Monday, July 4, 2016

The Making of a Radical

On the 3rd of July 2016, the majority-Muslim country of Bangladesh suffered a horrendous attack by a group of radical muslims. This adds to what appears to be an ongoing spate of attacks in the holy month of Ramadan. While no clear link can be established, it is taught among muslims that good deeds accrue more merit when performed during the holy month. Unfortunately for the patrons of that cafe, acts which are deemed as "good deeds" differ monstrously from one adherent to another. Whether by design or otherwise, the "correct teachings" of this religion appear to be lost on quite a number.

The notable thing about the carnage in Dhaka was that the perpetrators did not square with the usual profile of radicals. These men, who methodically butchered 20 persons in cold blood, were neither politically disenfranchised nor subjected to economic poverty.  It is difficult to stomach the fact that teenagers in their mid-to-late twenties would be capable of such depraved acts and demonstrated such scant regard for fellow human beings. Even more surprising is that these men attended elite and expensive colleges both locally and abroad. According to TODAYONLINE, at least one attacker was the son of a party member in the Awami League, the ruling party of Bangladesh.

There is an understandably uncomfortable implication here. Simply put, it was neither destitution nor poverty which bred and nurtured these buccaneers. To quote Anis Ahmed of the Dhaka Tribune:
That these kids from very affluent families with no material want can still be turned to this kind of ideology, motivated not just to the point of killing but also want to be killed...
Indeed, these are highly disturbing observations. We must be forced to contend with the very real possibility that nothing else, apart from religious ideology, had molded killers out of otherwise comfortable and privileged teenagers.

And yet, as certain as death and taxes, we will no doubt be force-fed banal apologist platitudes from the readily offended, politically-correct-or-die liberal media. "It is not the religion, it is the reader". "It is offensive to label these murderers radical muslims because Islam has nothing to do with this".

It is at times like these when the brilliance of the late Christopher Hitchens is sorely missed. Perhaps not an accurately reproduced quote, but in his seminal book God is Not Great, he wrote:
"Good men will do good things and horrible men would do horrible things. But for a good man to do unspeakable acts, it would require religion."
Religion is rarely content with merely driving men to accomplish morally contemptible acts, it enables them to do so without guilt and with self-righteous fury. 

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