We need to talk about Muslims…I hear this line on a regular basis, or at least versions of it, and to be frank I have no problem with a dialogue and discussion on any issue. It’s a chance to learn and understand. The problem I have with it in this case is that it’s often used as a variation of “I’m not racist but…” or “I don’t mean any offence but…” by people who clearly have no desire to open up a debate on the issue of Muslims, Islam, or extremism, but would rather force everyone to conform to their world view, much like the extremists who cause them such discomfort.
Here is an example of a seemingly reasonable comment that circulates the internet any time the issue of Muslims comes up, not matter how little or much the issue is related to the religion of the individuals or groups:
The Shoe Bomber was a Muslim
The Beltway Snipers were Muslims
The Fort Hood Shooter was a Muslim
The underwear Bomber was a Muslim
The U-S.S. Cole Bombers were Muslims
The Madrid Train Bombers were Muslims
The Bali Nightclub Bombers were Muslims
The London Subway Bombers were Muslims
The Moscow Theatre Attackers were Muslims
The Boston Marathon Bombers were Muslims
The Pan-Am flight #93 Bombers were Muslims
The Air France Entebbe Hijackers were Muslims
The Iranian Embassy Takeover, was by Muslims
The Beirut U.S. Embassy bombers were Muslims
The Libyan U.S. Embassy Attack was by Muslims
The Buenos Aires Suicide Bombers were Muslims
The Israeli Olympic Team Attackers were Muslims
The Kenyan U.S, Embassy Bombers were Muslims
The Saudi, Khobar Towers Bombers were Muslims
The Beirut Marine Barracks bombers were Muslims
The Besian Russian School Attackers were Muslims
The first World Trade Center Bombers were Muslims
The Bombay & Mumbai India Attackers were Muslims
The Achille Lauro Cruise Ship Hijackers were Muslims
The September 11th 2001 Airline Hijackers were Muslims’
Think of it:
Buddhists living with Hindus = No Problem
Hindus living with Christians = No Problem
Hindus living with Jews = No Problem
Christians living with Shintos = No Problem
Shintos living with Confucians = No Problem
Confucians living with Baha’is = No Problem
Baha’is living with Jews = No Problem
Jews living with Atheists = No Problem
Atheists living with Buddhists = No Problem
Buddhists living with Sikhs = No Problem
Sikhs living with Hindus = No Problem
Hindus living with Baha’is = No Problem
Baha’is living with Christians = No Problem
Christians living with Jews = No Problem
Jews living with Buddhists = No Problem
Buddhists living with Shintos = No Problem
Shintos living with Atheists = No Problem
Atheists living with Confucians = No Problem
Confucians living with Hindus = No Problem
Muslims living with Hindus = Problem
Muslims living with Buddhists = Problem
Muslims living with Christians = Problem
Muslims living with Jews = Problem
Muslims living with Sikhs = Problem
Muslims living with Baha’is = Problem
Muslims living with Shintos = Problem
Muslims living with Atheists = Problem
MUSLIMS LIVING WITH MUSLIMS = BIG PROBLEM
**********SO IT LEADS TO *****************
They’re not happy in Gaza
They’re not happy in Egypt
They’re not happy in Libya
They’re not happy in Morocco
They’re not happy in Iran
They’re not happy in Iraq
They’re not happy in Yemen
They’re not happy in Afghanistan
They’re not happy in Pakistan
They’re not happy in Syria
They’re not happy in Lebanon
They’re not happy in Nigeria
They’re not happy in Kenya
They’re not happy in Sudan
******** So, where are they happy? **********
They’re happy in Australia
They’re happy in England
They’re happy in Belgium
They’re happy in France
They’re happy in Italy
They’re happy in Germany
They’re happy in Sweden
They’re happy in the USA & Canada
They’re happy in Norway & India
They’re happy in almost every country that is not Islamic!
And who do they blame?
Not Islam… Not their leadership… Not themselves…
THEY BLAME THE COUNTRIES THEY ARE HAPPY IN!!
