David Schanzer claims that al-Qaeda’s violent ideology does not flow directly from holy books, but is rather a faulty interpretation of them. Not two paragraphs later, however, he says that, while counterjihadists aren’t calling for violence as a means to further their goals, there is little doubt that their writings are directly responsible for the recent terrorism in Oslo.
The truth of the matter is, bad ideas should be open to criticism, whatever they may be. Religion should be no exception. While bigoted and violent intolerance should be extinguished wherever it appears, fair criticism of ideas that are based on faulty logic or poor evidence – a sort of conversational intolerance – should not.
Note: This appeared as a Letter to the Editor in the Globe & Mail.