The media reported recently about the beheading by radical Islamists of Syrian Catholic priest Francois Murad who was in the process of setting up a monastery in Northern Syria.
What was his crime? He was not of their particular brand of Islam. It mattered not that he was a follower of Isa (the name of Jesus used in the Koran), a man of the Book that, in one of the conflicting statements attributed to Muhammad, he said should be respected.
He and two others were seized by a Syrian mob and their heads severed using, it was reported, what appeared to be a simple kitchen knife. It need be noted that this was an agonizingly slow process when using such a blunt utensil. After being killed their severed heads were placed upon their bodies on display.
What struck me in particular in addition to the cruel and downright EVIL of the act was the crowd that observed it taking place. It is reported that “dozens of men and boys are seen cheering on as the three men are seated on the ground awaiting their grisly fate”.
Photos of that occasion show many in the crowd of onlookers dressed in western style clothing as though they just returned from Walmart and using modern technology like cell phones to record the event. So civilized looking when viewed in isolation but then you see the cruel focus of their attention.
And one is moved to ask, what is it that influences such barbarism? Clearly being a participant in modern technology and wearing Western clothing has nothing to do with what is going on in the inside of such people. Hard for me to picture a large crowd of say Southern Baptists participating in such an act. There is a fundamental difference
What kind of religious system is it that provides justification for such cruel behavior?
I recall many years ago reading one of James Michener’s wonderful books in which he described travel in the early 20th century in Afghanistan in one of its remote villages.
As I recall, a local man had been found guilty of causing the death of another man’s son.
Local justice, Afghan style, gave the father the right to execute the guilty party which he proceeded to do with great glee while sitting astride the bound man and slowly sawing off his head with a rusty old sword.
Seems nothing much has changed.
Cruelty still rules in that God forsaken yet, strangely religiously strident culture.
A commentary 7/1/13 by Dr. RobertGrant aka ”The Holy Land Guru”
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Dr Robert Grant has been traveling to the Middle East for more than 46 years and has been there more than 125 times hosting holy land tours for his friends. he has been designated the holy land guru by many.