Reading the reports on the hunt for the Boston Bombers, one has to wonder what drove the suspects to this dastardly act? Assuming that the police have identified the bombers - and events would seem to confirm they have - why would these two young men, one almost qualified as an engineer, the other as a medic, turn on the society that has welcomed them, provided them with opportunities for education and possible careers it is unlikely they would have otherwise received?
It hasn't taken the conspiracy theorists long to get going either. Already I am seeing comments suggesting that the "government," the "Feds" (FBI), the CIA and even the Republican Party are behind this. Others are making the connection with Islam and asserting that "Islam = Terrorism" while still others are attempting to refute that, and assert instead that "Religion = Extremist" and that all people of any "faith" are more likely to engage in acts like this. Frankly that is ridiculous, and the vast majority of decent Muslims loathe the way their faith has been perverted by the lunatic fringe that is the extremism afflicting it at present.
What we do need to discover is what it is that makes young men adopt these extreme views and engage in violently anti-societal activities. No doubt, in due course we will learn when one or both of these young men - apparently converts to Islam - were radicalised, but that may not answer the question of why they then embarked on this path to self destruction. We hear much about how great Islamic society was under the Caliphates, and that it is the ambition of many of these young men to bring about the restoration of it - but they should take a look at their own history. In the latter days of the Caliphate, it was sinking into self-indulgence and corruption. Its fall, at the hands of the Mongol hordes, was the moment many of the 'scholars' had waited and prayed for as it gave them the opportunity to reject all 'liberal' ideas and the sciences - and take their society back to 'basics' where the faith, and the societies it is dominant in, has remained ever since.
It strikes me that the Boston Bombing is a double tragedy. The bombers inflicted the first on the society and their victims, but their radicalisation, their being 'turned' if you like the the path of violence, murder and ultimately their own 'martyrdom' in the name of their faith is a tragedy in and of itself. The answer is not a removal of religion from society, but a need to address the radical elements of it effectively. We need to find out why young people go down this road, and find counter arguments which makes them see the pointlessness of such directions.
My prayers go out for the families of the victims and the victims, but I pray too for the families of the bombers, for the investigators and for the young men themselves. One has already paid with his life for this act of stupidity, the other will, no doubt pay the same price in due course. Before he does though, we should attempt at least to discover why he felt he must do this, and then to show him the compassion he denied his victims.
It isn't easy to do that - but it is required of those who claim to follow Christ.
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