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Title: De moraal van de zelfmoordterreur
Subtitle: Analyse van het Handvest van Hamas
Author(s): SNELLER, Rico
Journal: Tijdschrift voor Theologie
Volume: 47    Issue: 4   Date: 2007   
Pages: 389-406
DOI: 10.2143/TVT.47.4.3203536

Abstract :
This article uses the Hamas Charter to examine the type of ethics that seems to underlie the suicide terrorism that is driven by the Palestinian liberation movement. After a brief reflection on the status of written religious documents and on the term ‘terror’, the type of ethics is tentatively juxtaposed with several more prevalent ethical paradigms: a teleological, a neo-Aristotelian and a deontological paradigm. The teleological paradigm is unable to articulate – and thus conceptualise – the religious objective adequately. While the neo-Aristotelian paradigm is richer, it is ridiculous to try to classify extreme behaviour in the ‘moderate’ terminology of ‘virtues’ and ‘ideals’. Finally, the deontological paradigm is either unable to apply its universalistic test to an act of terror (rule deontology) or else it cannot honour the religious-nationalist rhetoric (act deontology). This shows that while none of these paradigms is totally useless, none adequately explains the ethics of suicide terrorism. When no dimension is specified as referring to the sacred, this moral extremism remains totally obfuscated. Durkheim and Sorel designate this sacred dimension of ethics pertinently in their diagnosis of the nature of ethics. This article concludes with the distressing observation that the more customary ethical frameworks do not seem to lack a sacred dimension. The author argues that the potential for terrorist extremism may well be inherent to ethics rather than being an external force.

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