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Explaining evil acts

By Saad Hafiz:

While al Qaeda and the young men shooting up the school both seek to create terror in others, only the evil acts of the first are labelled as actual terrorism

Trying to explain the evil acts that kill innocents daily round the globe like the one that killed 20 children and six adults at Sandy Hook Elementary School in Newtown, Connecticut, USA, is on a par with explaining how the universe was formed. There may be no greater expression of evil than the murder of children in their classrooms. Mary O’Toole, who worked for 15 years in the FBI’s Behavioral Analysis Unit where she studied psychopaths and helped capture killers, described Adam Lanza’s well-planned shooting rampage as “callousness in the extreme” and “off the charts”.

The men who resort to these actions are not branded as terrorists and are dismissed as loners and people who have been picked on and bullied. There is generally no political or religious motivation seen in their actions, just revenge for perceived injustices. It is explained that their acts are not intended to cause terror, but are criminal acts to extract vengeance, but the same could be said about the 9/11 acts too. Considering that every ‘school shooter’ was doing the shooting to create fear in others (power in self), the motivation in each case was exactly to create ‘terror in others to accomplish a personal goal’. This is ‘terrorism’. But the question devolves to how governments define terrorism. While al Qaeda and the young men shooting up the school both seek to create terror in others, only the evil acts of the first are labelled as actual terrorism.

As much as humans have tried for millennia to prevent evil acts, we have not succeeded. In the modern era, President Woodrow Wilson believed his League of Nations would serve as a means of avoiding any repetition of the bloodshed of the First World War. The League would usher in peace on Earth, if not goodwill towards all men. The United Nations followed that aborted experiment. The UN has been equally unsuccessful in preventing the slaughter of innocents and other evil acts. The world has seen more than a century of political violence, from the Irish Nationalists to the national struggles of the Jews, the Palestinians and the Algerians. The Marxist-inspired violence of the “guilty white kids” of Italy’s Red Brigades and Germany’s Red Army Faction, and the global rage of today’s Islamists can be added to the list. Whether it is in American schools, terrorism in South Asia or the 9/11 terrorist attacks, evil is spreading rapidly around the world.

The natural human reaction after extending sympathy and prayers for the victims and their families is to ask what actions might have been taken to prevent the next carnage and the slaughter. The obvious solution is to take the guns and bombs away from potential assassins and terrorists and keep them in the custody of the state. Even if that were possible and doing nothing not being an option, it is unclear whether the enforcement of tough gun laws or pre-emptive drone strikes can prevent a man or group with evil intent from carrying out their heinous acts.

Political leaders not usually identified with spiritual concepts are making use of the word ‘evil’ in accurately describing the global murder and mayhem. We hear calls for prayers from politicians committed to the separation of church and state. In calling for prayers, officials have taken an important first step in combating evil, but a larger question should be asked. Perhaps theologians, pastors, priests and rabbis are the ones to ask it, but permit me a suggestion.

Evil is a ‘pre-existing condition’ whether the perpetrator is Lanza or Kasab or an anonymous suicide bomber. In some individuals, it is controlled by an inner compass, or by laws and cultural constraints. When it is not, we get tragedies like Sandy Hook, Mumbai and the daily suicide bombings and sectarian murders in Pakistan. We get what we do not understand and cannot begin to comprehend. It is meaningless to the victims like young Noah Pozner, Sheetal Yadav and Malala Yousafzai and countless others whether these evil acts are labelled as terrorism or not.

The way to deal with evil is first to admit that it exists and that we all possess the potential for it. We do not become evil by what we do, but because of who we are. We are human beings, not God. We are not ‘basically good’, as some claim, we are imperfect and fall far short of any true standard of perfection. If there is a source of evil, is there also a source of good? And if there is, has that source for good been offended by all of the accumulated evil we are piling up, affording it an upper hand? This is not oration, just a thought.

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31 Responses to "Explaining evil acts"

  1. tajender United Arab Emirates Internet Explorer Windows says:

    American firefighters have been shot while responding to a house fire on Christmas Eve in Webster town in the state of Massachusetts.

  2. tajender United Arab Emirates Internet Explorer Windows says:

    An Afghan policewoman has shot and killed a US security adviser in the Kabul police headquarters, NATO and local officials say.

    A senior police official told Al Jazeera that the shooting occurred at 10:15am local time (05:45 GMT) on Monday

  3. Milestogo United States Safari iPhone says:

    We need a new name for terrorists, terrorist is too negative. How about mad men?

  4. Kaalchakra United States Google Chrome Windows says:


    Dear Ahmadi brother and sister sta has suggested we call them arjun. Seems like a good, short name.

  5. MilesToGo United States Safari Mac OS says:

    I am ok with ‘arjun’ if it helps them eliminate ‘arjunasim’.

  6. MilesToGo United States Safari Mac OS says:

    btw arjunas are smart, they have figured out that a frog can not be toasted by throwing it in boiling water, so they are cranking up the heat slowly with frog in the water – I am wondering what is the tipping point.

