Wednesday, July 12, 2006

One Man's Terrorist...

... is everyone's terrorist. Whether he's a freedom fighter or not is besides the point.

I have had reason to say this on mailing lists and in conversations, but haven't gotten round to posting it here as a post:

I am sorry, but "One man's terrorist is another man's freedom fighter" is not a morally defensible position.

It wasn't when Ronald Reagan said it, and it isn't today. When The Gipper used it as excuse for his foreign policy alliances, it gave us Gulbuddin Hekmatyar, a man that, if I am told right, when The Gipper and Pakistan's Mard-e-Momin (Gen. Zia) started patronising him, already had a record of throwing acid in the face of a fellow student at Kabul University who had the audacity not to wear a veil.

"One man's terrorist is another man's freedom fighter" seems to imply that if a person who is otherwise committing a terrorist act does it for a valid cause like fighting for freedom, it is okay, or at least less “evil”. Even if someone commits an act of terror, or other heinous act for my personal, social, or national benefit, it is my moral, religious and legal responsibility to call it out as exactly that. An evil, yes, evil, indefensible act. And then it is my duty to either stop it, denounce it, or at least recognize it as such. I believe says it is a sign of how strong one's faith is to either put it right with one's hand, speak against it, or at the lowest level of faith, to know it is evil in my heart.

This is not to say that "suspect" minorities should be early and often with their condemnations. Condemnations should not be demanded. But we shouldn't feel it inappropriate to condemn and call a spade a spade because it might *seem* like we're caving. Or, worse, because it might be a "brother" (sisters are nicer ;)) that did something. Isn't Islam one of those religions that says to be truthful in witness, be it against a brother? Isn't Islam the religion that says one should help an aggressor or a transgressor by stopping him or her from committing such transgresions?

[Also posted on my blog on ProgressiveIslam.org.]
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