Shaking the Tree

I think the attack on the French magazine known for dishing satirical, and, admittedly, sometimes offensive pieces, was a personal decision of those who perpetrated the attack. Rightly or wrongly, they felt it was their duty to “avenge the Prophet.” Unfortunately for them, there is no law that allows them to do what they did no matter how they felt about the magazine. This is no different from Christians or Catholics who firebomb abortion clinics. Yes, they believe it is their duty to destroy these facilities that kill humans before they are born but, again, there is no law that allows them to do that.

The sad part about this is that we, as a race, appear not to have improved over the years. The slightest provocation and we immediately generalize about who is to blame with grave consequences. If a nut falls from a tree and hits us on the head, we blame the tree and, in the worst case, cut it down for dropping the nut on our head. It will do well to remember that the tree did not consciously drop the nut on you. It happened. Of course the assault on the magazine was so much more terrible than a falling nut and it is not my intent to belittle it as a nut; but the long and short of it is that you don’t blame the tree, or the forest, for what happened. In the same way, we cannot blame all Muslims for the actions of a few.

The same rule applies even to the worst of these few like Boko Haram that is reported to have killed 2,000 people in a single attack in Nigeria, or the now countless atrocities of the so-called Islamic State. There is no law that allows them to do what they do regardless of their justifications. It is simply illegal. What nations should do, therefore, is not to kill the tree from whence it came, but to prune the tree by prosecuting those responsible for those crimes because that is simply what they are. Not martyrs. Not heroes. Just your everyday variety of criminals.


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