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It has EVERYTHING to do with religion

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.

Status Viatoris

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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6 Responses to “It has EVERYTHING to do with religion”

  1. CampFustian Says:

    Political Islam is entirely separate to Islam, per se. ISIS and similar (including the Saudi rulers) have always known to invoke the wrath of their God in order to mobilise/exploit the masses. It really has very little to do with religion. Nicolas Henin spent months with those ISIS monsters and he said that most of them were ‘new’ to the religion and ‘practised’ whatever suited their pleasure/policy/strategy. Terrorism experts/academics generally concur.

    It also has historical basis. The Crusades/Inquisitions and so on were purportedly about religion but really, they were merely using God as an excuse to mobilise huge armies in order to secure scarce resources. Sounds familiar enough, even in 2016. Who can argue with the fairy upstairs?

    To date, 97% of victims of these Islamist attacks have been Muslims. Moreover, before toppling Iraq’s Saddam, sectarianism in that region was fairly suppressed (and exactly why the West continue to impose/support dictators – because it suits us) and extremists had little room to develop and wreak havoc (on said dictators and on the West). Killing Saddam was a very bad idea, as we know now.

    The Sykes-Picot Agreement imposed by the French and Brits post-Ottoman collapse has a lot to answer for, too.

    Anyway, it’s obviously a clusterf…. But alienating the overwhelming majority of 1.6b Muslims who are decent people, by fingerpointing their religion, isn’t going to effect the opposite of what we all want – which is peaceful co-existence.

    ISIS know this and will continue to exploit this very Imaginary Divide. Good war strategists through the Ages have done little different.

    Don’t let ISIS divide us.

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    • statusviatoris Says:

      I am not talking about vilifying all Muslims, far from it. But by trying to pretend this problem is completely unrelated to Islam (be it political Islam or otherwise) we don’t have a hope of addressing the problems, especially those of terrorism by Western-born/based Muslims. Only by opening up honest dialogue with Muslim communities in Europe will we have a chance of trying to establish how and why these young people are being swayed by a “political” argument that is unrelated to them in so many ways, a “political” argument that is, somehow, managing to break through a relatively secular and moderate European experience to spur them on to commit atrocities that they are able to relate back to, and justify through, some sort of religious conviction of justice and righteousness.

      I don’t think honest dialogue is alienating at all, I think it is drawing together for a better future. It’s making an “Us” out of all the millions of moderate Muslims standing shoulder with the rest of the world, and isolating the murderous extremist bastards under the banner of “Them”.

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  2. Camp Fustian Says:

    Unfortunately, we’ve seen plenty of examples already that targeting/questioning their religion simply results in animosity and worse.

    That is a fundamental problem to do with monotheism coupled with low-prosperity AND ill-education.

    Terrorism/ME experts have come up with some very good ideas. We should listen to them. Although of course, politicians who wield power have always ignored whatever suited their agenda.

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    • statusviatoris Says:

      What about those Muslims who have been brought up in non-monotheistic countries and with the same levels of academic education as their Western peers? There should be no reason for them to react with animosity to discussions of how we can work together to prevent members of their community being radicalised. It is in their best interests to join forces with their countries of residence in order to tackle the issue, surely? They might not believe that the actions of the terrorists is based in Islam but their religion is the vehicle used to drive the hatred and it is their sons and daughters being lost to its cause (together with the innocent men, women and children they choose to take with them), so it makes sense that it is the starting point when trying to look for solutions.

      Obviously the situation is very different in the Middle East, and requires a very different approach. I would be interested to read more about how the experts in terrorism think it could be tackled – feel free to post links!

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  3. Camp Fustian Says:

    Educated Muslims in the West are overwhelmingly not the people we need to convince, that’s why. That’d be akin to preaching to the converted. They’re not the problem. They’re also extremely vital and already party of the de-radicalisation movement in the West (and for the brave few, in Muslim nations, too).

    For the people we’re ‘fighting’ against, any whiff of attack on their religion would be counterproductive. As usual, only time and education/prosperity can lessen the control of religion – this is pretty standard historically.

    Anyway. If you look closely at the attacks in the West by Islamists, there are some very obvious commonalities: disenfranchisement; loner; mental health issues; isolating the Self from society at large (often triggered by familial problems)… ISIS make them feel as if they have a purpose and a place to belong – a new beginning, if you will. It’s an old military trick. Sun Tzu probably wrote about it. Targeting disenfranchisement would be a good start. But, nothing will work better than giving the impression that Western soldiers are not fighting on “Muslim” lands – which basically means, the war will be never-ending until the West pull out of the ME.

    Google Scholar is a good start for peer-reviewed studies on the issue(s). I’ve been relying on Australian academics – Professor Greg Barton and Professor Anne Aly (who is now an MP-elect). They’re considered and world-renowned for their research on terrorism. But nothing is really more useful than catching up on ME history post-Ottoman collapse (or a little before – just to compare how prosperous/intellectual they were for a long time).

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    • statusviatoris Says:

      Yes, historically the Islamic world was one to be admired that’s for sure. However I have Muslim friends who have been university educated in the West (Spain), although now living and working back in their countries of origin, and despite not voicing support of terrorism, they certainly do not openly condemn it and spend a lot of time (on social media) railing against Israel, Western conspiracies and slights against Islam, and seemingly no time pondering on how extremist political Islam could be tackled or how their societies could be healed. But this is just my personal experience, and obviously not representative of all educated Muslims.

      Thank you for the info – I shall have a look!

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