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Violence with mass approval vs franchised violence

Reader comment on item: Salman Rushdie Was Never Safe
in response to reader comment: Weakness in Retaliation that Does Not Have Enough Justification - Validation of Fatwa Serving Selfish Purposes

Submitted by Prashant (United States), Aug 22, 2022 at 13:57

Dear Dr Pipes, your reader David Ryan suggested that retaliation for the attack on Salman Rushdie was needed in Tehran. Another reader M Tovie suggested that such a retaliation may not bring the desired effect. In between the two, you agreed that the retaliation was justified but authorities in Washington, DC will not approve it.

I would like to discuss the morality of the retaliatory violence against some authority figure in Tehran who has actively supported the Islamic fatwa against Salman Rushdie. Let us say that the spy agency of some Western democratic country is instructed to conduct this operation. I think I will absolutely support this operation.

I describe the violence against infidels as prescribed in the Quran as franchised violence: The author of the Quran has given the authority to every, so called, believer to become the court, judge, jury, and executioner by himself/herself and execute the sentence against non-believers. The authority was also granted for all time to come and no expiration date. Muslims do not let this authority go to waste. The original Ayatullah who issued the fatwa against Rushdie and the New York Muslim man who attacked Rushdie both utilized this authority.

What if the above spy agency conducts a retaliatory mission in Tehran and kills an authority figure who has provably supported this fatwa. Assuming that the spy agency is in contact with the concerned democratic head of government, I think, this violence will be morally justifiable.

The Indian religions and cultures make huge issues about violence and non-violence. The morality of this issue is probably more imposing on an Indian mind -like mine- than the Western minds. But, the entire context of the Indian scripture Bhagwat Gita, consists of Krishna exhorting his disciple to participate in a righteous war in which every king of the land was fighting for one side or the other.

Violence becomes necessary as the last resort and is morally justified when it is overwhelmingly approved and not franchised to the individual. Attacking Rushdie by a random
Muslim is immoral. Retaliation against an Iranian authority figure actively supporting this fatwa, will be morally justified.


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