Reply to Bolt
Andrew Bolt wrote a pretty scurrilous attack on me at his blog. So I emailed him. He did not reply. So I’ll post my email in full.
Dear Mr Bolt,
By chance, I happened to read your blog this evening. I saw this entry
Under a heading which says
you allege Tariq Ramadan praised the murderer. And then go on to write
Which makes even sicker this other excuse offered by Michael Brull on the ABC:
It may be worth noting – however one feels about Merah’s grievances, they are plainly secular.
Now, firstly, your heading plainly implies that I whitewashed the murder of Jewish children. Have you read my article? Is that really what you believe I did? Do you think, for example, my opening sentence (“Mohamed Merah committed terrible, shocking crimes”) implies some kind of approval of what he did?
Secondly, do you consider it an “excuse” for murder to argue that the grievances which motivated it were secular? Do you think it would similarly be an “excuse” for Anders Breivik if I wrote that his grievances were secular? It seems to me that unless you regard religiously motivated actions as inherently more morally blameworthy, your claim is absurd.
Thirdly – I quote the Guardian. If you haven’t read my article, I will repeat my quote for your benefit.
It was reported that
he made some attempt to explain… just what had motivated his madness. The soldiers he killed in the back? Members of the 17th Regiment who had killed his “brothers” in Afghanistan. The small children from the Jewish school? A way of “avenging Palestinian children”.
I said – regardless of how one feels about those explanations, they are secular. Do you know what secular means, Mr Bolt? It means non-religious. Do you think that the explanations he gave for his murder were religious?
It is possible you think one should disregard what he said to justify his actions in determining why he did them. If the non-religious reasons he offered weren’t really why he committed his actions, then I would be inaccurate. I do not claim to know what was in his heart, and would be skeptical of anyone who claimed they did. Yet I fail to see how anything I wrote whitewashed his actions or made some kind of excuse for them. Assuming that the words you use have actual substantive meaning.