Morality National Security The War on Terrorism

Army of the Pure

It has seemed to me that the quest for purity often leads to exceptional evil. The Nazis wanted a pure Aryan race. Religious extremists of all sorts focus on various types of purity. In a sense, the belief that one can attain purity is to reject that most human of all statements: “Nothing human is alien to me.” Instead, purity by definition is about exclusion in contrast to messy humanity.

I was reminded of this when seeing the New York Times translate the name of the terrorist group that is believed to have been behind the Mumbai massacre: Lashkar-e-Taiba, “army of the pure.”

In the name of purity, there was another massacre. It will not be the last.

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