I want to return to that important work today because it says something vital about how easy it is to blame a religion, Islam, for terrorism when, in fact, the religion (or, more to the point, the misuse of the religion) may have little or nothing to do with it.
"Taken together, these findings suggest that the motivation for the Tsarnaev brothers’ violent acts is more likely rooted in the turbulent collapse of their family and their escalating personal and collective failures than, as federal investigators have suggested, on the other side of the globe."
The reference to "the other side of the globe" has to do with the ways in which the Tsarnaev brothers (pictured here) may have fallen under the influence of extremists who promoted the use of violence by misrepresenting what Islam teaches.
None of this is to say that Islamism and its violence didn't play some role in the brothers' thinking. But it's pretty clear from the Globe's work that these brothers would have come to a bad ending anyway, partly because of severe mental and family dynamic issues.
Nor am I suggesting that there's not a continuing struggle under way for the soul of Islam, one in which the traditional faith is being challenged by what I've long called the bin Laden wing of Islam, which has dishonored Islam in countless ways by doing what people in Christianity like Fred Phelps of the Westboro Baptist Church in Topeka do, which is to take one tiny piece of thought, twist it until it cannot be recognized and then make that the center of a bizarre theology.
It's careful, balanced reporting that helps the rest of us see the truth. And I worry that as the newspaper industry slips away, we won't have access to much of that reporting anymore.
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NOW HE'S CAMPING ELSEWHERE
Well, Harold Camping, who kept predicting the end of the world, finally was right. The world ended Monday of this week, but just for him. He died at age 92. And some day(s) it will end for the rest of us, too. You can take that prediction to the bank.