Saturday, November 21, 2015

Let's Throw A Study Into It

Nobody west of about Cairo knows more than this guy - Juan Cole:
1. Terrorism or hirabah is forbidden in Islamic law, which groups it with brigandage, highway robbery and extortion rackets– any illicit use of fear and coercion in public spaces for money or power. The principle of forbidding the spreading of terror in the land is based on the Qur’an (Surah al-Ma’ida 5:33–34). Prominent [pdf] Muslim legal scholar Sherman Jackson writes, “The Spanish Maliki jurist Ibn `Abd al-Barr (d. 464/ 1070)) defines the agent of hiraba as ‘Anyone who disturbs free passage in the streets and renders them unsafe to travel, striving to spread corruption in the land by taking money, killing people or violating what God has made it unlawful to violate is guilty of hirabah . . .”
2. Terrorism is above all murder. Murder is strictly forbidden in the Qur’an. 5:53 says, “… whoso kills a soul, unless it be for murder or for wreaking corruption in the land, it shall be as if he had killed all mankind; and he who saves a life, it shall be as if he had given life to all mankind,” Qur’an 6:151 says, “and do not kill a soul that God has made sacrosanct, save lawfully.” (i.e. murder is forbidden but the death penalty imposed by the state for a crime is permitted).
The list has 10 items on it, and they all seem pretty clear.

But there's this weird thing going on right now.  The debate over what is or isn't Islam - or Christianity or any other religion - is starting to sound a lot like one giant logical fallacy of "No True Scotsman", with a dash of "False Equivalence".

ISIL is to Islam what the KKK is to Christianity.

Real Christians don't fire bomb Planned Parenthood Clinics, the same as Real Muslims don't hijack airplanes and crash them into American office buildings.

In the end, we're back arguing degrees of fucked-up-edness concerning the other guy's religion.  We're only saying this or that religious nonsense is less bad than this or that other religious nonsense.  --Update: It's all nonsense, and btw, it's not the same as having to choose the lesser of two evils.  Politics gets evil enough all by itself - we don't need the extra layers of bullshit that (really) only religion can bring.

Mostly, we gotta stop pretending that anybody's religion makes for good government.

Government is about law, and law is about what you can prove, out in the open, where everybody can see it.

Let's get the debate back where it belongs.

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