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Friday, July 12, 2013

Self-Radicalization

 
            In the wake of the Boston Marathon bombing, President Obama has suggested that the Tsarnaev brothers were "self-radicalized." He is not the only one who is promoting this idea. The New York Times does as well, particularly in the May 6th edition.
 
            Several so-called experts have suggested that these terrorists – homegrown terrorists – have decided within themselves to be terrorists without any external influence. On the other hand, the experts suggest, these terrorists have much in common with "anti-government extremism" – read "Tea Party" between the lines.
 
            These homegrown terrorists are not part of a group; they are not jihadists, for example. They may listen to imams on the internet or study bomb-making on-line but they are not part of an overall effort. The most notorious homegrown terrorists in recent years are: Timothy McVeigh, Major Nidal Hasan, Faisal Shahzad, and Dzhokhar Tsarnaev.
 
            But what do these men have in common? Islam. Sure, McVeigh was recruited by the Ku Klux Klan but he fell in cohorts with Terry Nichols who spent time in the Philippines among "radical" Muslims. The other three are better known for their contacts with Islam.
 
            President Obama and others are trying to detach these men from their religious ideology. That's why they are all promoting an idea of "self-radicalization." The idea that Islam can be inherently violent does not fit with the multiculturalist idea that all cultures are equal. Having read the Koran twice and a dozen books, most of which were written by Muslims on Islam, I believe it is a fair assessment to say that Islam can promote violence even it does not require violence.
 
            But no one influences himself to do evil or to do good. Jesus clearly taught that we are influenced by one of two sources. "No one can serve two masters, for either he will hate the one and love the other, or he will be devoted to the one and despise the other" (Matthew 6:24). Paul teaches the same principle in Romans 616: "Do you not know that if you present yourselves to anyone as obedient slaves, you are slaves of the one whom you obey, either of sin, which leads to death, or of obedience, which leads to righteousness?"
 
            We are either slaves of sin or slaves of obedience. It depends on which Master we serve. If we want to stop suicide bombers, we've got to preach and teach the Gospel of Peace.
 
--Paul Holland
 

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