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Copyright © 2002, 2003, 2004, 2005, 2006, 2007, 2008 & 2009 by Jay B. Gaskill
Headline:† Rare virus endangers troops.
Another, presumably unrelated headline (my own summary)
Rogue Islamist shrink shoots fifty American soldiers on American Base.
The first story (http://www.washingtontimes.com/news/2009/nov/06/rare-virus-poses-new-threat-to-troops/ ) describes a biological pathogen.
The second story,
It seems beyond reasonable dispute that the
Dr. Hasan was an educated man.† It is almost axiomatic that most mental health professionals donít become berserk mass murderers, particularly while serving in sensitive positions in American military facilities.††††
Karen Armstrong is one of my favorite writer-thinkers.† She is a former nun who teaches and writes about religious issues from a profoundly ecumenical perspective.† Armstrong wrote a sympathetic account of the Prophet Mohammedís life (Muhammad: A Biography of the Prophet -- http://www.amazon.com/Muhammad-Biography-Prophet-Karen-Armstrong/dp/0062508865 †) that I read recently.† It was written post-911 with the obvious purpose of tamping down some of the hysteria surrounding militant Islam.†
If there ever is to be an Islamic Reformation, books like Armstrongís will be a good starting point.
There are pockets of enlightened, peaceful Islamic scholarship and teaching, most of which are taking place in safe havens in the tolerant West.† All those sparks of tolerance acknowledged, there still is no Islamic Reformation.†
After the death of Mohammed in the 7th century, there never again was a single Muslim Voice, no Muslim Pope, no Muslim Martin Luther, no one to lead the faith out of its pre-medieval fundamentalism.† The religion remains multi-focal and widely distributed - much like software tied to a common operating system, in this case the Quíran.† The software metaphor is useful because, like all distributed belief systems, Islam is subject to anti-moral viruses.
An anti-moral virus is an actively malevolent set of ideas, capable of being carried by an ideology or other widespread belief system, much as living organisms carry infections.†
I believe that the Islamist virus stems from a siege
mentality, a deep sense of grievance and of being under attack from a decadent,
profoundly immoral culture.† We know that
the virus is deadly because of its fruits.†
One cannot look at the carnage of 911 or the recent incident at
An anti-moral virus attaches itself to selected precepts from the Islamist tradition (precepts that post-reformation Muslims will say were taken out of context, but for now stand alone as co-equal injunctions from Godís Prophet).† Among these precepts are the classification of Infidels as unclean, the religious approval for their forcible conversion to Islam (with a tradition of beheading the resistant-apostate) and the sanction for glorious, violent martyrdom in the cause.† Caution: This is a functional analysis, not a critical theological one.† My scholarly friends who are deeply familiar with Islam will quickly point out why a careful and enlightened reading of the Quíran does not support terrorism, the slaughter of innocents, and so on.† But Dr. Hasan was an intelligent, well educated man and there has, as yet, been no Islamic Reformation.† The anti-moral virus is active in the Muslim culture.† I believe he was infected.
Who ELSE is infected?†
Just HOW do you tell?† What
measures are appropriate to quarantine or identify the possibly infected?† Clearly, the
Nothing truly important in this life is easy.† Stay tuned...