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Tuesday, 30 October 2007
Interpretation Is Everything
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"Amrozi became known as the smiling bomber because of his constant grin during his trial. 'People ask me, why am I smiling? I am happy because I will be united with 72 angels in heaven,” he said in an interview with Reuters and a local television network. “I have killed many with my bombs. I have been tested by spending time in this prison, but if you make infidels angry you will be rewarded.'"
-- from this news article


This is such an ambiguous statement. It's open to all kinds of different interpretations.

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Posted on 10/30/2007 4:51 PM by Hugh Fitzgerald
Comments
31 Oct 2007
Laurie
So what then was the point of the post?  I mean it's old news.

30 Oct 2007
Send an emailRebecca Bynum
Laurie, you must be new to this site. Hugh was being sarcastic.

30 Oct 2007
Laurie

I'm not sure what ambiguity you are concerned about.  His statements seem to be entirely logical and consistent with his beliefs.  If he believes that killing infidels is going to get him into heaven and that heaven is better than Earth, then what weight does a moment's inconvenience in front of a firing squad carry? 

This consistency between belief and action is usually described as "integrity" though I doubt many of us are comfortable with that description in this particular case.  The interesting thing about Amrozi and the other Bali bombers is how well they illustrate the insanity of religious belief and, by way of contrast, demonstrate the hypocrisy of most believers who not only fail to establish that unity between belief and action, but create a gulf that undermines any hope integrity.

Having visited Indonesia frequently over many years, the rise of a more fundamentalist type of Islam is a source of concern.  However, on balance, and perhaps excluding Aceh and parts of East Java, the average Indonesian is no more religious than the average Sydneysider or Londoner.  They too are happy to espouse beliefs that they have no intention of acting upon!  However it is a big country and they have their share of homicidal, religious maniacs.  In the present circumstances though, given the history of the christian west, it is hard to see that we have grounds for more than condemnation of specific events and specific killers.