Wednesday, November 15, 2017

The only truly-effective way to stop Islamic terror

Someone recently sent me a video entitled “Where are the Moderate Muslims?” by Hussein Aboubakr.[1]

The video makes the case that the Muslim world is dominated by “bad ideas and bad beliefs.” It argues that the only solution to Islamic terror is Islam reforming itself.

“Until we tell the truth about Islam, the only solution to Islamic terror will never take place,” the speaker asserted.

Notwithstanding Mr. Aboubakr’s good intentions, I disagree with this message, or at least the way he communicated it in his closing statement.[2]

First of all, why single out Islam? Much of the world is dominated by “bad ideas and bad beliefs.” Perhaps there is a much higher prevalence of “bad ideas and beliefs” in the Islamic world, but by focusing on those and ignoring others, we aren’t doing justice to the cause. It appears that we’re only calling out the evils of some and not the evils of others, and suggests subjective bias. To accurately define ideas and beliefs as “bad,” it needs to be addressed with objectivity, especially if one hopes to effectively communicate the message to those who need to hear it most. He ought to have protested “bad ideas and beliefs” that exist everywhere, but with special emphasis on those that exist within the Muslim world, due the alarming statistics that he invoked.

Secondly, “Islam reforming itself” isn’t really a solution. People must reform themselves, both individually and collectively. Islam all along has only been a symptom of the problem, not the root cause. The root is the weakness of the human condition.

Lastly and most importantly, we don’t have to “tell the truth about Islam.” We need to tell the truth about absolute moral values and ethics, i.e. the seven universal principles that were enjoined on all the children of Noah. It’s not our place to try to find those truths within Islam, or Christianity, or any other religion, for that matter. We just need to teach the truth about life.

If a Muslim person wishes, he or she can go find those ideas in Islam, if those ideas do indeed exist. And if they don’t, then they are free to adapt or reinterpret their religious texts, whether through exegesis or eisegesis. They’re also free to simply ignore those indefensible/reprehensible aspects of their religion, or even to repudiate their religion altogether. But that’s none of our business, or is it even necessary for Islamic terror to stop. In fact, if we involve ourselves with that, it is counterproductive.

In other words, we need to teach fellow humans the universal laws of morality. We don’t need to enter into religious debate or encourage religious reform, or point out how flawed their religion is. There’s no reason for us to comment on their religion altogether. I need to teach humans about the sanctity of human life, for example, one of the Seven Laws. If someone counters, “But Allah said in the Quran such and such,” I don’t need to address the Quran at all. Instead, the correct response is: “Allah commanded all mankind not to murder for any reason. This commandment predates all other religious codes or books. Allah despises murder, and cherishes all human life, women and men, young and old, of all races, sizes and colors, irrespective of whether they even believe in Him and his prophets or not.” This is sacrosanct. It transcends religion, culture or social norms. It transcends human logic too, as we have no permission to rationalize and justify murder under any circumstances.

(That’s just one example, but it applies to all the Seven Mitzvot and their applications.)

When an Islamist commits an act of murder or mass murder, it is important to point out first and foremost that this is a fragile human being who committed this nefarious and depraved act. His motive is secondary. The fact that he was indoctrinated (by other fragile human beings) to embrace a false belief system that justifies or glorifies murder is only a symptom of the problem. If we confuse or conflate it as the main problem, we are missing the forest for the trees. It’s like blaming murder on lax gun laws, but then the murderer will drive a pick-up truck or use a machete. Shall we ban pick-up trucks?

(I agree with the presenter that politicians and media mislead people when they rush to assure everyone after a jihadist attack that the atrocity doesn’t represent the true nature of mainstream Islam. Radical Islamic beliefs need to be identified as the obvious motive. Agenda-driven white washing is deplorable and dishonest. However, we ought to be less concerned with motive and more concerned with the moral and ethical vacuum that allowed those depraved motives to fester in the first place.)

When will finally realize that the root problem isn’t the truck, or the gun, the knife, or even the incitement or indoctrination. The underlying problem is that this individual is bereft of absolute moral values and was never taught to appreciate the infinite and sacrosanct worth of human life. Had he been, then he would have soundly rejected anyone else’s attempts to incite or indoctrinate him. Instead, he would have endeavored to educate the misguided inciter. Surely he would have had no tolerance for any “bad ideas or bad beliefs” which the presenter deplores.

We need to teach these Divinely-ordained principles to all mankind, not just to people of Muslim faiths. Plenty of Christians (and people of other religious or non-religious beliefs) need to learn these laws too. Everyone, young and old, irrespective of financial or social or racial status. Even people who are mentally or emotionally impaired or challenged need to learn these universal principles too (as their lives are infinitely valuable and meaningful as all others).  They apply to everyone. They apply equally to Hollywood, to Wall Street, to Main Street, in Rome or Ramallah, Mecca or Manhattan, churches, mosques and post offices, on land, sea or in the air.

And that is how we can truly create a solution to Islamic terror, neo-Nazi terror, and other forms of terror, murders, crimes, and all other societal ills. That is how we can bring healing and redemption to our fractured world. This is how we will bring Moshiach NOW!

[1] Produced by “Prager University.” Link:
[2] I interpret the presenter’s use of the word “Islam” as a name of a religion or religious identity. However, if “Islam” refers to society as it exists in predominantly-Islamic areas, then there is some merit to his message. But my critique is still relevant. We should not be attacking anyone else’s religion, but just teach truth. We can criticize behaviors, irrespective of religious or cultural motivation, and teach the correct behaviors.

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