In Memoriam: Lee Rigby


Drummer Lee Rigby, with his bride Rebecca in 2007


I simply want to give a bit of attention and honor to Lee Rigby, the twenty-five-year-old father of two-year-old Jack, whom a couple of Islamist fanatics hacked to death yesterday on a busy London street.  He was a member of the Corps of Drums, posted to the 2nd Battalion, The Royal Regiment of Fusiliers.  Apart from the fact that he was a soldier, he was apparently chosen pretty much at random.


Only Muslims can ultimately cure the disease of violent Islamist extremism that now afflicts not only their community but the rest of the world.  I’m heartened to see that at least some Muslim leaders recognize this and are taking action.


“Law enforcement should handle the criminality and not the ideology,” says Dr. Maher Hathout (a prominent Muslim leader based in Southern California whom I have met and whom I respect). “The ideological battle is ours.”


Indeed, it is.  And I wish the Muslim community well in this struggle.  The image of Islam in the West is being destroyed not by anti-Islamic propagandists (though those exist and certainly don’t help matters), but by the acts of members of the Muslim community itself.  That community’s good name depends upon the success of moderate Muslims in neutralizing the appeal of Islamic radicalism to their youth — as does, much more importantly, not only our safety but theirs.



Joseph Smith, trying to teach
Gay "marriage," the end of the First Amendment, and the centralization of State power?
The Joseph Smith Sr. family in Palmyra
An important voice, even where I quibble or outright disagree
  • Lucy Mcgee

    In 2001, the late Christopher Hitchens wrote a piece entitled “Of Sin, The Left, & Islamic Fascism”. By chance, I just read it this morning.

    The sadness for me, is that people can become so terribly violent for an ideal taught to them by those who hold claim to a demonic and brutal world view. When one speaks of free agency, it is critical to consider that human minds can be conditioned to believe almost anything. This is clearly apparent with any such attrocity.

    So sad for this soldier and his family and that he didn’t have a weapon to defend himself against his brutal assailants. Such attrocity, broadcast in the world press, will do nothing but inflame hatred for extremist Islamists. The best minds within Islam should truly become a force for change.

  • Ryan

    Dr. Peterson,

    Regarding Muslims having the ultimate responsibility to handle Islamic extremism:

    When the scriptures say that the Jews will be surrounded on the last day (and escape through the mountain), what do you take that to mean? And who do you think will be surrounding them?

    Given that Muslims most obviously fit the part, what gives you confidence that they’ll ever handle anything? It seems their perpetual antagonism is a matter of prophecy.

    • DanielPeterson

      I have no particular confidence that they’ll be able to handle it. That’s a different matter than saying that it’s primarily their RESPONSIBILITY to handle it.

      In any event, even if the world is prophesied to fall apart, I have a duty to try to do good and to prevent it.

      And, although it’s certainly possible that it will be the Muslim countries surrounding Israel in the last days, it could also be somebody else. My Norwegian Lutheran grandmother, who died when I was five, was deeply convinced during World War II that the Bible had foretold the JAPANESE as the agents of destruction in the last days. Different generations have settled on different villains; there’s no guarantee that OUR generation’s particular conception of the last days will be right.

      My principle is to do good and to hope. The last days will take care of themselves.

      Finally, I resist notions of the Muslims’ “perpetual antagonism.” It goes back to the nineteenth century, with the rise of nationalism, and really flared up in the 1930s. It’s neither all that old nor inevitable.

      • Ryan

        If after all of the terror acts to date, after all of the shedding of blood, the scenes of horror, if the Muslims haven’t assumed their
        responsibility to handle extremism already then it’s pretty much a lost cause calling for them to assume it now, in my opinion.

        I think, at this point, the ultimate responsibility to end extremism is ours.

        • DanielPeterson

          I don’t agree that it’s a lost cause, and I don’t see any way for us to “end” it.

    • Anyotheruser

      “It seems their perpetual antagonism is a matter of prophecy.” I don’t see where. Even if you were to read something like the list in Exekiel 38 as referring to specific nations (and it’s by no means certain it should be read like that), you end up with quite a mixed bag with major omissions if it’s supposed to refer to Muslims. I don’t believe it does.

      That’s leaving aside the whole questionable concept of ‘perpetual antagonism’ in the first place.

      • Ryan

        I’ll accept that it may not be Muslims who surround Israel at the last day, even if it seems to me likely.

  • John

    Dr. Peterson,

    You quoted Dr. Hathout saing that ” Law enforcement should handle the criminality and not the ideology”. Are there not, in some extreme situations, things taught in radicalized mosques that are criminal?