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  1. My eyes completely bugged out when I read this article. I’ve been willing to give the benefit of the doubt, and accept that Islam is a peaceful religion. But this … this is barbaric.

  2. Barbaric. Yes, that’s precisely the word.
    I met the radical and disturbing side of Islam many years ago, but was able to balance that with the hope that the moderates I know could gain ascendancy. However, somewhere between the Cartoon fiasco and this latest example of Islamic radical intolerance, my ability to remain neutral has taken a beating.

  3. You do realize that most of the history of Christianity is a tale of Christians killing people who aren’t Christians? This is not Islam, this is human nature; Islam today is a lot like Christianity about 250 years ago.
    Anyone who believes the Bible is literal truth needs to explain why they’re not following Deuteronomy and killing people who don’t worship the God of the Old Testament.

  4. Good points, John. I am a Muslim, and I can attest to its peaceful nature, or else I would not be Muslim. I agree with your statement “This is not Islam, this is human nature…” The most insidious kind of enemy is the kind that works from the inside, and at the moment, Islam and Muslims everywhere must work to defeat this enemy that wants to make Islam into a religion of violent terrorists.

  5. John,
    While I would have put the timeline back several more centuries, I absolutely am aware that at one time, Christians were barbaric compared to today’s cultural norms in the West. And I have always seen the Old Testament as violent and wrathful. However, acknowledging the barbaric history of a societal evolution doesn’t help the current situation, nor does it explain how the 21st and 15th centuries can find a peaceful coexistence. History provides a frame of reference, but not necessarily a solution.
    Harry Potter – you are totally correct that there is a peaceful nature to Islam. It was a peace-loving, moderate Muslim in Jordan who gave me my first Q’uran. I have the most profound and sincere hope that the violent terrorists and radical Imams will be overshadowed by those who think as you do.

  6. John, I believe the Bible is literal truth, yet I’m not, as you say, following Deuteronomy and killing people who don’t worship the God of the Old Testament. That’s because there’s more to the Bible than Deuteronomy, or even the Old Testament. Jesus brought a deeper understanding of the Kingdom of God, and modeled exactly how to deal with unbelievers: He allowed the rich young ruler to walk away from Him in faithlessness (Matthew chapter 19).
    Love. Joy. Peace. Patience. Kindness. Goodness. Faithfulness. Gentleness. Self-control. These are to be the characteristics of a Christian, according to the New Testament (Galatians 5), which fulfills the Old. I believe this is a literal fulfillment of a literal truth, and that is what I follow.
    I encourage you to dig in to the Bible. It’s deeper — and freer — than you portray.

  7. By the way, John, I agree with your assertion about human nature. For myself I can say that Jesus has done a lot to change the angry and vindictive heart I had in my youth. He’s the best way toward a better human nature that I know.

  8. If your faith makes you a better person, that’s great.
    A question for you, and I mean it seriously, not to start a fight. Given that the Bible contradicts itself, how do you follow it literally?

  9. I tthink the recent history of northern Ireland and the Balkans show iti is not a conflict between the 15th and 21st century , it is deeply ingrained in human nature. The relevance of the 15th century is that Islam is a relatively young religion compared to many others . Still, people find after 2,000 years excused in the Bible to kill and hate each other. And I think the perceived barbarism of Afghanistan is cultural and not religious.
    I’m sure there are tens of millions of Americans who would applaud the public execution of apostates, gays and others they feel are outside the biblical path. They are constrained not by the teachings of Jesus, but by the economic and cultural climate they live it. Still, the history of Belfast tells us it is not a long fall from our comfortable cultural superiority into violence and barbarism.
    Remmber the modern provisional IRA grew out a movemnt not much different than that of the desegration movement in the American south, after which the northern Catholic civil rights movement modeled itself. If President Goldwater had sent in federal troops with live ammo in support of segregation, our history would likely have been that of the occupied counties.
    I am not, however, preaching absolute cultural relativism. I believe that if this trial goes forward, all western troops and aid should be withdrawn from Afghanistan in days if not hours. Those who embrace tribalism (the real problem in places like Central Asia and Africa, not the supervficial religious labels we use to understand them) must be made to know: it is not acceptable in the 21st century, and there can be no western-funded progress unless it is put behind them.

  10. The embarrassing thing is that such a thing could happen under a constitution that as written under American occupation.

  11. Mark –
    I’ve read quite a few articles suggesting precisely what you said:
    I believe that if this trial goes forward, all western troops and aid should be withdrawn from Afghanistan in days if not hours
    It occurs to me that if anybody were actually thinking things through over there in Afghanistan (and Iraq, for that matter, where we also have evidently overstayed our “welcome”), this might not be a bad strategy for them. I think it’s probably a good thing they’re not yet seeing that this could be a strategy… Or are they….

  12. I remember back before the Iraq war looking at Zogby polling data that suggested that most of the people in the middle east would prefer to live in nominally democratic countries where the laws were based on Islamic teaching. So, when our president announced that we would bring democracy to the middle east, it seemed likely what we would get it – exactly this.
    People have a right to choose how their country will be run. It’s hypocritical to insist that we want people to be free – but then decide they chose the wrong kind of laws for their country.
    It’s horrifying, but they are doing exactly what many on the American right want to do – basing their laws on their faith. (They’re a great example of why this is usually a terrible idea.)

  13. While many of you were wallowing in your “religious” brilliance, those men of Christian faith with their heads in the sand saved the life of Abdul Rahman.

  14. Larry,
    It does indeed look as if there has been a reprieve. And while I hope the resolution eventually is favorable for him (after they “review their case”), the underlying issues are not resolved.
    Whatever the outcome for Abdul Rahman, specifically — whether he’s found insane, exiled, torn apart, hung, or “repatriated” to Germany — changes nothing for the next man or woman.

  15. Well, an Islamic judge saved him by dismissing the case, actually.
    I’m very glad to hear that. It changes nothing about the problem with mxing law and religion, or the general problems of relying on religious texts for guidance in life. Most of them contain some horrifying stuff, and while 99% of their followers pick and choose what they want, there isn’t much an intellectual basis for telling someone they shouldn’t choose something that’s there in the text. (Heck, the American religious right is expert at the whole ‘faith of convenience’ idea!)

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