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Crazies are different from Islamic Terrorists

Reader comment on item: Who was the Prophet Muhammad?
in response to reader comment: Crazy is not limited to any group of people

Submitted by Gopi (United States), Mar 6, 2011 at 00:15

Dear Dr Pipes:

A lot of times in our society brutal crimes are committed by mentally disturbed people. A mistake that is either deliberately or ignorantly repeated over and over again is to draw similarities between these disturbed people and Islamic terrorists.

Your reader Cecilia Hamilton repeated this mistake in her letter on 3/3/2011. Drawing parallels between the unfortunate mentally disturbed people and Islamic terrorists has no logical basis for the following reasons and more: > Mentally disturbed people act alone. The christian mother(s) who killed their infant children just happened to be Christians. They did not act in this manner because they were Christians. And even if they did (due to some misguided/misinterpreted Christian beliefs) they did not act against any or all non-Christian groups. This cannot be said about Islamic terrorists. The terrorists target their actions against those who are different. >

The driving pholosophy of these disturbed people (if there is any such thing) is not as widespread as the driving philosophy of the terrorists. The terrorists are spread across many distant countries, share identical methods and rhetoric and, often times, are connected to each other.> The driving philosophies of these disturbed people has no historical continuum. They act occasionally and independently. The mother who killed her children did not take her inspiration from any one who lived ten or hundred or thousand years ago. After these disturbed people act, there are no apologists acting on behalf of these people. People seek mercy for them and pray for peace of their minds but no one says that these people are not responsible for their actions because they suffered injustice at someone else's hands.

When reasons such as the ones cited by me above do not apply and when certain Christians (or any other followers of other religions) resort to organized violent actions, they and their supporters are amply condemned (e.g people who destroy abortion clinics). Islamic terrorists and their supporters should be similarly condemned.

Last but not the least even if it is granted that there is no difference between the mindsets of the mother who killed her children and an Islamic terrorist (like Major Nidal Malik Hasan), one must wonder why the instances of craziness are so widespread in Islamic societies than elsewhere (have you heard about hundreds of instances of killings in Yemen, Israel, Kashmir, Mumbai, South Phillipines, Indonesia, Pakistan, and, yes, New York). I will probably not be able to change Hamilton's point of view but hopefully I will be able to stop her mistaken view from spreading.


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