Friday, February 04, 2005

Showdown by the Mosque at High Noon, Pardner

In Koranic duels ease terror, Jihad Watch excerpts a piece from the Christian Science Monitor about Judge Hamoud al-Hitar of Yemen's challenge to al Qaeda prisoners to engage in debates on the Quran's message on terrorism. The Judge talked with radicalized prisoners, listened to them, and after listening for a long time and learning to know them, convinced them that the true message of the Quran was peaceful.

From the CSM
"An important part of the dialogue is mutual respect," says Hitar. "Along with acknowledging freedom of expression, intellect and opinion, you must listen and show interest in what the other party is saying."

Only after winning the militants' trust does Hitar gradually begin to correct their beliefs. He says that most militants are ordinary people who have been led astray. Just as they were taught Al Qaeda's doctrines, he says, so too can they be taught more moderate ideas. "If you study terrorism in the world, you will see that it has an intellectual theory behind it," says Hitar. "And any kind of intellectual idea can be defeated by intellect."
Back to JihadWatch:
If it's true that Hitar can convince Muslims to renounce violence using the Qur'an -- and I have serious doubts, based on what I know of the Qur'an and other Islamic sources -- then he has found what the whole world wants and needs.
Amen to that, brother!

The hard part is having any respect, intellectual or otherwise, for terrorists and their stooges.

Christians have the words of Jesus, who said, "Love your enemies," "Do unto others as you would have them do unto you," and "Ye have heard that it hath been said, “An eye for an eye, and a tooth for a tooth”; but I say unto you, that ye resist not evil: but whosoever shall smite thee on thy right cheek, turn to him the other also." Jews have a parallel commandment in the Mosaic Law, “Whatever is hurtful to you, do not do to any other person.”

So Christians have to try. It may be a self-sacrifice. Unlike the Salafist terrorists we do not have any easy formula that lets us try in a half-hearted way before we kick out the stops and take barbaric, brutal, horrific action. Bin Laden gave the USA the chance to convert en masse to Islam to avert 9/11, but he knew it was only a formality. Still, he performed the formula, the magic spell, that in his twisted mind guaranteed he wouldn't lose his 70 virgins in heaven. Christians won't do that. I hope most Muslims won't do it either. Unlike self-sacrifice in order to kill, maim, and destroy, self-sacrifice to bring understanding and unity can be worth the effort.

Is that too idealistic?

UPDATE:
Praktike at Liberals Against Terrorism touches on the problems in identifying those who are not only opposed to some terrorism, but who believe in tolerant, cosmopolitan society here, here, and here.

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