The Log In Our Own Eye

by tristero

PZ Myers links to a story of truly monstrous religious madness:
"Two weeks after The Observer revealed the shocking story of Rand Abdel-Qader, 17, murdered because of her infatuation with a British solider in Basra, southern Iraq, her father is defiant. Sitting in the front garden of his well-kept home in the city's Al-Fursi district, he remains a free man, despite having stamped on, suffocated and then stabbed his student daughter to death."
And that isn't all. Read PZ's post for more details that will increase your despair for humanity.

What singularly shocks is the extent to which this behavior was accepted by the community. I would imagine that there are proportionally about as many Muslim fathers capable of psychotic rage who would stomp their daughter to death as there are Christian and Jewish ones - that is, not many at all. So obviously, something is seriously twisted about any community, religious or otherwise, that condones such insanity.

That said, this ghastly incident will probably serve as an occasion for some folks to re-assert the moral superiority of "the West" and to denounce the evils of "multi-culturalism." It shouldn't: generalizing from this horror is utterly fallacious. For if one does generalize, then one needs also to turn those generalizations back on ourselves.

In our larger society, we have plenty of objectively immoral acts that we condone or excuse or avoid confronting that make claims of higher moral standards absurd. One example: The people of the United States will almost surely permit the men who planned and executed the razing of Fallujah to escape justice, only one of countless war crimes for which the present leaders of this country will never be held accountable.

Obviously, stomping a child to death is a uniquely horrible crime. And it points to something seriously askew in the immediate cultural milieu if that community finds any excuse to condone or excuse it. Of course, anyone with an ounce of moral sense unequivocally condemns it. But incidents like this represent no opportunity to hold our own larger society up as an exemplar for others. Condemning is one thing, and fully deserved. Feeling superior is another, and is utterly unwarranted.