I'm reading through a side tangent in an Atheist News bit.
The tangent is in defense of the Pope for having been a member of the Hitler Youth. It's what all the cool kids were doing in those days, so it's really not fair to hold the Nazi label against him today.
My mind then wanders to the too-many-to-count discussions here equating all Muslims with the actions of the fundamentalist few.
I'm no fan of theistic ignorance and violence, especially the Abrahamic religions. I'm quick with a tongue-in-cheek, "So many Christians, so few lions" type generalization slogan.
But there comes a point when I think we need to remember that fundamentalists make up a very small segment of these religions. And even then, not all fundamentalists are actively violent or in support of it. Take the French burqa ban. I'm guessing that if every married couple where the wife sports a burqa were an active terrorist, they wouldn't have fled to Europe in the first place. Much as I abhor the practice, how much choice did either the wife or husband have in their family, extended family, community, to be taught there are alternative ways to live? They are simply doing what all the cool kids in their peer group do, just like Pope-Rat joining the Hitler Youth.
Then there are the moderates, who make up the other 99.99% of Muslims. We rag on them for not standing up to the fundamentalists. Though honestly, looking at how said fundies will issue a fatwa death sentence on a cartoonist, I can't imagine what they'd do if a fellow Muslim (in their view) were to speak out against them. That, and it simply doesn't make for good news in America where the goal is to dehumanize the 'enemy,' not illustrate that most of them really aren't the enemy.
So I guess if I have a question here, it is: To what extent do we blame the individual for actively choosing to follow an ugly ideology, or to what extent do we pity the individual who is simply doing what his/her environment taught them to do? Yes, that husband in France whose wife wears a burqa might be very worldly and still choosing subjugation of women. But he might also be simply doing what he's been programed from birth to do for genuine fear of eternal hellfire and torment, not to mention alienation from his family, his friends, his community, and everything he's ever believed in if he doesn't.
It's frustrating, I know. But while I certainly hold back little anger for the terrorist, some part of me also has to remember that terrorist likely had little choice in becoming what he became.