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Anders Breivik and the insanity question


'Man is the only animal for whom his existence is a problem which he has to solve and from which he cannot escape.' Erich Fromm, Man for Himself (1947)

Erich Fromm, Man for HimselfTo be called sane might be regarded as a salutary point. To be regarded as insane is, however, another matter — a point that is hotly debated in legal circles.

Insanity confers a tag of exceptionalism on the human subject — the killer undertook his task without awareness of what he was doing. Insanity presumes not merely that your views hailed from Martian premises — it also assumes that, for the rest of your natural life, a diet of drugs, needles and surveillance is appropriate. The rational crime is, it would seem, the best outcome for a criminal, though that poses its own set of challenges.

The case of Anders Breivik, who killed 77 people in Oslo and the island of Utøya in July 2011 as a bloody political statement against Islam and multiculturalism, has demonstrated this point with severe starkness. The prosecutors have been seeking, unsuccessfully, a verdict of insanity.

Sanity assumes purpose and responsibility — the guilty mind or mens rea; insanity assumes its absence, that you have been dislodged from the world of meaning and symbols. 

This is hardly applicable if one consults Breivik's testimony. His critique of Islam, his vengeful attack on the processes of 'cultural Marxism' as he terms it, suggest a radical and violent conservative response. Conservative, Christian radicalism, that is not anti-Semitic, is on the rise in Europe, and Breivik is its foremost proponent.

The gymnastics of reason that has been undertaken at the Breivik trial suggests the complexity of what is at stake in terms of conceptualising mental illness, aggression and crime. To be declared sane has an awful implication — one kills rationally and voluntarily, suggesting that the human race has not progressed that far from the days of its precarious survival.

If aggression is simply viewed as a form of behaviour, then we have scant moved from the premise that resolving disagreements requires a resort to brute and lethal force.

That said, human beings have always justified killing with cold, rational premises. The aggressive tendency in the human species, discussed by such individuals as psychologist Erich Fromm and ethologist Konrad Lorenz, suggests that we are disposed to such tendencies. For Lorenz, the lust for human violence was contained by ceremonial acts and rituals; for Fromm, the desire for destruction was motivated by necrophilia.

Famously, Sigmund Freud saw civilisation as the taming of more violent, death-driven tendencies (the motivation of Thanatos) where life is reduced 'to its original condition of inanimate matter', though it also came at the cost of repressing the drive of life-giving and nourishing Eros. Everything has its stabilising, if retarding price.

It would be more striking to examine the case from other perspectives, rather than examine the fruitless, even redundant point of whether Breivik was insane. His politics and the way he chose to enact it is what matters. The prosecutor's brief can be crudely limiting, as was the brief of the Israeli prosecution team when it came to mounting the case against one of the 20th century's greatest killers — Adolf Eichmann.

Famously, Hannah Arendt, in examining the trial in Eichmann in Jerusalem (1963), spoke of the false assumption on the part of the prosecutors of 'the unequivocal voice of conscience'. Eichmann was being neatly packaged as uniquely evil when he was, in fact, a bureaucratic phenomenon of dullness, evil as banality. What more terrifying assumption of rationality can there be than the reduction of killing to process and ideology?

The great calamities of human misery were the handiwork of rationalised states — the gulag, the death camp, industrialised genocide. To exterminate human beings because of their headdress, custom and manner might be deemed without foundation, but it hardly speaks about sanity.

It was a rationalised technique of killing humans, truth and history, a form of historicide and ethical reversal that characterised Auschwitz and the Archangel camps. One killed because it was ethical to do so.

Should Breivik be ever declared insane, it will be more a case of exculpation than explanation, more a case of making cruelty a product of disease rather than the outcome of cold, certain calculation. As Fromm warns us, humanity's existence is the problem that cannot be escaped.

Binoy KampmarkBinoy Kampmark was a Commonwealth Scholar at Selwyn College, Cambridge. He lectures at RMIT University, Melbourne.

