HASSAN: Islamist beheading in France is a tragic reminder

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Unfortunately, it is the same kind of mentality that justifies killings in the name of honor or other perceived wrongs. The Western world would immediately grasp the utter depravity of such notions.

The 18-year-old author is deceased. His informants are being held. France is shaken by the tragedy and has already taken steps to eliminate radical Islam from its milieu, closing some mosques and targeting groups deemed fanatic and violent. France is justified in its actions, as would any other nation whose citizen has been so brutally murdered in the name of ideology.

And finally, it is the ideology that must disappear. Even 19 years after the attacks on the World Trade Center and the Pentagon, ideology lurks in Islamist corners and crevices. He looks up ugly in situations like these. Physically eliminating radicals may be a good place to start, but it is the radical mindset that must change if the world is to shake off the curse of Islamist radicalism.

They must be taught that freedom of speech, conscience and belief is an inalienable human right that people enjoy in the West. They must understand that if they want to make the West their home, they must respect Western mores, no matter how offensive they are.

In addition, they must understand that public, religious and historical figures, and the ideologies they have forged, must always remain open to challenge and honest debate.

Muslim leaders must also provide some clarity on these issues. First, a heinous act like the beheading of France must be unequivocally condemned. Justifications cannot be included in such statements. They defeat the point. They cancel the effect of the conviction. To suggest that the offense was serious enough to induce a barbaric act amounts to justifying the perpetrator.

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