SEPT 5th 2004
It is the aim of this web site to answer questions that are being posed by the public in general. The questions being asked about the massacre of the children of Beslan are: Who did this? Why did they do it?

We heard today in interviews on BBC radio 4 from those who approve of the massacre. Their representative made it quite clear in English, so it is fair to assume that their reasons for approval are the same as those of the perpetrators for carrying it out, although the latter will have had extra reasons which led to their being the actual agents of destruction.

So first let us note with clarity the reasons for approval of the massacre. The individual who approved of it on BBC Radio 4 today holds that Muslims should support their 'Muslim Brothers', regardless of their behaviour. At the same time he holds that 'Western' values are unacceptable to Muslims. That just about wraps it up for any chance of co-existence on a planet that allows freedom of travel and has globally acknowledged laws against discrimination. It gives any Muslim anywhere a free hand, if he or she feels wronged, to take the law into their own hands on a discriminatory basis against any non-Muslim, whether or not they have any connection with the alleged wrong.

This is not so much a religious question as a completely different basis for civilisation and society. In most of the world, after thousands of years of trial and error, we have come to the conclusion that people should be judged on their behaviour, not on their family connections or their membership of an organisation, not on the colour of their skin, nor on their ethnic origin or their place of residence, or their religious belief. Within the political state that provides their residence, they accept the laws of the land. There are two pithy proverbs to remind us: "Handsome is as handsome does" and "When in Rome, do as Romans do".

Now let us look at the religious side of it. Margaret Thatcher thought that the key characteristic of the Good Samaritan was that he had money. Wrong. It is a good idea first to examine the question that the parable of the Good Samaritan was used to answer. When Jesus told an interlocutor "Love your neighbour", he was asked "Who is my neighbour?". This is the vital question, the question on which the whole future of humanity hangs. And It is the understanding by humanity of the importance of this question, and the importance of the answer, on which the future of universal life will probably depend.

The story tells of a man who fell among thieves, and a man who found him wounded and helpless by the roadside. They were of different tribes and different religion. Their people were not held mutually in high esteem. The Samaritan bound up the wounds and gave the man a lift on his donkey to the nearest inn where he could rest in shelter and yes, to give the tale a happy ending, he did indeed have enough cash on him to pay the cost of food and lodging till the victim had recovered. But the essence was that he saved him from bleeding to death and took him on a donkey to the inn. If he had had no money, he would still have been the man who showed mercy, and that alone is the heart of the parable.

Jesus did not say 'Love your brother'. He deliberately said "Love your neighbour". The interlocutor wanted to know if that meant his brother, his co-religionists, his friends or members of his tribe. The answer was an unequivocal NO. The parable was meant to be valid for the time and valid for ever.  It was understood by those who recorded it.

However, there are those who hold a completely opposed view of life, of humanity and of the destiny of humanity. Those who approve of the massacre of Beslan, and those who designed it, hold this opposing view. It is just possible that some of those who took part in the hostage-taking (not the leaders) had not realised the company they had fallen in with, but that does not alter the motivation or the identity of those responsible.

I hope this has answered the question Who did this? and Why? to the satisfaction of the reader. It is up to us to decide if we wish their view to prevail, or if we should resist it by the most intelligent means at our disposal and all the persistance and patience we can muster, This would require the leaders of the Muslim community in this and other countries to encourage the proper study of their religion, which has been in other times one of the most peaceful and tolerant in the world.