Yesterday I wrote that Muslims have a problem: a significant number of them believe that killing non-Muslims (or ‘bad’ Muslims) is a legitimate expression of their grievances (and boy, do they have grievances).
Here is another example:
Last March, Mohammed Merah entered the Ozar Hatorah school on a motorcycle and gunned down a 30-year-old religious education teacher and his two sons, aged 3 and 6 and the 10-year-old daughter of the school principal. …
Lucien Abdelrhafor, a French national of Moroccan origin who claimed to be Merah’s cousin, was arrested over the weekend for making a threatening phone call to the French Jewish school …
According to SPCJ, the French Jewish community’s security service, the man called the school on Sept. 16 and told a secretary “I am Mohammed Merah’s cousin and I’m coming over tonight to kill you.”
According to reports, the man was not actually related to Merah, but had recently become extremely religious.
Just a nut? Probably. For every terrorist murder there are probably 100 threatening phone calls made by nuts.
Look at the last sentence above. Do you see the problem?
Here is a description of Lucien from another source (my translation):
Lucien, who called himself Lahcène, was born of an unknown father and a Moroccan mother, into a family of nine brothers and sisters who did not practice Islam. He has been regularly attending the Luxeuil mosque for four years. Unemployed but enrolled at the local mission, he admits to two passions in life: “religion and football.”
The police noted religious books in his room, and a photo of a jihadist holding an RPG on the screen of his mobile phone.
Lucien likely was incapable of murder. But being passionate about religion, for him, meant being violent in its name.
The problem is the equation of piety with violence. A significant number of Muslims, often including recent converts or returnees to Islam, seem to believe that the more ‘religious’ you are, the more violent you will be (usually presented as violence in defense of Islam, although it may seem aggressive to us).
A more moderate Muslim might find it hard to criticize extremists, even if he thinks their behavior is not productive or excessively cruel, because he sees it as an excess of piety, something good in itself. Extremism is seen as Islam done more seriously. To criticize extremists would be to criticize Islam. So there are many Muslims who are not extremists themselves who keep quiet, and even contribute money in support of extremist organizations.
Although there are violent extremists in Christianity and Judaism, they are not generally considered ‘more religious’ than the moderate majority — they are marginalized, placed outside the tent.
Critics will say that I am overgeneralizing, that not every Muslim thinks like this. And I agree. But there are enough who do to enable, encourage and financially support the jihadists among them.
British PM David Cameron was entirely wrong when he said,
These appalling terrorist attacks that take place where the perpetrators claim they do it in the name of a religion – they don’t. They do it in the name of terror, violence and extremism and their warped view of the world. They don’t represent Islam or Muslims in Britain or anywhere else in the world.
They do it precisely in the name of Islam. And a great many other Muslims understand and even accept this.
As I wrote yesterday, this is a Muslim problem that Muslims must solve.