A lot has been going on in New Jersey lately, what with a radio hosts asinine remarks about a Rutgers basketball team, our Governor showing us why buckling-up is the law, and today news about a foiled terrorist plot to kill soldiers at Ft. Dix plus consideration is being given to actually acting like civilized people and doing away with the death penalty. As for the death penalty story, I found one opponent’s comment particularly interesting. Sen. Nicholas Asselta (R-NJ) had this pearl to share with us;
How can you not impose the death penalty on people like
Osama bin Laden?
I didn’t know we had found him and he was to be executed by the state of New Jersey. Indeed folks, the first three letters of his last name is all the description needed for this particular senator.
The foiled terrorist plot story, however, is something different entirely. Thanks to a vigilant store employee reported something suspicious when some men asked for a tape of them shooting automatic weapons and shouting “Allah Akbar” to DVD; the 6 men were caught when they tried to purchase AK-47’s and other heavy weapons from an FBI agent. At the moment they don’t seem to have any international affiliations to terrorist organizations, but it is disturbing nonetheless.
What most interested me comes at the tail of the article, where Sohail Mohammed (a lawyer who represented Muslims detained after the Sept. 11th terrorist attacks) was quoted as follows;
“But when the government says `Islamic militants,’ it sends a message to the public that Islam and militancy are synonymous. Don’t equate actions with religion.”
“Don’t equate actions with religion” eh? I’m not about to suggest that all Muslims are militants and wish to impose an Islamic theocracy on the world (that would be a bold-faced lie), but it does strike me as odd than many Muslim men are prone to violence and claim they want to kill others in the name of their god. If someone claims to be pious and finds a scriptural basis for killing others, their actions cannot be totally disassociated from religion; religion is not some free-floating thing that is an ideal where we can all pick and choose who really gets it and who doesn’t. To me, the actions of practitioners of a religion often speak to the values of that particular belief system, and while I agree that not all Muslims are extremists or fundamentalists we can’t keep sweeping religiously-based terrorism under the rug and say “Well, they just didn’t get it.”