Pretending the Problem Is Not There
After all, Islam is not a pacifist religion. Its founder was not a Quaker. There are many of the opinion that this problem should be out in the open, discussed and tackled. Not least in order to assist those Muslim scholars who are preaching against the extremists.
Is it ever acceptable to tell a lie? If you believe the answer is "no" then this is an area in which you disagree with our political class. The recent terror attack in Kenya -- and the reaction to it -- is only the latest evidence. When it comes to the truth about Islamic violence, our politicians evidently believe the truth is something we, the general public, cannot handle.
The latest example occurred this past weekend, when Islamic militants stormed a shopping mall in Nairobi. At the time of writing it is unclear just how many scores of people they have killed. What we knew from the start was that the culprits separated out Muslims from non-Muslims, allowed the Muslims to go free, and massacred the rest. This was a slaughter along specific religious lines: Muslims slaughtered Christians and other "infidels." As if to reinforce this point, at the same time in Pakistan two suicide bombers blew up dozens of Christians as they left church.
Anyone wishing to observe anything striking in all this was warned off by David Cameron. While the Kenya siege was still going on, and the brutal nature of the selection already known, our PM took to the airwaves. "These appalling terrorist attacks that take place where the perpetrators claim they do it in the name of a religion -- they don't. They do it in the name of terror, violence and extremism and their warped view of the world. They don't represent Islam or Muslims." Very few people think they do represent all Muslims. But after so many years and so many attacks it is worth questioning why our leaders think the "nothing to do with Islam" lie is a remotely noble one.
At least the Prime Minister did not go as far as the distinguished journalist Sir Simon Jenkins, who blamed shopping malls themselves for the Kenya terror. But Cameron was still standing in a now decade-long tradition of deceit.
Convinced that "Islamophobia" is the real problem, and an anti-Muslim "backlash" the real concern, it has become almost impossible for Western politicians to have any rational discussion about what is both a local and global problem. When four young Muslim suicide bombers blew up the London transport system in July 2005, the smoke had not cleared before the then police-chief, Brian Paddick, told a press conference:"Islam and terrorism do not go together."
Two years later, when Islamic extremists tried to car-bomb a London nightclub and Glasgow airport, the then Home Secretary, Jacqui Smith, said what happened was, in fact, so contrary to Islam's teachings that such acts should henceforth be termed "anti-Islamic activity." It does not matter which party the politicians are from (Jacqui Smith is Labour, Cameron a Conservative), the lie is always the same.
In May this year, when Drummer Lee Rigby was decapitated in South London by men shouting "Allahu Akhbar" ("Allah is Greater"), David Cameron immediately tried to scotch any unhelpful inferences by stating, "There is nothing in Islam that justifies this truly dreadful act." London Mayor Boris Johnson assisted by stressing that it was "completely wrong" to associate Islam in any way with the killings.
One positive interpretation of this response is that since, with each attack, the fever-pitch of the politicians -- their absolute insistence that this has nothing to do with Islam -- increases, perhaps they intuit that their lie is getting ever harder to sustain. They must sense they are losing us.
It is unlikely, after this latest massacre in Kenya, that more people believe Islam is a wholly quietist and peaceful religion this week than they did the week before. Likewise, in May, after everyone in Britain woke up to blanket front-pages of two wild-eyed maniacs covered in blood, waving meat-cleavers, would you imagine that more people believed Islam to be a religion of peace that morning than the day before? Or a couple fewer?
In some ways you have to feel sorry for the politicians. They simply do not know how to speak to this difficult issue. They see that we have millions of Muslims in our countries. They also see -- rightly -- that the vast majority have absolutely no connection to such acts of violence. And although they undoubtedly over-worry about the potential of a popular "backlash" against Muslims, the longer the problem goes unaddressed, the more it appears that theirs is not an entirely unfounded fear.
Yet what the politicians cannot say -- and a very small number of public figures are willing to even hint at -- is that the actions of terrorists in Pakistan, Kenya and around the world on a daily basis most certainly are connected to Islam. In particular they are connected to a war of interpretation that has raged within Islam for 1400 years.
Islam is not a pacifist religion. Its founder was not a Quaker. People like to make comparisons at this point, so one might as well join in. Allow me to put it at its clearest: The history of Christianity has been quite bloody already. But it would have been far bloodier still if, rather than telling his followers to love their neighbour, Jesus had ordered them to "slay the infidel wherever you find them," as the Koran directs Muslims to do. What if Jesus, rather than telling his followers to "turn the other cheek," had -- as Mohammed did -- slayed and beheaded his enemies personally?
Does this mean that all Muslims follow Islam's violent strictures? Of course not. The Koran and sayings of Mohammed contain peaceful, as well as violent, admonitions. A complex battle continues over which interpretation of these texts and traditions should win out, and where and when. It is not only mistaken, but downright untrue, to pretend the problem is not there. The truth that politicians believe we are not ready for is that, although the extremists have a wicked and -- for everyone -- obviously disastrous interpretation of Islam, it is not an implausible interpretation. The extremists do not get where they get to from nowhere. Unfortunately for the politicians, an increasing number of voters can see this.
