2002 November 28 Thursday
Nigerian Muslim Scholar Blames Writer For Rioters

This is a pretty perverse way to assign responsibility. A lady writes a column that enrages militant Muslims. The militant Muslims respond by going on a rampage and killing a couple of hundred people. Are the rioters responsible for the killings? This leading Islamic scholar holds the writer responsible for the actions of the people who felt anger over what she said:

From the Nigerian capital, Abuja, a leading Islamic scholar told The Washington Times a death penalty would be justifiable under Muslim law.

Those who cause death by reckless behavior could be put to death, said Hussein Mohamed.

"Over 200 people have died because of that article," he said. "So why are you concerned about the fate of one lady?"

This argument of course makes the rioters into less than moral agents. If the lady columnist is responsible for provoking their anger and is therefore responsible for the deaths then the rioters are no more than simple mindless automatons who are reacting to a simple stimulus.

An assumption that underlies a free society is the notion that all of its members are moral agents who are responsible for making moral judgements about whether they are justified in carrying out any action they decide to perform. A person with a conscience who is responsible for his actions has to control his own emotional responses and can't blame the writings of someone else for what he does.

Share |      By Randall Parker at 2002 November 28 11:51 PM  Civilizations Clash Of


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