The Hatred Carousel.

Today I woke up to the horrendous news of another callous, inhuman terrorist attack; this time against innocent children enjoying a night out at a concert.  My heart goes out to all of those affected.

Later I logged on to Facebook, and was saddened beyond belief to see my timeline full of the same old intolerant, hate-filled, anti-Muslim, anti-refugee/immigrant bullshit that always seems to come out of the woodwork after something like this happens.

People blaming Islam, Muslims or immigrants, rather than a small number of extremists, are frankly either imbeciles or outright bigots. They are so quick to do it that they have already decided this was an Islamic attack, before the police have said anything about who was responsible.  Now it may well turn out to be the case that they’re right, but right now they don’t know that.  They don’t care though, so eager are they to get the hatred ball rolling.

They’re cherry picking pages from the Koran to prove that Islam is fundamentally evil and violent.  They’re calling out Muslims for not condemning the attack, despite the fact that they clearly already had.  They’re even blaming their own countrymen for being “too soft” and allowing immigrants and refugees entry to the country.  One comment I read even said we deserved it for being so naive.

So let me just be clear how I feel about these hate-mongers.

First of all, cherry picking passages from the Koran to make an utterly indefensible point that Islam (and by extension all Muslims) are to blame, is ignorant stupidity of the highest order.

How about we cherry pick some passages from the Bible, like the ones that say murdering non-Christians, owning slaves (and killing them), genocide in God’s name, and handing your daughter over to be raped are all Okey dokey as far as God is concerned? They are right there in the “good” book, along with plenty other examples. Does that make all Christians evil? Should we ban Christians from the country to defend ourselves against their evil religion?  Of course not.  That would be stupid wouldn’t it?  Despite what it says in the Bible, the social, ethical and cultural zeitgeist has moved on.  The vast, vast majority of Christians no longer believe that it is OK to murder anyone who doesn’t share their beliefs.  We have laws against such barbarity now.  And yet, those passages are still there in the Bible.  The same applies to Islam.

Pointing out passages in the Koran that seem to promote violence, does not prove that Islam is a violent religion, any more than pointing to those passages in the Bible proves Christianity is.  The only thing it proves is the stupidity of the person doing it.

And no, you don’t get to use the defence of “but Christians aren’t going around killing people”. Because they are.  You just don’t hear about it or care because it isn’t happening here. Even when it does happen in a developed western country, which it does, a lot (particularly in the US); it’s brushed under the carpet. The perpetrator’s obvious Christian fundamentalist beliefs and connections are not mentioned. No, he was just a mentally ill loner, not a Christian terrorist. The Oklahoma bomber, Timothy McVeigh, who killed 168 people was a Christian, as was Anders Behring Breivik, who killed 77 people in Norway in 2011.  Where were the people cherry picking the bible and demanding that Christianity is evil, and that Christians should be banned from the country then?

In the USA, it isn’t radicalised Muslim terrorists that the authorities consider to be the biggest threat to the country.  It’s white, right-wing extremists.

Now already today, when replying to some comments, pointing out some of the above, I’ve been called a bleeding heart liberal, naive, a lefty, and other choice adjectives.  The best one though is when they accuse me of playing the bigotry card, in order to silence what they see as their “right” viewpoint.  The fact is however, that applying those criteria to Muslims, and not to Christians, when the evidence shows there is clearly nothing of substance to differentiate the two, is the literal dictionary definition of bigotry.

By any possible measure you choose to use, numerically and statistically speaking, Christian Civilization is the bloodiest and most violent of all civilizations in all of history, and is responsible for hundreds of millions of deaths. And it is still ongoing.

In CAR anti-muslim, Christian militias are murdering Muslims every single day. The LRA in Uganda continue their reign of terror. So should we not tar all Christians with the same brush as well?

No. Again, that would be stupid.  Do you blame all Christians for the actions of the KKK, or the Aryan Nation?  It is just as stupid to tar all Muslims with the blame for the actions of a few. Organisations like ISIS, and other fundamentalist groups are evil, despicable, inhuman scum. Anyone who would perpetrate an act like the one today is…well, I don’t have sufficient words for what they are, although “sick cowards” springs to mind.  But extending the blame for their actions to all Muslims is just ignorant and wrong, plain and simple.

Here’s another question. Between 2010 and 2015, what percentage of terrorist attacks in Europe were committed by radical islamists? If you answered anything other than “less than 2%”, you’re wrong. The figure for the states is much the same.

In fact, there is a credible argument to be made for many apparently religiously motivated terrorist attacks, not even having anything to do with Islamic fundamentalism.  The political scientist Robert Pape compiled the first complete database of every documented suicide bombing from 1980–2003. He argues that the news reports about suicide attacks are profoundly misleading – “There is little connection between suicide terrorism and Islamic fundamentalism, or any one of the world’s religions”. After studying 315 suicide attacks carried out over the last two decades, he concludes that suicide bombers’ actions stem from political conflict, not religion.
Others agree:  Michael A. Sheehan says; “A number of terrorist groups have portrayed their causes in religious and cultural terms. This is often a transparent tactic designed to conceal political goals, generate popular support and silence opposition.”  In his book Life as a Weapon: The Global Rise of Suicide Bombings, Riaz Hassan wrote, “It is politics more than religious fanaticism that has led terrorists to blow themselves up.”

But what about the immigrants and refugees?  Surely we’d be safer if we keep them out?  Well, not really, although this issue is a little more complicated.  There have been attacks, both in Europe and the US, that were carried out by foreign immigrants, some posing as refugees.  That said, such attacks are extremely rare, and blown out of all proportion by the right-wing bigot brigade.  None of the 9/11 attackers were immigrants or refugees.

The truth is that the vast majority of attacks have been carried out by European and American citizens who became radicalised in their home countries.  There’s no real reason to believe that refugees or immigrants are the source of the vast majority of terrorist attacks, so keeping them out won’t prevent further attacks.  It’s home-grown radicalisation we need to be addressing.  The number of attacks in Europe carried out by refugees in the last 40 years is practically zero.  In the US it’s Precisely zero.  In the UK, to date, only the Glasgow Airport attack in 2007 was carried out by foreign-born terrorists.  If we want to address that (real) problem, we should really be asking our government questions about this kind of thing, and more importantly, voting for a government that wont allow it:

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 If all of that isn’t enough to convince you, there’s also this minor detail:

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So here’s the thing:  The problem isn’t Islam. It isn’t Christianity.  It isn’t really immigrants or refugees either.  The problem is hate, intolerance, fanaticism, radicalisation, and more often than not, politics.  As such, the right-wingers promoting and sharing this kind of anti-Muslim, anti-immigrant hatred, are not offering a solution.  They are part of the problem.  They are part of the climate of intolerance, racism and hate that isolates Muslim youth in this country and others, and pushes them towards radicalisation.  OK, it’s fair to say that the causes of radicalisation are complex, and vary from one individual to another, but if they think the unfounded bile they are spouting at Muslims and immigrants is the answer, they’re delusional.

So they can call me a naive, soft lefty/liberal all they want.  I don’t care.  My opinion is based on common sense and a logical appraisal of the evidence.  What’s their hate based on?
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