    There is a good opinion piece in Tribune on the same subject.

  7. mohan United Arab Emirates Internet Explorer Windows says:

    Two on-duty police officers have been killed in two separate shooting incidents in the US states of Texas and Wisconsin, as the latest wave of gun violence in the Unites States continues unabated.

  8. Kaalchakra United States Google Chrome Windows says:

    Mohan, NRA owns this fukin place.

    MTG, you completely miss out on the nature of the Ahmadi religion (not that you need to agree with me :) ). Arjunism is a great and glorious thing in Ahamadi religion – so glorious in fact that Ahamdi Allah himself carries out arjunism in the darkness of the night. Ahamdis consider such arjunism as the key proof of the truth of their religion. It must continue for Ahmadism to remain true. There is no question of ending it. Ahmadi “peace” is very much like Ahmadi “love” and “respect”. You need to know what Ahmadi words mean under different political situations. :)

  9. tajender United Arab Emirates Internet Explorer Windows says:

    KAAL geeta was written to establish supermacy of brhmns in society after budhhists were defeated.the whole idea was to bring back milk sellers of that area(mathura) to hindu fold.krishna arjun etc are all imaginary characters.tell me where is house of radha or palace where krishna used to keep his 1603 wives.krishna being god of local indian is shown in blue color(as per hinduism only white is divine)loaded with all dirty stories attached with him.radha was neighbours wife.ahmadi and arjunism are 2 different thing.mtg is paid jew.

  10. tajender United Arab Emirates Internet Explorer Windows says:

    The United Nations General Assembly has issued a resolution expressing concern over clashes between Buddhists and Muslims in Myanmar.

    The resolution, which was adopted by the 193-member assembly late on Monday, called on the Myanmar government to take action to improve the situation of the Rohingya Muslims.

    The UN General Assembly urged the government “to protect all their (Muslims’) human rights, including their right to a nationality.”

    The resolution also said there are “systematic violations of human rights and fundamental freedoms” in the country.

    Some 800,000 Rohingyas are deprived of citizenship rights due to the policy of discrimination that has denied them the right of citizenship and made them vulnerable to acts of violence and persecution, expulsion, and displacement

  11. Mohan United Arab Emirates Safari iPad says:

    Now Tajender has started using my ID. The post about two on duty police officers is not mine.

  12. tajender United Arab Emirates Internet Explorer Windows says:

    Now Tajender has started using my ID. The post about two on duty police officers is not mine

    subay ka time hai.bhagwan ka nam lo.drona ko yaad karo.snan karo.yahan site pe kahan aa gaye.jab bhhee aap kee yaad aate hai
    aap ka naam use kar leta hoon.jab mileinge maafee maang lenge.

  13. MilesToGo United States Safari Mac OS says:

    I thought ‘arjunasim’ is where Ahmedis were a somewhat jain hearted…its so confusing…

  14. Mohan United Arab Emirates Safari iPad says:


    Your parents would have given you a name, why don’t you use that instead of stealing others’ names.

  15. MilesToGo United States Safari Mac OS says:

    he does not want to promote Allah’s cause…although Allah would love that…

  16. Mohan United Arab Emirates Internet Explorer Windows says:


    “” Mohan, NRA owns this fukin place.”
    Didn’t know that PYH was a fuckin place. :) On second thought,
    going through the absolute garbage posted by few of the bloggers
    here, you may well be right.

  17. Mohan United Arab Emirates Internet Explorer Windows says:

    Please read PYH as PTH.

  18. Rex Minor Germany Google Chrome Windows says:

    The thoughts of the author in the article are nicely laid out.

    It is x’mass time, approximately 2012 years ago, jesus (pbuh), the Prophet of God was supposedly born in Nazareth, who later grew up and became the light in the deserts of darkness and today his followers call themselves as christians and are the masters of the western world.

    It is currently not feasible to return to the past, nor safe enough to go into future and our present is leaving us faster than we can feel it, experience it and live it.

    No one has sighted the black holes in the cosmic system, however in science theory they exist and to avoid being sucked into only the velocity, higher speed can prevent us from the unknown risks of the future. The world is dynamic, everything is on the move, faster and faster and this keeps us alive and more or less safer.
    Our world is not what we see with naked eyes nor what we imagine or interpret it with common sense; it is different and unimaganible and rarely get discovered with intution, intellect and daring adventures.

    But this is all science, AQ is not a terrorist outfit, nor are the actions of the youth regarded terrorist acts, who cut down his mother and went on rampage in the school mowing down little kindergarten angels. The purpose of their actions are not to terrorise any one, though the onlookers do feel terrorised.

    It was the Clinto govt which introduced the word collateral damage when children got killed with American T missiles. Lately, it is the incumbent Govts of Israel and the USA which targeted the children deliberately with drones and missiles and cut them down in Gaza, Yemen and waziristan.