And they want to change the countries they’re happy in, to be like the countries they came from where they were unhappy……..HOW DOES THAT MAKE SENSE?
Islamic Jihad: AN ISLAMIC TERROR ORGANIZATION
ISIS: AN ISLAMIC TERROR ORGANIZATION
Al-Qaeda: AN ISLAMIC TERROR ORGANIZATION
Taliban: AN ISLAMIC TERROR ORGANIZATION
Hamas: AN ISLAMIC TERROR ORGANIZATION
Hezbollah: AN ISLAMIC TERROR ORGANIZATION
Boko Haram: AN ISLAMIC TERROR ORGANIZATION
Al-Nusra: AN ISLAMIC TERROR ORGANIZATION
Abu Sayyaf: AN ISLAMIC TERROR ORGANIZATION
Al-Badr: AN ISLAMIC TERROR ORGANIZATION
Muslim Brotherhood: AN ISLAMIC TERROR ORGANIZATION
Lashkar-e-Taiba: AN ISLAMIC TERROR ORGANIZATION
Palestine Liberation Front: AN ISLAMIC TERROR ORGANIZATION
Ansaru: AN ISLAMIC TERROR ORGANIZATION
Jemaah Islamiyah: AN ISLAMIC TERROR ORGANIZATION
Abdullah Azzam Brigades: AN ISLAMIC TERROR ORGANIZATION
AND A LOT MORE !!!!!!!
Well, seems intelligent and well-thought out doesn’t it? So what’s the problem? Let’s break it down.
It’s true, all those examples of terror attacks listed above were carried out by Muslims. However, when we look at the Palestine Liberation Front who carried out the Achille Lauro Hijacking in 1985 they weren’t Islamic extremists motivated by religion, they were Marxist-Leninists who are inherently secular and most often atheist. In any case, this attack was politically motivated and had no religious influence (remember not all Palestinians are Hamas). The Munich Attack (Israeli Olympic Team Attackers) is another case in which the religion, or lack of, is irrelevant. This was carried out by Black September, again fighting for Palestinian liberation, and the official code name for it was “Iqrit and Biram” named after two Christian villages in Palestine whose residents had been killed and expelled by Israelis in 1948 (this is a whole other issue that I’ll need to address at another point in time). Not only this, but Black September carried out the attack in conjunction with the Red Army Faction, another Marxist-Leninist organisation made up of Germans with non-Muslim backgrounds. A third example is the Air France Entebbe incident in 1976 which was carried out by another Palestine liberation group, the PFLP-EO in cooperation with another German group, the Revolutionary Cells, and also Uganda. In all three cases the religion, and lack of religion, of the perpetrators is irrelevant, and if it is then we must also consider the Christianity of those involved.
The second point made is about how all other religions manage to live in peace and harmony with one another. This simply isn’t true. India alone has had huge problems with violence between Buddhists, Hindus, Christians and Sikhs, as well as Muslims. Indian PM Indira Ghandi was assassinated in 1984 by her Sikh bodyguards, and this was followed by a series of massacres carried out against Sikhs resulting in the deaths of almost 3,000 people. The legendary Mahatma Ghandi (no relation of Indira), most famous for his movement of peaceful resistance to British rule, was murdered by a Hindu extremists In the North-East of India there has been an insurgency since 1964 involving many groups, including Christian fundamentalist militias, that has resulted in the deaths of 40,000 civilians since 2005. Hindu extremists such as Bajrang Dal are largely responsible for violence against Christians in Karnatika which included multiple attacks on churches in 2008 as well as the 1999 attack on Australian missionary, Graham Staines, in which he and his two sons aged 10 and 6 were burnt to death. Sikh extremists have carried out attacks in Europe as well as in India.
It is worth mentioning here that the practice of suicide attacks was pioneered in the modern world by the Tamil Tigers (the Tamils are a predominantly Hindu group in Sri Lanka and India) who to date they have carried out more suicide attacks than any other group.