Topic tags: Binoy Kampmark, Norway, Anders Breivik, mental illness



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Stieg Larsson, another Scandinavian and author of the Millennium trilogy about Lisbeth Salander, was also one of the experts on Neo-Nazi groups in Scandinavia. If he were alive today I would value his insight into Breivik and those like him. I think Breivik is sane but somewhat unbalanced in his views. The shocking multiple murders he committed may lead some to bring up the "temporary insanity" idea but that also tends to excuse him. The rise of the Extreme Right in Europe with the same sort of nativist, anti-Muslim and anti-multicultural agenda, sometimes with what appear to be "twin" organisations, one supposedly political and non-violent, the other much more confrontational, is a fact of modern life. The hard question for the political class is to look at the platforms of the legitimate political parties which embody what seems to many of us an Extreme Right Agenda and to see, beneath the propaganda, whether there are legitimate fears behind the bombast that some supporters have which need to be addressed without surrendering any principles. Post World War I Germany provided the economic and political collapse which led to the rise of Hitler. Do some (not all) similar conditions exist in contemporary Europe? Can they be addressed and therefore contain the rise of the Extreme Right? The frightening thing about Nazism was its systemic efficiency which allowed those such as Eichmann to rise through it. Eichmann, once again, was both evil and guilty. Just because he might, at times, have appeared banal and did not have horns and a tail, does not mean he was not extremely evil. His sort of evil is a reality, not some sort of philosophical entity. Perhaps Europe, especially Western Europe, needs to rediscover its own soul? Real Christianity might help it to do so. I'm not talking about motherhood statements from clerics nor revivalism but a return to its deep, ancient cultural roots. Christianity and Islam, sibling Semitic/Abrahamic religions, once clashed violently during the Crusades, which left a bitter after-taste in the Islamic World. The "War on Terror" revived that siege mentality there. The opposite side to the coin, extreme Islam of the Salafi-Wahhabi variety flourishes amongst Muslim communities in Europe. My gut feeling is that real mainstream Christianity and Islam at the highest levels need to meet and reach a living, tolerant accommodation to prevent the rise of the Extreme Right and Muslim Extremists who attempt to co-opt their respective cultures to their ends. If ever there were a task for the Vatican and the Ulema of Al Azhar it would be this. The last thing we need is the continuation anywhere of this perceived "Clash of Civilizations".

Edward F | 28 August 2012  

To describe Brevik as being a proponent of" Conservative, Christian radicalism, that is not anti-Semitic" reflects the view that anti-Semitism must be anti Judaic. Arabs are Semites a consequence of this is that hatred of Islam is just as anti-Semitic as hatred of Judaism. IT would be of more value to show that Brevik was anti-Christian. Whether he is sane or not misses the point he is without doubt full of hatred. All penalties are inadequate but jailing him with other hatred filled terrorists be they Al-Qaida or the Stern Gang or the Gestapo is the most appropriate penalty.

Andrew Jackson | 28 August 2012  

Surely with behaviour such as Breivik's, one is by definition not Christian - Jesus 'by their fruit you will know [my followers]'.

hilary | 28 August 2012  

Thanks for this article and the never-to-be-ended arguments of psychosis versus sanity. All Norwegians [so my relatives there tell me] believe Breivik to be sane. However, they accepted the prosecutors seeking a verdict of insanity because that meant, under Norwegian law, Breivik could be detained for life. Norway has a life sentence of 21 years for a sane killer. However, this sane verdict is such that it will be reviewed, and almost certainly detention continued, after 21 years. Norwegians find this a satisfactory decision.

Caroline Storm | 28 August 2012  

Thanks to Caroline Storm, we have a practical explanation of why the finding that Breivik is 'sane' is the better outcome. However I believe the finding of sanity is the better outcome because it disturbed me when the question of Breivik's sanity was first raised. Racism was implicit in the question of his sanity. When a Muslim terrorist kills a hundred people, the question of sanity is never raised ... it appears that we expect such bloodshed from a Muslim, no matter where he/she comes from. When this Northwestern European Christian kills 77 people, we make the judgement he must be insane. Why do we not also think the Muslim terrorist must be insane?

Ian Fraser | 29 August 2012  

There is much to dispute in this contrived, opaque piece. Here's a bit: "Conservative, Christian radicalism, that is not anti-Semitic, is on the rise in Europe, and Breivik is its foremost proponent." The statement pokes its head above the morass of verbiage, and then sinks without justifying trace. No documentary, empirical evidence put forward to justify the claim that the lunatic monster Breivik's rationalizations are linked to some wider "conservative, Christian radicalism". Just a cheap, academic, off-the-cuff statement that nevertheless constitutes a devastating slur on those who might count themselves as "conservatives" and/or even "radical" Christians - which latter, in context, might mean those who take traditional Christian tenets and credal formulae seriously (such as - needless to say -: 'directly killing innocents is intrinsically evil'. As opposed to those who, wringing their hands, find ultimately that killing the unborn and the incompetent elderly is, after all, perfectly OK. ) As a first approximation we might be looking at the non-anti-Semitic Pope Benedict and his radically "conservative" fellow Catholics who loyally follow the thrust of his papacy might well come under that head. Yep: they're all surely walking under Breivik's banner. No correspondence entered into. Welcome to the world of the post-modern high ground, which is rapidly sinking to the zany levels of the Breiviks it purports to oppose.

