He was so kind, so kind. To become like that, they must have drugged him. He was a Catholic; he did his catechism!That is the bit that stands out to me from the sad story of the French jihadist, after his grandmother recognised him in a video, beheading enemies. By the way, the Muslims beheading children in Syria are all perfectly sober; as sober as a human can be. Their religion forbids all manner of mood-alteration. And you thought the worst that could happen to your child is that he light up a joint? Haha.
Before you deal with any further characterisation of the jihadist, consider how his family is presented:
Practicing catholics, they live with their two young sons since Michael, the eldest, left the family home to go to Syria a year ago.Note that: practicing catholics, not “extremist.” Now that their son has become a practicing Muslim, they don’t say “practicing”, but rather “extremist”. The World can keep its head buried as long as it wants, but language in general, as it tends to, has borne faithful witness to its cowardice and madness.
This jidahi was named as Romanist as only the Portuguese can name: Michael of the Saints. He grew up in a practicing (non-moderate) Roman Catholic home. He did his catechism! And then? Everybody would like to say “suddenly”, but in fact his ex-girlfriend makes a very instructive mistake in tracking the loss of this particular soul:
Between February and May 2009, he started working with a friend who was a moderate Muslim. Suddenly he started talking about the Qur’an, the surahs. More and more and more.Moderate Muslim friend? Where did this “moderate” modifier come from? Does “moderate heretic” make sense? At the very least, the seeming necessity of this modifier, “moderate” should indicate that there is a problem with being “Muslim” in general; why haven’t we felt the need to recognise “moderate socialists”?
Their prophet Muhammad was not a moderate or an extremist; he was just a Muslim. He was also a beheader of children (see Khaybar, for instance), besides being a molester of girls (see Aisha, for instance), and he enjoined it as duty on every Muslim. If you would like to distinguish between moderate and not, say “practicing Muslim” for the beheader. To be a Muslim is the problem, since to be a heretic is the problem.
Why do we feel the need to recognise those Muslims who are not beheading people, as “moderate”, rather than just reconciling ourselves to our failure to take the thing as it comes? There is a Muslim, and then there is a non-Muslim. We do not have moderate militant, or moderate environmentalist, or moderate Republican, or moderate monarchist; we insist on “moderate” because we cannot take the whole thing as it comes. Capitalist is capitalist. We take that (or reject it) as it comes. Heretic is heretic.
But more-importantly, there is nothing sudden about his conversion. Bad company ruins good character. If you hang with heretics, you soon become one. I am prepared to live with Christians of all sorts, of all stupidities. (I think I can even stand Seventh-Day Adventists, who are actually heretics, but probably not unto death.) However, anybody who denies the Father and the Son is entirely beyond the pale.
So that is the first take-away: hang with heretics (whether your society claims they are moderate or not; that is, whether they are practicing or not) and you will become a heretic.
No sane parent should go to sleep without thinking about these things. What remains is that if you treasure above all else this faith “once for all delivered to the saints”, then you will have a policy that, above all else, excludes high heretics. We can debate the rest, even tolerate it. Because, you see, if a child of mine converted from the sound doctrine of the Reformed Christians, for instance, into something half-blind, like Eastern Orthodox, I would worry that/because he was slipping into heresy, but I would not mourn him as dead. If he became SDA, I would worry about him as terminally-ill. If he became Roman Catholic, I would cry about him as a mother cries for a son in coma (or, shall I say, purgatory).
This calls for an awareness of what we can and cannot tolerate. We are going to have to tolerate, but not everything. Some people among us will be different, but we cannot tolerate all difference. Islam happens to be beyond tolerating.