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Friday, April 17, 2015

Muslims can learn from parents of Boston child victim Martin Richard

Can Dzhokhar Tsarnaev's family understand forgiveness?

It's rare in Muslim culture, as far as I know, to hear about occasions where forgiveness and clemency are outcomes of people convicted of criminal acts. Usually, the Muslim culture's retribution for criminal behavior are nearly as brutal as the crimes commited, like a literal application of the concept of "an eye for an eye".  

Although I'm certainly not an expert on Islam, my rare experience, from reading, is that the Muslims have a difficult time with the concept of forgiveness.

Therefore, the request by the parents of the youngest victim in the Boston marathon bombing, to drop the death penalty, as a possible punishment for convicted bomber Dzhokhar Tsarnaev, must be unusual, to say the least, especially to militant Islamist extremists.

Bill and Denise Richard's eight-year-old son was one of three people killed in the explosions in April 2013.

The Richards said an execution sentence "could bring years of appeals and prolong reliving the most painful day of our lives."

Tsarnaev was convicted last week.

The Richard family made their plea in a front-page piece in the Boston Globe, on Friday, April 17th.


"We are in favour of and would support the Department of Justice in taking the death penalty off the table, in exchange for the defendant spending the rest of his life in prison without any possibility of release and waiving all of his rights to appeal," they wrote.

The Richards were injured in the attack and their daughter, Jane, lost one of her legs in one of the explosions.

"The defendant murdered our 8-year-old son, maimed our 7-year-old daughter, and stole part of our soul. We know that the government has its reasons for seeking the death penalty, but the continued pursuit of that punishment could bring years of appeals and prolong reliving the most painful day of our lives," they said.

Indeed, this is an extraordinary request from the parents of Martin Richard.  God Love Them.
 
On the other hand, radical Islamists, those zealous about jihad, must be perplexed by this parental request. Extremism seems to prevent terrorists from understanding the concept of letting go of the "eye for an eye" cultural concept. 

Consequently, in my opinion, the extraordinary request by the grieving Richard family is a magnificent humanitarian response to terrorism. Their Christian response to the perpetrator of their grief is a stark contrast to the extremist culture. Tragically, there are hundreds, maybe even thousands, of children being terrorized and murdered by terrorist extremists, many of them are young girls.  It certainly takes enormous faith in the power of forgiveness and clemency to respond to those who cause horrendous grief for innocent people. I have to respond to the Richard family's request.
Out of deep respect for this family's loss and grief, I agree to call for clemency for Dzhokhar Tsarnaev. I pray that Dzhokhar's family will understand the concept of forgiveness and respond by telling the Richard family how much they deeply regret what he did.

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