Tuesday, January 06, 2015

Radical Islam, Nihilist Rage

Kenan Malik, NYT
JAN. 3, 2015

LONDON — FACED with a horror like the slaughter of 148 schoolchildren and school staff members by the Taliban in Pakistan, it is tempting to describe the act as “inhuman” or “medieval.” What made the massacre particularly chilling, though, is that it was neither. The killings were all too human and of our time.

The Peshawar massacre may have been particularly abhorrent, but the Taliban have attacked at least 1,000 schools over the past five years. They have butchered hundreds through suicide bombings of churches and mosques. And beyond Pakistan lies the brutality of groups like the Islamic State, Boko Haram and the Shabab.

What seems to bind these groups together is that they claim to act in the name of Islam. Why, many ask, do so many of today’s most vicious conflicts appear to involve Islamists? And why do Islamist groups seem so much more vicious, sadistic, even evil?

Muslims are not the only religious group involved in perpetrating horrors. From Christian militias in the Central African Republic reportedly eating their foes to Buddhist monks organizing anti-Muslim pogroms in Myanmar, there is cruelty aplenty in the world. Nor are religious believers alone in committing grotesque acts. Yet, critics argue, there appears to be something particularly potent about Islam in fomenting violence, terror and persecution.

(More here.)


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