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On the relationship of Spirituality, Suicide, and Absence of Conscience in Islam

Reader comment on item: When Sunni and Shiite Extremists Make War
in response to reader comment: Spirituality in Islam

Submitted by Ron Thompson (United States), Jun 20, 2013 at 11:18

I agree strongly with 'biccky' on everything he/she(?) said, except for the last thought.

It is a dominant, perhaps the dominant, reality of Islam that Mohammed repeatedly commanded his adherents, in so many words, to NOT have a conscience (specific cites should be inserted here). This leads the most devout Muslims to say to those of other faiths, "You are weak, because you have mercy in your religion. We are strong because we have no mercy." I have repeatedly seen reports of Palestinians saying this to Israelis in response to the practices Israelis engage in to minimize the loss of life in their deadly struggle with Hamas and others.

This reality of a cultivated and inculcated absence of conscience also takes the form of the most blood-curdling statements coming from numerous clerics all over the Middle East, statements explaining Islam-permitted cannibalism, rape, beheading, cutting out of tongues, death fatwas toward any critics, etc.

Absence of Conscience also involves that major institution of Islamic thought, Taqqiya, i.e. the lying and deceit toward all 'infidels' expressly permitted, and which must therefore potentially poison all dealings by non-Muslims with devout Muslims. (Bad, i.e. non-devout Muslims are another matter, being pretty much like all other human beings. It is of course an unfortunate paradox that someone born Muslim must be a bad Muslim in order to be a decent, trustworthy human being to non-Muslims )

The other way to make the same point about the Lack of Conscience in Islam is to note that the religion has no version of the Golden Rule, which is central, expressly or implicitly, in all the other religions cited by 'biccky'.

The author is also right regarding suicides, a point I hadn't thought of. That is, right about the Western idea of suicide, which seems always to involve some profound element of despair, except perhaps when terminal illness is involved. These kinds of suicide do not seem to occur as often in Muslim countries (although I read recently that the son of the new allegedly reformist President of Iran committed suicide in 1992 as a protest against his father's commitment to the Shiite theocracy and its practices)

But this leaves out that specific and institutionalized contribution of Islamic civilization, suicide bombing, aimed to achieve mass murder and terror, which is committed not in despair but in the expectation of an afterlife of eternal bliss as a reward for such behavior. The Muslim-on-Muslim form of these holy atrocities often involves targeting markets, weddings, funerals, hospitals, women and children, and of course the behavior that in other cultures and religions would be regarded as a desecration, suicide bombings inside Mosques. It's hard to imagine behaviors more free of conscience than these which, it might be noted, are never condemned as something to be ashamed of about Islam.

So thanks for an important thought, to which I'd add this caveat about the particular and peculiar behavior of suicide in the Islamic faith.

Submitting....

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