HH | 29 August 2012  

Hear, hear, to all that HH wrote. There is a rising tide of Islamic militancy in Europe that many conservative Christians are opposing. These Christians oppose the ever increasing creep of Sharia Law, a legal system that is fundamentally at odds with our western liberal democratic traditions. Yet all Binoy Kampmark can do is to smear any opposition to the sacred cows of Islam and multiculturalism by associating it with murderous cranks like Brevik. Binoy Kampmark would do well to consider the criticisms made of Islam and multiculturalism at the recent atheists' convention in Melbourne. This link http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=sOMjEJ3JO5Q features Richard Dawkins, Daniel Dennett, Sam Harris and Ayaan Hirsi Ali discussing the west's failure to properly consider the full implications of Islam and multiculturalism, and they could hardly be called Christian conservatives. I also challenge Eureka Street to turn its gaze to the evolving mess in the Middle East. On various sites I read of the increasing persecution of Christians in Tunisia, Egypt and Nigeria. There were articles on Eureka Street trumpeting the benefits of the so-called Arab spring. Egypt held out the promise of so much hope and cooperation. Why not revisit this topic? Why is it that Christianity seems to be your preferred target for criticism?

MJ | 29 August 2012  

"All people are a single nation." Qu-ran

Bernstein | 29 August 2012  

@ Bernstein "Fight those who do not believe in Allah, nor in the latter day, nor do they prohibit what Allah and His Apostle have prohibited, nor follow the religion of truth, out of those who have been given the Book, until they pay the tax in acknowledgment of superiority and they are in a state of subjection." (Quran 9.29)

This quote is used by Muslims to justify driving non-Muslims from their lands. If they do not convert, they must pay jizya, basically money that is extorted on the threat of their lives. They also live, if they are lucky, as second class citizens, dhimis being the technical term. And before anyone tells me that every religion has its extremists, quote me a verse from the New Testament that is in keeping with the spirit of Christ's whole message and example that can legitimately be used to justify persecution of non-Christians.

John Ryan | 29 August 2012  

@ John Ryan, "Like the bee gathering honey from the different flowers, the wise person accepts the essence of the different scriptures and sees only the good in all religions."
Mohandas Gandhi

Bernstein | 29 August 2012  

MJ, Not Dawkins again trying to find answers to the mysteries of the catholic Faith . Has he never read the old proverb that says, he who despises wants to buy ?

Jesus | 30 August 2012  

@ Bernstein, there is much to admire about Ghandi. However, I cannot see any wisdom in the quotation you posted. We must be aware of the good and evil that exists in all people, groups and philosophies. It is foolhardy to look at something and predetermine that there is no evil in it.

John Ryan | 30 August 2012  

No, "Jesus", Dawkins and his co-hosts were not looking at the mysteries of the Catholic faith. They were discussing the unwillingness or failure of many of the intellectual elite in the Western world to critically examine Islam and multiculturalism. Sorry, "Jesus" but not everything is about you.

MJ | 30 August 2012  

John Ryan: correct. The Gandhi quote sounds so acceptable to moderns, but it's really quite useless, dangerous and indeed self-contradictory. For how does one determine what's "good" and what's "bad" in a particular religion unless one has recourse to an overriding standard of good and bad? And if one has that standard, isn't condemning the bad in a religion/worldview the logical obverse of praising the good? For example: if I praise Judeo-Christianity for respecting human life from the moment of conception, am I not thereby condemning the religion of Moloch where the adherents cast babies into that god's fiery jaws? (I hastily note that Gandhi also said "it seems to me as clear as daylight that abortion would be a crime". Kudos to him there.) MJ, thanks and great comments.

HH | 30 August 2012  

@ John Ryan, Apologies- I assumed you were familiar with Gandhi's Dream, in regards to Hindu - Muslim unity. And how the New Testament, particularly Christ's Sermon on the Mount, evoked a spiritual recognition. And, -Blessed are those who make peace. They will be called God's children. Blessed are those who are persecuted for doing what God approves of. The kingdom of heaven belongs to them. Blessed are you when people insult you, persecute you, lie, and say all kinds of evil things about you because of me. Rejoice and be glad because you have a great reward in heaven! The prophets who lived before you were persecuted in these ways- ( Matthew 5 : 9-11 ) - is in keeping with the spirit of Christ's whole message and example that can legitimately be used to justify persecution of non-Christians. As Christ himself was persecuted for the Truth. And how Gandhi's philosophy of renunciation and nonviolence, nurtured by Lectio Divina of sacred Hindu and Christian texts, were his life's foundation.

