One of the most heartbreaking stories in recent days is the deliberate crashing of Germanwings Flight 4U9525 by its co-pilot, Andrew Lubitz. Authorities have done much work to reconstruct what took place when Lubitz took sole control of the plane. What we do not know is the motivation of Lubitz to commit such an act.
At least I don’t know.
Some other people seem to know. For some people, it is clear that Lubitz was radicalized Muslim convert who committed an act of Jihad. You can read one such post here. Certainly there have been such acts by Muslim converts in recent history and this may be another case.
Or perhaps it is not.
The question I am interested in is, what is the evidence for Lubitz being a Muslim and having such radical leanings? The truth is that the evidence for Lubittz’s Muslim faith is pretty sparse. Jay Hathaway posted an interesting article on this very subject. You can figure out his position from the title, “The Evidence That the Germanwings Copilot Was Muslim Is Sketchy as Hell.”
Was Lubitz a Muslim? I have no idea. There is not much evidence that has been presented yet.
What concerns me is that there is almost a sense of glee at the thought of another Muslim committing a major terrorist attack against civilians. I have read statements on Facebook that this just proves that no Muslims can be trusted. While it is sad that people died, some seem happy that this brings the world one step further toward dealing with “the Muslim threat.”
I want to make three comments about this.
1) I am an evangelical Christian. Why do I say that? Every time I question anti-Muslim bias, I get accused of being a promoter of Chrislam (a mixing of Christianity and Islam). I hold to no such thing.
2) Not all or even a majority of Muslims are terrorists. I wonder if the people who are so convinced that every Muslim is a closet terrorist has ever taken the time to get to know a Muslim. Muslims are like Christians in that there are good ones and there are those who are violent and use their religion as an excuse.
3) It is likely that mental illness played a major role. There is much more evidence in the Lubitz case that his motives were based on mental illness rather than religion.
What I want you to get out of this is that we cannot start with what we want and force the evidence to fit it. Any religious motivation in this case must be backed up by evidence and not just by the theories people prefer.