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Terrorists take aim at trust

As simple a task as driving on the road depends on trust that vehicles approaching from front and behind are driven by people who abide by the rules of the road.

We take for granted rules by which we conduct myriads of things in our daily lives, and how the sum total of these transactions constitutes the working order of our society and our civilization.

These rules we set for ourselves in the absence of trust would not work.

Trust is an invisible social wire that connects and binds us in our relationships as intimate as the one within a family and with individuals as strangers we meet in our work and travel.

How trust is formed and maintained is a fascinating subject with a vast literature. Its origin is embedded in custom and religion, and traditional ethics—for instance, Confucian or Christian—rest on its working. And hence we have the golden rule, irrespective of whether it is a matter of rational calculation or derived from religious teaching, of not doing wrong to others so that it may not be done to oneself.

Yet this has to be taught and learned, as Aristotle instructed, for habits are formed through practice, and trust is an acquired norm.

The recent doctors’ plot in Glasgow and London, of Muslim physicians engaging in acts of terror, is only one diabolical event in what has become since 9/11 an endless chain of premeditated violence against modern civilization by a people who has made of religion—Islam—an ideology of mayhem and murder.

Osama bin Laden and his gang of Islamist thugs with a global reach did not merely set out to inflict on the West physical harm.

It should have been clear by now that their meticulously plotted objective is to destroy trust between non-Muslims and Muslims with predictable consequences.

The ancient Chinese built a wall to separate their civilization from those deemed untrustworthy barbarians. Similarly other medieval civilizations built some sort of physical or cultural wall separating one from the other as untrustworthy.

The wall Muslims of medieval religious sensibilities built was culturally as firm as the physical wall of China, separating the House of Islam—where believers resided with trust among each other—from the House of War inhabited by unbelievers and infidels whom Muslims could not trust.

Islamists have been unequivocal in their goal of reconstituting that medieval separation between the House of Islam and the House of War. Their jihad (war) through terrorism is explicitly designed to wreck the relationship between non-Muslims and Muslims by inflicting irreparable damage to the functioning of trust between them.

The vast majority of Muslims who are not Islamists and fear the Islamist agenda, in remaining silent or in being irresolute in publicly opposing the Islamists, has done little in restoring the trust between themselves and non-Muslims that has been so severely undermined.

Muslims today and in the years to come will have none to blame but themselves for failing to do what is right in unconditionally and publicly repudiating Islamists, and repairing the trust by which our world functions.

It is so far the decency of people in the West that they have not drawn a wall Islamists are hard at work in erecting to separate themselves from Muslims as untrustworthy. If this occurs Muslims will be greatly responsible for their own misfortune.

Contact the Editor: Joel Johannesen
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