Bernstein | 30 August 2012  

...Anders Breivik, sane or insane, a Conservative Christian or Nazi.?...He killed 77 human beings. He is murderer.

Myra | 30 August 2012  

I think Binoy Kampmark was incorrect when he placed Anders Breivik in the "Conservative, Christian radicalism" pigeon hole which itself is a simplistic category. The Wikipedia article on Breivik gives some far more insightful comments on his philosophy as expressed in the Manifesto. I think Breivik would see himself as a cultural Christian, but more as a European, who felt it necessary to defend Western European cultural identity against the threat of being submerged by an alien Islamic one. He is a complex individual and though he would have some close sympathisers he acted on his own. To me he is a symptom rather than a cause of what is currently happening in Europe. The problem is not a generic multiculturalism but what the general population in many countries see as the failure of primarily Muslim immigrants to accept the ethos; political and legal systems of their new countries. Islam has traditionally not differentiated between religion and politics in the governance of an Islamic state according to Sharia. Hence attempts to introduce any aspects of Sharia into a non-Muslim country, say in the matter of marriage and divorce, are seen as the thin end of the wedge and likely to lead to a state within a state.

The place of Islam and Sharia in a majority non-Muslim state is, to me, a debate we need to have and something the Muslims in such a state need to realise is necessary. Sir Gerard Brennan is, I believe, on record as saying there is no place for Sharia to operate in parallel with Australian Law. Australia has fortunately not had someone like Breivik. The Cronulla Riots of 2005 were possibly a wakeup call as to what can happen if the Muslim minority and majority Australian community become alienated. Fortunately it was handled well by the police; government and community and did not go further.

Edward F | 01 September 2012  

after watching context in muslim christian relations by fr aloysius mowe sj http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=wKDYuiIKkRs&feature=plcp those who think they have posted inspirational christian comments may not find them very inspirational after all julian berkeley ca usa

julian cohen | 02 September 2012  

@ Julian. Having watched Fr Mowe, I find no reason to adjust my opinion of any of my own comments or those that agreed with me. Fr Mowe’s presentation was full of misrepresentations of both Catholicism and Islam, and replete with moral equivalence. I know of no Catholic teaching that seeks to have all sex outside of marriage criminalised. The official Church teaching on capital punishment, if my memory serves me correctly, is that it should be used only in exceptional circumstances. Islam mandates death for adultery, apostasy and blasphemy. How many abortionists have been killed or gone into hiding because of Catholics? Quite a few people have been living in hiding following the Mohammed cartoons. More recently masses of Muslims were calling for American soldiers to be killed for their “crime” of unwittingly burning Qurans. It is on the subject of women that Fr Mowe is most egregiously in error. The Quran instructs men that they may beat their wives. They may marry up to four women. Rape can only be proven if four devout men give evidence. Apart from not allowing women to be ordained, what horrible crimes does the Catholic Church commit against women?

MJ | 02 September 2012  

Islam itself is quite a Broad Church, Julian and views within it vary. What seems to concern Breivik and those like him is Islam of the Salafi-Wahhabi sort (Wahhabism being the official Islam of Saudi Arabia and having a great deal in common with the Islam taught in the Deobandi madrassas in Pakistan and Afghanistan from which the Taliban came). This sort of Islam is being preached in many mosques in Europe and is attracting many young Muslims in Britain and the Continent, some of whom have then gone on to perpetrate terrorist acts. Salafis and Wahhabis are very keen on the application of Sharia in Muslim countries and what they call the Khalifat, which is one Islamic state encompassing all the Umma (Faithful). Some even talk of regaining "lost" Muslim lands such as Andalusia. This sort of propaganda is quite common and no doubt Breivik would have come across it which I think would have effected his views.

Breivik and the Salafi-Wahhabis are, to me, two sides to the same extremist coin. The rise of someone like Breivik is, I think, pretty much a reaction to the rise of Salafi-Wahhabi ideology amongst some sections of the disaffiliated Muslim youth of Western Europe.

This is a real problem and needs to be realistically addressed. This is not about comparative religion.

