Thursday, June 4, 2009

Recruiter killing just as bad

I should have written this earlier, but time constraints prevented me from commenting on it. I already wrote on Dr. George Tiller's death at the hands of a conservative extremist...but equally worthy of mention is the death of William Long this past week, a military recruiter who died at the hands of Abdulhakim Muhammad, who attacked Long and his recruiting partner Quinton Ezeagwula (who suffered injuries as well). Muhammad attacked the two because of past abuse done to Muslims captured by the U.S. military.

As was the case with Tiller, Long's death is unjustifiable. Muhammad had no right to take this man's life, to engage in violent tactics to achieve his goals. Such brutality is cowardly; a person with true character engages in civil debate, protests in non-violent ways, and certainly refrains from murder as a means to their end.

Having said this, and once again mentioning how terrible both incidents were, I must mention one thought going through my mind right now: it's a bit ironic how both murderers were driven by religious convictions to do something against both of their belief structures. I'm not saying religion is to blame by any means; I'll defend the right to freely worship to my dying day. What I'm getting at is this: religious fanaticism isn't prevalent in any one religion, but is involved in many different faiths. It isn't just a Muslim thing, or a Christian thing, or any other religion's thing; it's something to be concerned of in all religious structures. Fanatics are everywhere.

We should be wary of putting too much faith in our own beliefs. Otherwise, we may be driven to do terrible things. Tolerance of others, even those we despise, can be a wonderful thing. It's part of what makes us American -- that, despite my disagreeing with you, I'll still allow you to hold your own beliefs.

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