Last update: 2018-03-21 13:38:41
After Immanuel Kant decisively put an end to metaphysics in his work The Critique of Pure Reason, he nevertheless returned to it once again in an attempt to mold it into a basis for social ethics, which he believed could not endure without religiosity. But events in Iraq today prove that there is no necessary correlation between religiosity and morality in social behavior.
According to polling by Gallup, Iraq is one of the most religious societies in the world, with about 84% of Iraqis professing devotion to one faith or another. Despite this, reports from a wide variety of sources indicate that Iraq has been experiencing a sharp rise in crime rates, the lion’s share of which is unconnected to the country’s sectarian crisis. Indeed, the primary motive appears to be driven by the desire to obtain money, or other criminal goals. In addition, those directly involved in terrorist operations are often no more than mercenaries acting on behalf of opposition sides seeking to extort wealth.
One of Al-Monitor’s correspondents, Mushreq Abbas, wrote an article about this phenomenon in the pan-Arab daily Al-Hayat on Sept. 19, under the headline “Terrorists in Iraq Didn’t Come From Outer Space … Nor Do They Resemble Bin Laden, Zawahiri or Zarqawi.” A security official quoted in the article disclosed that most of those who operate and detonate car bombs are neither especially religious, nor even particularly sectarian. According to him, investigations have concluded that
most of the perpetrators are affiliated with local mafias acting for hire and gangs tied to armed groups through intermediaries that resemble professional contractors carrying out operations on behalf of whomever
A video posted online showed that the bomber who struck the Aza’ Council in Sadr City in Baghdad in September — which killed and wounded more than 300 people — carried out the attack in exchange for $700. These and similar events indicate that Iraq is suffering from a widespread moral crisis which must be understood and addressed. Moreover, the attempt to do so must be situated in a wider context than the narrow confines of the present sectarian political conflict that has been wracking Iraq for more than a decade.
The reasons for this crisis can be summed up in the following points:
Legally, the Iraqi legislature is utterly absent from an examination of the social problems plaguing society and which require corrective legislation, and the establishment of effective institutions to address the victims of this moral degeneration. For example, there is no serious interest in legal circles in addressing issues such as honor killings, violence against women, child abuse, and other widespread phenomena in this country. Instead, there is an overwhelming focus on combating behavior incompatible with the tenets of religion, a preoccupation that generally results in the restriction of personal liberties.
One illustrative example is the government’s drive to shut down bars and liquor stores during religious occasions, rather than focusing on their legal responsibilities to protect Iraqi society from those crimes stemming from moral decadence. In the realms of cultural and education, there is a real need for working on a comprehensive education plan to address the needs of a generation of youth about adherence to moral responsibilities and good social behavior. The government media can play an important role in educating society about its moral responsibilities. And finally, addressing moral decay in Iraqi society requires a comprehensive review of the problem, to produce an integrated system that will entrench social values in Iraqi society and cultivate them, using both legal and educational means.