There are many of the opinion that this problem should be out in the open, discussed and tackled. Not least in order to assist those Muslim scholars who are preaching against the extremists. Many will only jump if they are persuaded that they must in order to safeguard the future of their religion. Rather than apply such pressure, and provide some assistance, our politicians have chosen another way. They have chosen to lie. There are only two ways that lie will stop. When the Islamists prove them wrong more markedly on their own doorstep. Or when popular anger tells the politicians that their lies are transparent. It is interesting to consider which eventuality will be more uncomfortable for them.
Reader comments on this item
|Enough is enough [100 words]||Max||Apr 8, 2014 17:40|
|Public recognition for Mr. Murray [152 words]||Mr. Appreciator||Dec 1, 2013 12:18|
|The gaslighting of America [219 words]||More-geese-than-swans||Oct 2, 2013 19:25|
|You need to find out about abrogation and taqiyya [106 words]||Mark||Oct 2, 2013 11:31|
|Islamophobia minus anything concrete to solve the problem raised [89 words]||Sam DeLorenzo||Oct 2, 2013 11:03|
|You've got to be kidding [187 words]||Bart Benschop||Oct 2, 2013 00:53|
|Peaceful Muslims [150 words]||Greg Hamilton||Oct 1, 2013 15:04|
|↔ Peaceful Muslims - how many? [113 words]||Ross Logie||Dec 25, 2013 00:51|
|Fogging the truth [286 words]||Gleaner1||Oct 1, 2013 14:06|
|↔ Do you have a link? [27 words]||Jason||Oct 1, 2013 16:44|
|Comment on "Pretending the Problem is Not There" [117 words]||Jen Schiller||Oct 1, 2013 12:08|
|Well said [71 words]||Peter Fusaisee||Oct 1, 2013 11:20|
|↔ 100% Agreement [15 words]||Jason||Oct 1, 2013 12:14|
|Defining Religion [60 words]||Dallas||Oct 1, 2013 10:45|
|A millstone for Cameron's neck [91 words]||Eib||Oct 1, 2013 09:47|
|The Problem is Islam. Period. [137 words]||Edward Cline||Oct 1, 2013 07:44|
Comment on this item
by Denis MacEoin
"No religion condones the killing of innocents." — U.S. President Barack Obama, September 10, 2014.
"Islam is a religion of peace." — U.K. Prime Minister David Cameron, September 13, 2014.
"There is a place for violence in Islam. There is a place for jihad in Islam." — U.K. Imam Anjem Choudary, CBN News, April 5, 2010.
Regrettably it is impossible to re-interpret the Qur'an in a "moderate" manner. The most famous modern interpretation by Sayyid Qutb (d. 1966), the Muslim Brotherhood ideologue, leads the reader again and again into political territory, where jihad is at the root of action.
If they deviated from the true faith -- as we are seeing in the Islamic State today -- "backsliders," like pagans, were to be fought until they either accepted Islam or were killed.
In India alone, between 60 and 80 million Hindus may have been put to death by Muslim armies between the years 1000-1525.
by Yaakov Lappin
Hamas's long-term ambitions are indistinguishable from those of Islamic State and al-Qaeda.
Hamas will now focus on its next goal -- trying to strengthen its presence in the West Bank and eventually toppling the Palestinian Authority from power there, just as it did in Gaza. If Israel were to withdraw from the West Bank, Hamas would certainly find such a goal easier to accomplish.
Nothing keeps the flames of jihad alight, and Hamas's popularity secure, like frequent wars.
by Alan M. Dershowitz
by Timon Dias
"Arab leaders are a reflection of their people. Arab leaders don't come from Mars or the sun, they emerged from among the people and share the same beliefs... I challenge any Arab citizen who may become a ruler to do anything beyond what current Arab leaders are doing." — Anwar Malek, Algerian author.
If anyone was trying to commit "genocide" during the Gaza War, it was clearly Hamas.
What the protestors in the Netherlands also revealed is that a killed Palestinian is only worth demonstrating for when the blame can be pinned on Israel.
The normalization and common approval of slogans that actually call for the destruction of the entire Jewish State, Israel, contribute to an atmosphere of hatred, violence and anti-Semitism that now seems as acceptable as it is overt.
by Anne Bayefsky
Why couldn't the UN... sponsor a conference on combating global antisemitism?
In theory the UN Charter demands equality of... nations large and small. In reality the UN mass-produces inequality for Jews and the Jewish nation.
The UN has launched a "legal" pogrom against the Jewish state. A "legal" pogrom is a license to kill.
Modern antisemitism targets Israel's exercise of the right of self-defense because self-defense is the essence of sovereignty.