The comment also claims that Jews and Christians have no problem living together which, to anyone who bothered to pay attention while they were growing up, is absolute nonsense. Jews continue to face anti-semitism from all sorts of groups across the world, and even now from Christians in Europe. Remember the Holocaust? Well, Christianity is a core feature of the Aryan race and that ideology lay behind the attempted extermination of Jews in the 1940s. On top of this there is the suffering of Palestinian Christians alongside Palestinian Muslims at the hands of Israel (also remember the Germans involved in the Munich attack).
The third point made is that where there are Muslims there is a problem. But the question of why is never really addressed. Again going back to India we have to look at conflict between religious groups, and in the case of violence between Hindus and Muslims we can only really blame both sides as we often have situations caused by the actions of a handful of one religious group which is followed by a hugely disproportionate reaction by the members of the other. In Burma/Myanmar there is conflict between Muslims and Buddhists because of the forced cultural assimilation attempted by the military juntas in the Buddhist majority country, which involved the attempted stamping out of the culture and independent history of the Muslim areas of the country. In Israel/Palestine there has been a conflict since the early 20th century between Muslims and Jews as a result of mass immigration of Jews in order to establish a Jewish state that resulted in the expulsion of existing populations, largely Muslim, and this has continued into the present day and has seen an increase in anti-semitism in the Middle East.
Apparently Muslims are also not happy in Muslim majority countries, unless of course you want to look at Albania, Kosovo, Senegal, Sierra Leone and many others. But why? In Gaza people are not happy because of conditions they have to suffer as a result of the Israeli blockade. In Egypt, Libya, Iraq, Morocco, Yemen and Syria the people have experienced decades of oppressive regimes. In Iran there is an Islamic Republic that has faced internal opposition, but whether you like it or not this is a form of democracy (the reason this actually exists is because the US decided they wanted to topple a stable democracy and replace it with a dictator who was then overthrown). Afghanistan has more or less been in a state of constant war, albeit with relatively peaceful periods, since the Soviet invasion in the 1970s so of course people aren’t happy. Pakistan and Nigeria have experienced an extraordinary amount of military dictatorships and so haven’t had long to develop in the same was as many countries that have had largely undisturbed peace. Nigeria also has the additional difficulty of having conflicts left, right and centre, not just in the Muslim North. Sudan is a country facing extreme poverty and oppression for many people. Kenya is in a similar situation and has had to deal with some spillover from a Christian fundamentalist insurgency Uganda carried out by the Lord’s Resistance Army (remember Joseph Kony? Well his insurgency has resulted in the deaths of over 65,000 people in Northern Uganda alone), as well as the authoritarian rule of Daniel arap Moi for over 20 years until 2000, under whom the massacres of thousands of Somalis were carried out, and on top of this there’s the difficulties of things like drought such as the one in 2011 which was the worst in East Africa seen in 60 years. Lebanon is a country that has experienced general ethnic conflict similar to former Yugoslavia, as well as war with Israel, but now is a largely stable, progressive and tolerant country.
The next point made is that Muslims are happy in non Islamic countries, which ignores the fact that most Muslim-majority countries are Islamic. And, as we established earlier, Muslims are not all that happy in India. Muslims also don’t usually blame countries they’re happy in.
Will I let you in an a little secret? There’s no such thing as the “Muslim World” and Muslims aren’t a single body that can be categorised as if they are all one individual, nor can they be held responsible for the actions of other Muslims or forced to apologise for other Muslims. Actually they don’t have the authority to apologise for the actions of other Muslims, just like they don’t have to apologise for the actions of followers of any other religion. Just like Christianity and Judaism there are many branches of Islam with many different beliefs, cultures and traditions, and so to talk about “them” is completely meaningless.
The finishing argument is a list of 16 supposedly “Islamic terror organisations” which included the Muslim Brotherhood which has never carried out a terrorist attack, and also the Palestine Liberation Front which we’ve already established isn’t an Islamic groups. The list also includes groups like Hamas and Hezbollah, but fails to acknowledge their origins (and continuation) as anti-Zionist groups in opposition to Israeli actions in Lebanon and Palestine.
I could make my own list of non-Muslim terror organisations but that’s not exactly an argument, is it?