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Good and Evil

Reader comment on item: A Madrassah in Bridgeview, Illinois

Submitted by Linas Kondratas (Lithuania), Jun 21, 2005 at 07:21

Dear Daniel Pipes,

I have read some of your comment on Islamic schools and my impression was the the most problematic thing with them is not so much their actual contents, but the mindset which informs all this contents - the belief in the absolute good and the absolute evil as the exclusive opposites. Such mentality can only lead to a position when on'es own camp is seen as the incarnation of the Good, while all other(eg. Jews, Christians etc.) are seen as the incarnation of the Evil, absolute Evil unmitigated by any particle of the Good. Such mindset can only lead to violence sooner or later.

Islam, however, being the strictest monoteism, cannot accept a belief in the absolute evil. If everything is created and supervised by God up to the pettiest particles, so there cannot be something absolutely evil at all! Everything is inherently good-in-itself, however some things can more useful to us while another are more harmful, yet all this harm and profit is relative and depends on circumstances and on who enters into contact with those things. If some things were prohibited and other ordered by Allah, it is not because of inherent evilness-in-itself or goodness-in-itself of these things, but because of the Divine imposition. If Allah prohibited something we should not think that this thing is evil-in-itself; He could prohibit it simply to test us and offer us possibility to show our obedience, or because He knew that this bring us more harm than benefit, in this world and in other; but we should abstain of making our ideas of what is harmful and beneficial to us as being the criteria of absolute good or absolute evil.

So I think until Muslims resident in USA will not realize that what I have said here above they will continue with their morality of ressentful slaves and losers, capable only staging a destructive rebellion against their "masters", but unable to produce something productive and creative.

To know this would be useful to Americans as well, not only for Muslims in America, because there are so many American people who believed and believe in the absolute dichotomy of good and evil, even presidents as Reagan and Bush who spoke about the "empire of Evil" and the "axis of evil". Americans should think that some muslims maybe harmful to them but this does not make them evil;they just happen to be harmful to them, but maybe they are beneficial to some other people. While Muslims should think that some Jews maybe are harmful to them but this does not make them evil;they just happen to be harmful to them, but maybe they are beneficial to some other people. An those who speak about other people as "apes and pigs" should not forget that even apes and pigs are creatures of God and as such not bad or unclean in themselves.

In the American society the problems generated by the belief of good-evil dichotomy are mitigated by profound and strong sense of pragmatism charcteristic for the anglo-saxon society; but the situation is very different in islamic communities of North America, very such beliefs induced both by Saudi and/or Iranian influence and by the local milieu have no counterweight. Yet Islam has a long tradition of the pragmatic thinking as well only that Muslims are unaware of all that.

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