Thursday, June 26, 2008

Surviving global war with mental retardation

My blog generally isn't intended for mentally retarded people. In fact, if I have such readers, they are likely to find some my posts very offensive. But today I'll make an exception.
We are living in a global war and people who should be 100% civilians get involved. Lynndie England had been oxygen-deprived at birth and apparently had borderline mental retardation. Nevertheless, she was allowed to join the US army, sent to Iraq and after taking part in Abu Ghraib prison abuse, was sentenced to jail. But at least she wasn't taken advantage of and sent to a suicide mission, as the enemy did with Nicky Reilly.
I learned Reilly's story not from the news but from a disability forum. In fact, it was reported by some major media, but not on their front pages. They really care not to make Islam look bad, so they stress on Islamist terror only when it is lethally successful. Thank Heaven, in this case it wasn't.
On May 22, Nicky Reilly (22) tried to set off a suicide bomb in a crowded restaurant in Exeter, England. The bomb misfired and Mr. Reilly was the only one injured. He was autistic, had the mental capacity of a typical 10-year-old and was coming from a troubled family. The consensus opinion of his neighbours was that he had been brainwashed by Islamists. After converting to Islam several years ago, Nicky Reilly changed his name to Mohammed Rasheed, started to hate his family and to call them infidels. Significantly, he "had a screensaver of the Twin Towers in flames from the 9/11 attacks on his home computer and would often watch a video of the atrocity" (source: Inside bizarre world of the Big Friendly Giant, by Jamie Doward on The Observer). Before detonating his device, Reilly "had been sent a text message of encouragement".
Reilly's story would be troubling enough if it was isolated, but it isn't. Doward quotes Haras Rafiq, executive director of the (British) Sufi Muslim Council: ''Many converts to Islam have a sound spiritual reason, but there are also some who get brainwashed by extremists because they don't have the mental foundations to counter their arguments." Rafiq also "said the grooming of vulnerable people for suicide missions was well documented in the Middle East and claimed that there had been cases of terrorist organisations hacking patient health records to identify the vulnerable." In the Newsweek article Al Qaeda's New Recruits, authors Isikoff and Hosenball write: "U.S. officials acknowledged that the Reilly case points up a general concern they have about efforts by extremists to prey on the mentally handicapped... Earlier this year, two markets in Baghdad were attacked by women suicide bombers who allegedly had been targeted for recruitment by Al Qaeda because they were mentally handicapped... A British counterterrorism expert, who asked for anonymity when discussing sensitive matters, said that the Palestinian militant group Hamas also had a history of recruiting mentally handicapped or emotionally vulnerable people to carry out suicide missions."

So let me offer some tips that could help people like Reilly survive the current war.
1. If you have mental retardation, don't become a combatant of either side. Don't repeat the mistakes of Lynndie England and Nicky Reilly. If there must be war, let other people fight it.
2. Do not change your religion. This will only isolate you from your family and community. Even if some religions are truly better than others, God is unlikely to be so touchy about the exact way people worship Him. Specifically, do not convert to Islam. This may make some unscrupulous people try to use you as a tool for their goals.
3. If you are born in Islam or have already converted to it, practise your religion modestly and piecefully. Remember Tip No. 1 and do not ever consider to join jihad. Disabled Muslims are exempted from jihad (see the Koran, Sura 4, Verse 95) and you are disabled.
4. Do not listen to people who persuade you to convert to Islam or, if you are already a Muslim, to join jihad. Do not participate in arguments with them. They will use their faster, sharper minds to take advantage of you. If such people try to argue with you, just repeat, "These things are too complex for me, I cannot understand, I have mental retardation." Pretend that you do not understand anything at all. This isn't the moment to prove that you also can reason. Leave the other person as soon as you can. Inform about the incident your parents or other trusted people.
5. Do not let anybody convince you that your life is insignificant and you must make some self-sacrifice to add value to it. Your life is valuable as it is. Enjoy it.
6. Do not let anybody convince you that someone else deserves death. How would you feel if the same is said about you? The Nazis did say that mentally retarded people do not deserve to live, and killed thousands. Now, some people say that "infidels" do not deserve to live. I wonder how they can be so pompous to judge who is to live and who is to die. Do not listen to them. Live your life and let other people live theirs.

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