'Can Muslims be suicide bombers?' An essay on the troubles of multiculturalism

Philosophy and Social Criticism 38 (4-5):389-398 (2012)
Abstract
Is a Muslim still a Muslim when he crashes airplanes into the twin towers? Any serious theory of multiculturalism has to deny that Islam could ever come to justify suicide bombing and terrorism. My thesis is that none of the contemporary multicultural theories manages to do so, or at least not without collapsing into a Kantian conception of personal autonomy and, consequently, into some standard version of liberalism. Communitarianism, trying to demonstrate that fundamentalism has nothing to do with the true and authentic Islam and that it does not take into account the pluralism prevailing in Islam, has to moralize Islam. A Humean position, which takes Islamic fundamentalism to be merely a pathology, the product of resentment and western neocolonialism, eventually could come to the conclusion that good and upright Muslims today cannot help but become suicide bombers. Liberal multiculturalism, considering identity to be a matter of choice, must suppose that an active agent with self-knowledge is by definition a responsible person with a moral identity. In conclusion, multiculturalism, in its effort to make the good identities prevail over the bad and the ugly identities, risks adopting some of the same righteous attitudes towards Islam as traditional liberalism
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