but a little casuistry... allows


Does "but a little casuistry on the notion of self-defense allows" mean "but even with a small trick (on the notion of self-defense), you will be allowed to get rid of the restriction"?

Some nuance here is elusive to me.

Thanks in advance

Lewis notes that one who would fight for God is also enjoined not to kill women, children, or the aged, unless in self-defense, but a little casuistry on the notion of self-defense allows Muslim militants to elude this stricture as well. The bottom line is that devout Muslims can have no doubt about the reality of paradise or about the efficacy of martyrdom as a means of getting there. Nor can they question the wisdom and reasonableness of killing people for what amount to theological grievances. In Islam, it is the "moderate" who is left to split hairs, because the basic thrust of the doctrine is undeniable: convert, subjugate, or kill unbelievers; kill apostates; and conquer the world.

-Sam Harris' The End of Faith
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  • entangledbank

    Senior Member
    English - South-East England
    Yes, trick or 'special pleading': arguing (perhaps not honestly) that this case is different. It seems superficially not to be self-defence, but a reason can be found why it actually is.


    The trick is that when you kill a woman/child/old person, you can always "prove" that you did that in self-defense, and so get away with that.

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