Mar. 7, 2010, at 11:08am
The Wall Street Journal has an article today about Mosab Hassan Yousef, the son of one of the founders of Hamas, who spied for Israel and later converted to Christianity. I found the last few paragraphs especially interesting.
As the son of a Muslim cleric, he says he had reached the conclusion that terrorism can’t be defeated without a new understanding of Islam. Here he echoes other defectors from Islam such as the former Dutch parliamentarian and writer Ayaan Hirsi Ali.
Do you consider your father a fanatic? “He’s not a fanatic,” says Mr. Yousef. “He’s a very moderate, logical person. What matters is not whether my father is a fanatic or not, he’s doing the will of a fanatic God. It doesn’t matter if he’s a terrorist or a traditional Muslim. At the end of the day a traditional Muslim is doing the will of a fanatic, fundamentalist, terrorist God. I know this is harsh to say. Most governments avoid this subject. They don’t want to admit this is an ideological war.
“The problem is not in Muslims,” he continues. “The problem is with their God. They need to be liberated from their God. He is their biggest enemy. It has been 1,400 years they have been lied to.”
These are all dangerous words. Of the threats issued to his life by Islamists, he says, “That’s not the worst thing that can happen to you. I’m OK with it, I’m not afraid. . Palestinians have reason to kill me. Some Israelis may want to kill me. My goal is not to defeat my enemy. It is to win over my enemy.”
This issue has come up a lot in Britain recently due to the enlargement of the EU and the rise of the UK Independence Party. Most of this discussion has been about legal immigration, but I hope it's relevant.
I feel there's a distinction to be made between "you're not welcome here" and "we'd rather you go to another city". Like it or not, a spike in immigrant population in a particular area puts a strain on the public services of that area, which are commissioned based on expectations about future population. I admire the spirit of those who would offer their floor to an immigrant family, but when we start talking about school places, hospital beds, or public transport, it gets more complex - these things take time, new teachers have to be trained, schools need to be enlarged. In short the local population has a choice between putting up with over-subscribed services, designed for a lower population, or borrowing money to boost existing services. So it seems fair that the effect of immigration should be spread as evenly accross the country as possible. At the moment it seems big port cities are bearing too heavy a burden.
Jul. 24 at 8:38am | See in context
It seems to me a matter of precision. Social justice is a particular sphere of justice, just as sexual morality is a particular sphere of morality. It is justice in the arrangement of society, justice between segments of society.
Further, social justice is a new category of justice, in the sense that it emerged in the wake of the industrial revolution. Likewise, theology of the body is a new field of theological exploration.
I think conservatives like us have a tendency to react against the term because we're so used to its being misused by the left.
Jul. 23 at 10:08am | See in context
Not too late at all, and I appreciate you pointing this out to me. I agree with you that more work needs to be done in this area and I'm hopeful because the truth will prevail. I struggle with semantics sometimes - why does the term "justice" require modification with qualifiers like "social" or "economic"? - but that horse has already left the barn.
Jul. 23 at 10:03am | See in context
Yes, his too, though, if I'm right, it will only be the war time memoirs—the memoirs of his fight against Naziism and Communism. I think that's coming out in December, though Random House. I promise to keep members posted.
Jul. 23 at 9:55am | See in context
Thanks Katie. I love this anecdote and the photo. I eagerly await Alice's memoirs! I regularly reread "The Soul of a Lion", her bio of Dietrich. I understand Dietrich's memoirs may be published-can't wait! In the same genre I regularly reread Edith Stein's "Life in a Jewish Family". My experience in reading these and similar works is that I'm entering into the stuff of life.
Jul. 23 at 9:43am | See in context
I'm Catholic - passionately! I was recently asked to chair a "Social Justice" committee in my parish (in Rochester NY - an interesting place to say the least) but I fear I'm much too conservative for this area. At heart I'm a Texan (Houston, Brownsville, College Station) and New York is hard to fathom (even after 22 years). Let's just say it's hard to relate to other "Catholics" in my neck of the woods. They have very strong feelings about immigration (along with many other topics), but no clue when it comes to the reality.
Jul. 21 at 11:16pm | See in context
Whether they're breaking the moral law could depend on whether the particular law is just, whether they know it's in force, whether there's any other way to secure their or their famiy's survival, and so on. I'm not saying there's a simple parallel between immigrants coming from a bad situation and a starving man taking the bread.
I do suspect we should all take more seriously uncomfortable notions like the universal destination of goods and teachings like "let him who has two coats give to him who has none." They're easy to explain away.
Excuse me, I've been talking about all this in the context of Catholic teaching, Chris, and I don't know if you're Catholic. Also, neither immigration nor Catholic social teaching are areas of expertise for me (at all!); I'm just sorting out ideas in my mind.
Jul. 21 at 8:12pm | See in context
Chris, welcome, and it's an interesting question. I didn't mean there was a clear parallel, just thinking out loud about how it might apply to the case of immigration. I think the case of the hungry man and the bread, according to Catholic teaching, is meant to apply to cases of urgent and imminent need, when there's no other possible way to avoid starvation. I think in that case it would be not stealing at all, rather than justified theft.
In the case of self-defense, it's not that it's still homicide, but justified homicide; rather, it's not murder at all, but justified homicide. Of course it's some kind of homicide: that's just the meaning of the word. In the case of theft, it's part of the definition that you're taking something to which you have no right--and that's what's in question, whether anyone has a right to withhold food from a starving man. But it's a very narrowly defined kind of case--that is, if I'm remembering it right.
I would never say that people entering the country illegally are not breaking the civil law--of course they are.
Jul. 21 at 8:04pm | See in context
I haven't commented on this site in a long time, but something caught my eye and I couldn't resist. Devra made a statement I've heard and seen before - "a hungry man stealing a piece of bread from a bakery is not really stealing at all" - and this rings false to me. I'm sure you're aware of the term "justifiable homicide". The point I'm trying to make is that, though it may indeed be justified (self-defence, for example), it's still homicide. Is there such a thing as "justifiable theft" when circumstances are desperate? I would say yes, but I can understand that someone else may be skeptical.
With regard to immigration, are we saying "a desperate person entering our country illiegally for work, safety, security, healthcare, education (this list could go on and on) is not really breaking the law"? Devra, I apologize if I'm taking your point too far!
I believe that what's happening on our southern border is criminal, but the "illegal immigrants" (which is what they are) are not the actual criminals (especially the unaccompanied minors). I grew up in Brownsville TX and I can't remember anything like the current situation.
Jul. 21 at 5:45pm | See in context
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