In the face of the violence that has occurred over the last few years, by people of varying ideological stripes, the narrative that has been written is the enlightened west fighting off the barbaric, uneducated Muslim terrorists. It doesn’t seem to matter a whit how ignorant that particular view is, all that seems to matter is that we (the people doing the bulk of the bombing world-wide) tell ourselves stories about how oppressed we are and how bad ‘they’ are..
There is no end to the examples of extraordinarily ignorant people conflating ‘Muslim’ with ‘terrorist’, and the fact that this flies in the face of reality seems to have no bearing on their position. When demands are made that Muslims condemn particular terror attacks, or that Muslims should fight for democracy, all that is clear from these demands is that the person making them is extraordinarily ignorant of what is going on in the world.
While people are quick to pick out these examples as somehow contrary to the claim that “Islam is a religion of peace”, they are as quick to decry the actions of the US as examples contrary to the claim that “Christianity is a religion of peace”. ‘The US isn’t a Christian nation’, they’ll say, and sure, in terms of political foundation, that’s entirely correct. And yet the dominant religion of the US is Christianity (for now, at least), and Christianity has been historically privileged within the armed services. The first Muslim US Army chaplain was celebrated only in 2009, while the US Army itself has had Christian chaplains since around its inception. If we can look to the examples of a few handfuls of Muslims committing atrocious acts of violence as counter arguments to the idea that ‘Islam is a religion of peace’, then surely we can look at the 170,000 American Troops in Iraq killing civilians, shooting weddings, and generally killing people at random as a counter argument to the (clearly false) claim that ‘Christianity is a religion of peace’, can we not? I mean, one wedding massacre is an accident, but more than three separate weddings?
And perhaps we can ignore the massive Muslim protests against the violence that none of them committed, because (let’s face it) that’s not something we *really* consider important (no matter how much we demand it of them). But what about religious leaders? Do they unequivocally condemn the violence?
“If my good friend Dr. Gasparri says a curse word against my mother, he can expect a punch,” Francis said, throwing a pretend punch his way. “It’s normal. You cannot provoke. You cannot insult the faith of others. You cannot make fun of the faith of others.”
Sure, sure, he also denounced the violence, but that would appear to be a lie. Let’s face it, if I were to say to you “Hey, look, violence is bad. But if you insult me, I’ll beat the tar out of you”, would I come across as anti-violence? Not in the slightest. So let’s not confuse his political wrangling with a real stance against violence. The Bishop of Rome has basically said ‘that whole turn the other cheek? Sure, if someone hits you, don’t hit back. But if they call your mother names? Let loose the dogs of war!’.
To those reading who would condemn Muslims generally for the acts of a small few, how about you take that heuristic you’re using to blame the many for the acts of the few, and turn that to your own society and its past (which is likely to have been imperialistic and colonial), and see if it works out. If you don’t like what you see, and demand exceptions for whatever ridiculous reason, then perhaps 1) those exceptions should also apply to Muslims, and/or 2) your heuristic is crap.
Your hypocrisy is showing.