Brussels, Iraq, Bangladesh, Turkey, Orlando, Syria, Libya, Nice… and these are just a handful of the places to have suffered grave and unimaginable losses due to terrorism so far in 2016.
And we can shout “Terrorism has no religion!” until our throats are dry, but it is a lie.
Because all those lives have been lost not just to terrorism, but to ISLAMIC terrorism. I reiterate again, that although most Muslims are not extremist terrorists, most extremist terrorists are Muslim. And they ARE Muslim. It is dangerously naive to declare otherwise. Islam, like all Abrahamic religions, can be interpreted pretty much any way suits an adherent’s lifestyle. An extremist Muslim is just as much a Muslim as a moderate Muslim, they just take different messages from their holy book. And as long as Allah continues to resist making a personal appearance in order to mediate and clarify, that will remain the case.
It is not ‘racist’, it is not ‘discriminatory’, it is not ‘Islamophobia’. It is simply fact.
Most of those Muslims carrying out attacks in the West were born and brought up in the countries they appear to hate so very much, by parents who (I imagine) moved here for a better life. In order to try and stem the advance of this carnage, and the divisive social and political disintegration it causes, we need to stop coming out with both excuses and blanket condemnations, and start concentrating our efforts on finding out why these people hate with such vehemence.
We need to find out how they could become so radicalised against the relatively mild background of democratic Western Europe.
Is it disaffected youth, whose apparent inability to find a sense of purpose in their everyday lives made them the ideal target for some particularly amoral puppet masters?
Is it the ease with which religion can be interpreted to justify even the most heinous actions?
Is it the ease with which religion feeds into the innate and divisive human trait of seeking a righteous “us” versus an immoral “them”?
We need to find out whether their families, friends and communities simply fail to notice this radicalisation process taking place, whether their sense of kinship is stronger than their compassion for the innocent men women and children of their host countries, or whether the numbers of the complicit are higher than we dare imagine.
Most importantly , we must ensure that within our message of democratic freedom, a very clear emphasis is put on a secular Freedom of Religion. Not the freedom to do whatever you please in the name of religion, but the freedom for everyone to believe whatever they please and to live as they please, providing it is not detrimental to others and whilst understanding that religion is a personal choice, not a political or a moral framework.
And for all those who feel that the only trigger for these attacks is clumsy Western intervention in the Middle East, what about those Muslims who kill other Muslims for being the wrong sort of Muslim? What about those Muslims who kill ex-Muslims simply because they no longer believe in Allah? What about those Muslims who kill other Muslims simply because they have dared questioned some of the tenets of Islam?
I have no solutions to the sickness currently affecting Islam, but pretending it is not there is the height of stupidity.
Nice wasn’t the first, and it won’t be the last – that much is certain. And whilst we should not play into the Jihadists’ hands with unjustifiable hatred towards all Muslims (another ‘Holy War’ – Islam against the world, is exactly what they are hoping for), we owe it to ourselves and to the innocent lives lost to be brutally honest about the causes, because only then have we any hope at all of tackling them.
So think about Brussels, Iraq, Bangladesh, Turkey, Orlando, Syria, Libya and Nice, cry for them and mourn with them, just don’t pray for them, for more religion is the last thing they need.
Je suis Charlie
Twelve people dead, just to assuage the hurt feelings of some truly pathetic human beings. It is heartbreaking, terrifying and infinitely absurd.
And predictably, the apologist protestations have already begun: the terrorists are not “true” Muslims. These acts of terrorism are not religiously motivated. None of this has anything to do with Islam. None of this has anything to do with religion.
Poor, poor, poor misunderstood religion; the hardships it has to endure.
But unfortunately for religion, the deities who, several thousand years ago, so kindly dictated their respective rules, threats and petulant demands for blind obedience to willing scribes, neglected one rather important detail: clarity.
Hence why there are 300-odd Christian denominations, for example, and why some Muslims think Islam is the religion of peace whilst other Muslims think murdering their detractors in cold blood is a perfectly acceptable way to behave. Some religiously-motivated behaviour happens to comply with the laws of whichever land the adherent lives…
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