Fortunately most Muslims and most Muslim countries are not like this. I certainly see potential problems with and in Saudi Arabia. Iran is already a world problem (Being Shia it is seen as the enemy by Salafi-Wahhabis). Turkey, although ruled by an Islamic party and Egypt, with a President who was once a member of the Muslim Brotherhood (not Salafi) still seem committed to political pluralism and a modern state not run on Sharia.

Events both in the Muslim World and the Muslim diaspora will shape how people in countries with non-Muslim majorities see the Muslims amongst them.

Edward F | 03 September 2012  

After a little research, I found this info.

The Muslims are mentioned, specifically, in the Dogmatic Constitution on the Church “Lumen Gentium”, http://www.vatican.va/archive/hist_councils/ii_vatican_council/documents/vat-ii_const_19641121_lumen-gentium_en.html as first among the non-Biblical, monotheistic religions. “Nostra Aetate” then comment: on Islam and on Christian-Muslim Relations in more detail:“Upon the Moslems, too, the Church looks with esteem. They adore one God, living and enduring, merciful and all-powerful, Maker of heaven and earth and Speaker to men. They strive to submit wholeheartedly even to His inscrutable decrees, just as did Abraham, with whom the Islamic faith is pleased to associate itself. Though they do not acknowledge Jesus as God, they revere Him as a prophet. They also honor Mary, His Virgin mother; at times they call on her, too, with devotion. In addition they wait the Day of Judgment when God will give each man his due after raising him up. Consequently, they praise the moral life, and give worship to God especially through prayer, almsgiving and fasting.
Although in the course of the centuries many quarrels and hostilities have arisen between Christians and Moslems, this most sacred Synod urges all to forget the past and to strive sincerely for mutual understanding. On behalf of all mankind, let them make common cause of safeguarding and fostering social justice, moral values, peace and freedom, the basic approach which underlines and puts first what is positive and unites....The submission to the merciful, living God, so clearly preached by the Qur’an (S. 29:46: “Our God and your God are one, and to Him we submit. “) and acknowledged by the Church (LG, no. 16: “They adore God”) constitutes a special “spiritual bond”, a “true brother and sisterhood”. We speak here of faith in the One God, the Creator, the All-mighty and All-merciful Lord of history who has spoken to humankind through the Prophets and will judge all men and women on the Last Day. Based on the shared faith in God is a similar view of the human person: he or she is God’s creation, “servant of God”, steward of the gifts of God; he is subject to the law of good and evil and called to come near to God. For Christians and Muslims the basis of ethics lies in the tension between the personal God and man as a creature of God. For both the objective of life consists in the service of the human person and the glorification of God. In the same way both, Christians and Muslims are under the imperative of justice and mercy as well as of commitment to truth and the peace from God... Having understood the preceding, all we need to do now, is to come up with ideas that are novel and that promote such peace .

Myra | 04 September 2012  

I think, Myra, the problem is neither "Islam" nor "Christianity" defined in fairly general terms, but the way certain extremist expressions of Islam are gaining the sort of reaction they are from the likes of Anders Breivik in the West, particularly Europe. Extremist Islam and the Extreme Right, the latter partly caused and sustained by the former, are real political problems in contemporary Western Europe. The political class needs to understand both because their violent interaction strains democratic societies.

Edward F | 04 September 2012  

fr aloysius mowe sj offers a sense of
perspective on causes of concern a thought process that permits us to understand how similar we are despite our differences is also offered in douglas r hofstandter who describes himself as a non religious person pulitzer prize winning book < godel escher and bach > i am sure the whole book can be read online if you mj and edward f are sincere about a request for public dialogue concerning this issue you may wish to consider the significance of how douglas r hofstandter deciphers the map of the human mind in chapter XII minds and thoughts asu's page 373 a surprise reversal page 374 centrality and universality page 375 to 376 julian berkeley ca usa

julian cohen | 04 September 2012  

I think the use of the word "sincere" in your last post might connote a not quite so veiled value judgement, Julian. There has been excellent public dialogue between educated, intelligent and moderate Muslims and Christians in the West, including an excellent Jesuit seminar which travelled this country in 2003 and which I attended in Brisbane, which featured Professor Abdullah Saeed, Frs Dan Madigan and Frank Brennan. Similar events have been held worldwide. The problem here is that we are not discussing eggs and eggs. Dr Kampmark's article was not about inter-religious dialogue. It was about the rise of a particular representative of the Extreme Right in Europe. My one contention here is that the rise of people like Anders Breivik is very much a reaction to the rise of the extremist Wahhabi-Salafi movement in Europe. What is needed here is understanding by the political class of the problems which have led to the rise of Wahhabi-Salafi groups in the immigrant Muslim community and the reaction to this that spawns the likes of Breivik. The underlying reasons for both need to be faced and practically addressed to prevent European society polarising further with the real possibility of violence from both sides as has already happened. As I, personally, have repeatedly stated on this thread I do not see this as a problem with generic "Islam" or "Christianity" but the clash, sadly not just intellectually, between two extremist positions.

