Terrorists not defaming Islam, but attempting to observe it

Terrorists not defaming Islam, but attempting to observe it, by Mark Drurie.

President Joko Widodo spoke out strongly against last Sunday’s bombings of three churches in Surabaya, calling the perpetrators barbaric and inhumane. Malcolm Turnbull joined in the chorus yesterday, telling Melbourne radio station 3AW’s Neil Mitchell the suicide bombers were “brutal, inhumane, blasphemous” and “sickeningly cruel”, declaring: “It’s a reminder that these terrorists have got nothing to do with God … They are not defending Islam, they are … defaming it.”

These denunciations serve two purposes: to reassure the many Muslims who are appalled by the violence that they will not be tarred with the same brush, and to stigmatise any who may sympathise with the perpetrators. …

Another feature of the bombings was that they were ­under­taken by six members of a single family.

The denunciations of this ­devout middle-class family as brutal and barbaric are inconsistent with the testimony of their neighbours, who described them as friendly, decent human beings.

These are horrific events but verbal denunciations of this family do not relieve us of the respon­sibility of understanding them. In fact, we have an overwhelming body of evidence available to us concerning the beliefs of those who are ready and willing to sacrifice themselves in the name of Islam.

There are two key elements to their ideology.

One is the devaluing of non-Muslim lives. This contempt, which Upriarto’s family appears to have concealed from their neighbours, is endorsed by the Koran when it describes those who reject Islam as the “worst creatures”, ­inferior, losers, arrogant, insolent and impure. The Koran also ­repeatedly urges believers not to befriend non-Muslims.

The other key idea is a firmly held belief in a promise that ­beyond the act of pushing the button on a bomb lies not death but a superlative life in paradise. This, too, is derived from the Koran. The Koran repeatedly condemns those who love this life more than the next, and jihadi movements ridicule non-Muslims as “those who love life”.

hat-tip Stephen Neil