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Thesis & Antithesis

A critical perspective on energy, international politics & current affairs

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Location: Washington, D.C.

greekdefaultwatch@gmail.com Natural gas consultant by day, blogger on the Greek economy by night. Trained as an economist and political scientist. I believe in common sense and in data, and my aim is to offer insight written in language that is clear and convincing.

28 March 2006

The endangered convert

Richard Cohen has a nice piece in the Washington Post on Abdul Rahman, the Afghan who converted to Christianity and was threatened to be executed as a result: “The groupthink of the Muslim world is frightening. I know there are exceptions -- many exceptions. But still it seems that a man could be killed for his religious beliefs and no one would say anything in protest. It is also frightening to confront how differently we in the West think about such matters and why the word ‘culture’ is not always a mask for bigotry, but an honest statement of how things are. It is sometimes a bridge too far -- the leap that cannot be made. I can embrace an Afghan for his children, his work, even his piety -- all he shares with much of humanity. But when he insists that a convert must die, I am stunned into disbelief: Is this my fellow man?”

Whenever I reflect on radicalism, I am always reminded of the words of Malcolm Kerr, wrote after the Six-Day War: Arab politics “had ceased to be fun. In the good old days most Arabs refused to take themselves seriously and this made it easier to take a relaxed view of the few who possessed intimations of some immortal mission.” The region has become far more serious since. Too serious indeed.

Richard Cohen, “Unfathomable Zealotry,” Washington Post, 28 Mar 06 (link)


Blogger Sulayman said...

Well, of course politics is more serious. Everyone is at war, and there are deep divisions growing in societies. Arab politics may no longer be fun, but neither is American politics, or UK politics, or Netherlands politics. Where can you say it is fun today?

2:24 AM  

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