac, whom God demands as a sacrifice. Bound to the altar, Ismael is spared at the last second, as Abraham's knife falls on a lamb instead.

Some focus on the first half of this incident, hailing Abraham as a man so obedient to God's will that he would kill his own offspring without hesitation. A twisted manifestation of this interpretation was on display last week in Toronto, as Muhammad Parvez strangled his teenage daughter to death for refusing to wear a hijab.

Here was a neighborhood parent (not a radical in a faraway land) so consumed with righteous anger that he would sacrifice his own daughter. [...]

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