Edward F | 04 September 2012  

Myra and Julian, I am not so sure that Muslims worry about what the Council said in Lumen Gentium or what Douglas R Hofstandter has written. I think that the voices of the imam featured in the following clip influence them more. This is specifically so because his words and examples are drawn from Islam's own sacred scriptures. It is after I have seen a speech like the one I link belowe, that I can barely believe Fr Mowe says that the Catholic Church is in no poistion to talk down to anybody about its treatment of women.


MJ | 04 September 2012  

I came to the conclusion long ago … that all religions were true and also that all had some error in them, and whilst I hold by my own, I should hold others as dear as Hinduism. So we can only pray, if we are Hindus, not that a Christian should become a Hindu … But our innermost prayer should be a Hindu should be a better Hindu, a Muslim a better Muslim, a Christian a better Christian. Mohandas Gandhi

Bernstein | 05 September 2012  

"He that does not choose Islam, this will not be accepted. In the world to come he will be lost (Koran 3:85)".
In the comments posted there are many parallel Koranic statements. Worse can be found in the Hadith. I was interested to note a comment that there seems some difficulty in labelling Muslim acts of terror in the way Breivik is labelled.
I agree. I also agree that whether he is sane or insane: an extreme 'conservative Christian: or any such label is irrelevant. All the philosophising and 'Psychologising' in the world doesn't change the fact that he has murdered, in cold blood, innocents that had no way to protect themselves, loved ones or bystanders. He is in the same class as the Port Arthur and Melbourne shooters.
As a Vietnam veteran I believe each one of us, each reader whether priest, politician or lay person, has the capacity to commit a heinous crime/s if the mind is set in a particular way.
My Lai is only one example. Hitler has never been alone in the history of human atrocities. Stalin was more heinous. Pol Pot did it to their own. Religion and politics are not the issue in such matters. They are the excuse. The cause is this underlying capacity of human beings to destroy others. Good and Evil, like Truth depend not on Absolute convictions but in the mind of the perpetrator.Whether singly or
in huge numbers, the 'cause dear Brutus is in
ourselves...' The "hard question" is one each of us needs to address. It is "Am I capable of ...?". The irrefutable answer for most of us as bhumans is "YES". The Limbic system, not controlled by the Forebrain and Cerebellum can lead us to commit crimes against our bodies and selves, Mind can be healer and slayer.
As a practicing Clinical Psychologist there is a fine borderland between thought, visions, and action. I have been the 'analyst' in domestic, sexual and predator violence In modern times Religion, Politics and Psychology can be, in a
social sense, healer and slayer when it treads the 'Borderlands'.
The bottom line should be on outcome. In the larger picture, if the outcome is the committing of a violent or henious crime, and the witnesses offer irrefutable evidence as in the Nuremburg and UN trials for 'crimes against humanity' then the individual responsible should be incarcerated outside the borders of society.
Misquoting Ghandi, Mandella or any spiritual giants like Jesus or Mohammed, cannot lead to resolution of the problem of extreme human violence. Breivik's abound in human history. The extremism of some areas of Islam cannot be washed away by denial, comparison with the Inquisition, or the euphamism used by politicians, or the religious afraid to address terrorism's perpetrators. The Koran offers its practitioners a confusing option between the quotation opening this letter and the adoration of the 'One God'. The Koran depicts many phases in the life of a spiritually driven leader. Many Imam's, well read in the Koran, offer only one alternative, that of violent world
domination. Others follow 'humanitarian' concepts the would resonate with Christianity. Within the Christian and Judaic fold both alternatives are offered. The three major Abrahamic religions contain the seeds of the Islamic terrorist.
"The answer my friend is written in the wind."
Mutual conversation, dialogue and opposition to any form of violent extremism must be contained. At the moment is seems to be out opf control. Those who denigrate the US need to look at "Which world power offers a better alternative to the US committment?"

Dr Karl H Cameron-Jackson | 01 November 2012  

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