Dying To Kill

"Dying to Kill" – that phrase graces the cover of the August 2005 issue of Prospect magazine. Given the moral universe in which I live, it’s a phrase that I find supremely unsettling. But clearly, there are those who live in a completely different moral universe and to whom this phrase is an edict of aspiration. One such, Hassan Butt, is interviewed in the magazine. Read the interview.
 
Elsewhere in the web version of the magazine, Ayaan Hirsi Ali puts her finger on the definitions of the two moral universes:
Those who love freedom know that the open society relies on a few key shared concepts. They believe that all humans are born free, are endowed with reason and have inalienable rights. Governments are checked by the rule of law, so that civil liberties are protected. They ensure freedom of conscience and of expression, and ensure that men and women, homosexuals and heterosexuals, are treated equally under the law. People can trade freely, and may spend their recreational time as they wish.
 
The terrorists, and the Shari’a-based societies to which they aspire, have an entirely different philosophy. Humans are born to serve Allah through a series of obligations that are prescribed in an ancient body of writings. These edicts vary from rituals of birth and funeral rites to the most intimate details of human life; they descend to the point of absurdity in matters such as how to blow your nose, and with what foot to step into a toilet. Muslims, according to this philosophy, must kill those among them who leave the faith, and are required to be hostile to people of other religions and ways of life. This hostility requires them to murder innocent people and makes no distinction between civilians and the military. In Shari’a societies, women are made subordinate to men. They must be confined to their houses, beaten if found disobedient, forced into marriage and hidden behind the veil. The hands of thieves are cut off and capital punishment is performed in crowded public squares in front of cheering crowds. The terrorists seek to impose this way of life not only on Islamic countries, but, as Blair said, on western societies too.
Give me the open society every time.

About Geoff Coupe

I'm a British citizen, although I have lived and worked in the Netherlands since 1983. I came here on a three year assignment, but fell in love with the country, and one Dutchman in particular, and so have stayed here ever since. On the 13th December 2006 I also became a Dutch citizen.
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