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The Core of the Matter

Reader comment on item: Combating the Ideology of Radical Islam

Submitted by C.C. Courington (United States), Apr 12, 2003 at 20:04

There is not an intellectually intact human being on the face of the earth who can endure the notion that he is acting immorally. Even the worst rapist, murderer, or pillager must, in some way, see what he is doing as morally justified. Sometimes this vision of morality can be achieved only through abandoning reason altogether. Hitler, Pol Pot, Stalin, and Saddam all felt "moral."

A moral code is a set of values chosen to guide our thoughts and actions. For the most part, moral codes are embedded in religions. Islam contains the moral code for a great many people, and does the job of guiding their thoughts and actions very well.

However, in order to function in reality, many Muslims must cordon off certain aspects of the Islamic moral code--the part that tells them that innovation is the worst sin of all, that asking questions about their religion is forbidden, that it is improper to make friends with the Infidel, that is is perfectly all right to make a treaty with an Infidel and then break it (Saddam did this when he agreed to the cease-fire), that it is all right to lie to the Infidel, and so on and on.

That could work in the slower, smaller world of the 7th century, but not now, not in the 21st century. Most Muslims recognize at some level that it is impossible to live today by following the old moral code of the Koran, the Sunna, and the Hadith. So they block it out in order to live in the real world.

Most push it into the background, but not all. We may well minimize terrorist attacks during the present generation. But while most terrorists of today will be functionally castrated for the time being, the moral code will remain encased in the Koran, the Hadith and the Sunna for the next generation and for all generations to follow. A few of the in the next generation will not block it out, and the cycle of "destroy the Infidel" will begin anew, to be repeated every generaton thereafter.

Changing a religion is difficult, but not impossible. Many religions have come and gone. Until the moral code promoted by Islam is replaced, we will continue to be tormented by terrorists. Such a change is difficult, but not impossible.

Remember, a moral code is a set of values chosen to guide our thoughts and actions.

The operative term is "chosen."

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