    And Moses said, that it is the Pharaoh who has decided the death of the first born children in Egypt, though his orders were meant for the hebraish slaves. The war against muslim children is now turning into Americans killing the Americans. This is the wrath of God the almighty one whose Zorn or anger the world is not witnessing for the first time.
    Let us pray to God who alone has the power over life and death to grant his mercy on children to let them live on irrespective of their ethnic and faiths or the crimes that their leaders are commiting. Ameen.

    Rex Minor

  19. Kaalchakra United States Google Chrome Windows says:


    “I thought ‘arjunasim’ is where Ahmedis were a somewhat jain hearted…its so confusing…”

    Not in the tiniest bit.

  20. Kaalchakra United States Google Chrome Windows says:

    Although Jains should heartily thank Bhai Mirza Ghulam for not declaring Mahaveer a Prophet of Islam, and himself the latest reincarnation of him as well. (some Ahmadi brother may still do so).

  21. Kaalchakra United States Google Chrome Windows says:

    tajender, I agree. These brahmins are the limit, man.

  22. Kaalchakra United States Google Chrome Windows says:

    Mohan, what’s the big deal if tajender posts as mohan, or RHR, or AKB, or kaal. So long as he constantly abuses Brahmins, we must support him and drone.

  23. Dronacharya Saudi Arabia Mozilla Firefox Windows says:

    SUBHASH CHAND CONSTABLE SACRIFICED. ANGER BLUNTED. So okay, a 23 yr old Shahnaz was raped and killed (she died Thursday 20 Dec) by 7 RSS/BJP workers ! So as a compensation : YEH LO. We sacrifice a poor hindu. 47 yr old Subhash Chand Tomar. Ab khush. Gussa thanda ho gaya.. Chalo ab apne ghar jaao aur Cricket dekho. Cricket ki baat karo. FILE CLOSED.

    7 Rapists (RSS/BJP members) will be out on bail on 11 Jan 2014 – and the case will drag on for 49 years !

    COLLATERAL DAMAGE : 47-year-old Delhi Police Constable, Subhash Chand Tomar kaam aa gaya. “He died of cardio-pulmonary arrest at 6: 40 am on Tuesday. He was brought to the hospital in a state of cardiac arrest and was given CPR. Our bed-side investigations found no gross internal injuries or bleeding and externally also only few bruises on the chest”, said Dr TS Sidhu, medical superintendent, Ram Manohar Lohia hospital.

    Tomar, hailed from Meerut in Uttar Pradesh.

    He was posted in Karawal Nagar area and was called for maintaining law and order at India Gate area during the protests on Sunday over the gangrape of a 23-year-old Shahnaaz on December 16 in Delhi.

    Tomar, who joined the police in 1987, was found lying injured on Tilak Marg and was rushed to the hospital.

  24. HistoryBuff India Safari iPad says:

    Kasab, 9/11ers had organization behind them, unlike a Lanza. The war on terrorism is to extirpate those organizations. Even that much is invisible to Pakistanis?

  25. tajender United Arab Emirates Internet Explorer Windows says:



    who killed per sandhya jain 10 gunmen cannot fight at 9 places and rape and kill 100s of women and children.this was brhmnst act.escape was provided to enquiry commission no local narayan,our security chief,notorious brhmn from palghat shunted to bengal as governer tells many thing.marriage party fired in hotel was of a muslim,at cst no burqa clad women was spared.
    regarding lanza will tell u soon.

  26. HistoryBuff India Safari iPad says:

    Yes, conspiracy nuts are global. The link tajender provided is from some lunatic.

  27. Gora Bandar United States Mozilla Firefox Windows says:

    Sahib Hafiz boils it all down to essence when he writes, “We are not ‘basically good’, as some claim, we are imperfect and fall far short of any true standard of perfection.” The reality means we will never be free from our own failings.

  28. AKB Pakistan Mozilla Firefox Windows says:

    @ saad

    the most heinous of all evils is treason….the Mirjai lot is traitor hence as Maududi fatwafied it ” they are wajibul qatl’ as all traitors should be.
    Even if Maududi hadn’t said that the Muslims cannot tolerate black sheep amongst them …and they will NOT unless the murted Mirjai’s established themselves as a separate cult and stopped imitating Muslim beliefs and practices ….
    Miraj ghulla was a moron, a sick and impotent punjabi who died of incurable dysentary in the toilet. No one else, lest a frofet hath died in such a disgusting manner…..which is worse than being murdered or dying natural death. Mirjai’s should realize from this fact alone that Mirja was a great Liar who lost his prophesy and the curse of Allah fell on him in that he couldn’t recover from his flowing gutter disease and had to die confined in the dirtiest of toilets. Such crude punishment was also given to Nimrud who too died a miserable death!!

  29. AKB Pakistan Opera Windows says:

    @ all liberal, seculars and sufis!!

    The Evil liberals and ”civilized terrorists”…

    This is how the lords of Mirja Ghulla punished for ‘mutiny’ against British Raj … and now they say we are brutals, uncivilised, with no respect for humanity, bla bla.

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