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July 13, 2005

Maranatha - Come Lord, and quickly

It is very disheartening, particularly for people of faith - whatever faith that might be - to see members of that faith use their religion as justification for the terrorizing of others. It is particularly disheartening to see sectarian hatred so prevalent in our own "enlightened" and "more tolerant" era.

We saw it yesterday in Northern Ireland.

We also saw it yesterday in the trial of the murderer of Theo van Gogh:

The suspect...admited his guilt in a Dutch court yesterday, declaring that he acted out of religious conviction and would do it again if given the chance.

He turned around in his chair and spoke to Anneke van Gogh, Theo's mother, who was sitting in the public gallery.

"I don't feel your pain," he said. "I have to admit I don't have any sympathy for you. I can't feel for you because I think you're a nonbeliever."

"I take complete responsibility for my actions. I acted purely in the name of my religion..."I acted out of conviction, not because I hated your son."

That's pretty chilling. It suggests that his victim was barely human in his eyes, a mere thing, placed in his path and as easily chopped down as an inconvenient shrub.

And now, in the UK, a dubious Religious Hate Crimes bill, which is wending its way through the system has an interesting twist: The Muslims, who support this bill (Christians and Jews do not) are asking that the Koran be exempted from the bill. So...some books would be prosecutable, some would not.

I suspect - I hope - that after 7/7 Britain will stop thinking it can somehow legislate tolerance and human regard. But I must say, the Muslim request is pretty brazen. Right now there are supposedly plans being put in place, by members of the UK Muslim community, to protest the terrorism embraced by so many of their co-religionists. It will be a welcome thing to see, if it happens.

But in the meantime, the mother of all religious wars shows no sign of there ever being much hope:

Hamas will not compromise on one inch of Greater Palestine, Hamas leader Mahmoud al-Zahar told an Italian newspaper earlier this week.

Speaking to the Corriere Della Sera newspaper, al-Zahar said Hamas would "definitely not" be prepared for coexistence with Israel should the IDF retreat to its 1967 borders.

"It can be a temporary solution, for a maximum of 5 to 10 years. But in the end Palestine must return to become Muslim, and in the long term Israel will disappear from the face of the earth."

Asked about Hamas's intentions to carry out terror attacks in coordination with the disengagement plan, al-Zahar said Hamas has already promised not to initiate violence, and that the group's actions would be in response to Israeli actions.

"We won't disrupt the Israeli withdrawal, let them get out of here and go to hell," he said. "The problem will be afterwards, because in the hearts of every Palestinian, the liberation of Gaza must be accompanied by the liberation of Jerusalem and the West Bank."

Sigh. Dear Lord, make us one. Hurry, please.

Posted by Thecla at July 13, 2005 01:28 PM

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