Murderous Muslim Terrorists are not Bad but Mad like Daniel McNaghten

Nov 9, 2019 by

by Niall McCrea, Rebel Priest:

‘I am not mad,’ shouts the failed suicide bomber in court, contradicting psychiatric opinion. For him, scriptural fiat cannot be overruled by secular authorities: if the holy Koran instructs slaying of the infidels, there is no mental illness, immorality or crime in putting those words into action.

The vast majority of Muslims, no doubt, would recoil at any interpretation of their faith as inherently violent. In polite society, Islam is promoted as the Religion of Peace, and terrorists are said to be besmirching the name of Mohammed, the Prophet of Islam.

Are Koranically-inspired terrorists mad or bad? It may seem delusional to detonate an explosive device in a crowded shopping mall and expect to be rewarded with seventy-two virgins in heaven.

Scott Atran in Talking to the Enemy (2010) argues that suicide bombers are not mentally ill. Perhaps, they are sad? Alienated from society, they identify strongly with a disadvantaged group, and develop an intense purpose against injustice, he observes.

A University of Amsterdam study shows little correlation between psychopathology and terrorism, even though the lone wolf may be slightly more likely to be disturbed.

Jonathan Sacks begins his book Not in God’s Name: Confronting Religious Violence with a quote from Blaise Pascal: ‘Men never do evil so completely and cheerfully as when they do it from religious conviction.’ Sacks strives to rebut this distortion of Abrahamic faith, arguing that mass murderers who shout ‘Allahu akbar’ are not martyrs but sacrilegious.

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