Thursday 19 March 2020

Double standards

Meanwhile, back at the ranch, Brendan O’Neill has written a sharp piece about ‘the problem we don’t like talking about.’
I urge you to read it, as well as the responses below the line. 

I’ll try to summarise, which is very cheeky and presumptuous, but I’ve learned that not everyone (especially me) has the time and patience to click on every link.

O’Neill is concerned that the conviction of Hashem Abedi for the murders of 22 attendees of Ariana Grande’s concert at the Manchester Arena hasn’t engendered an appropriate amount of media coverage. Although his brother Salman was the actual suicide bomber, Hashem Abedi was equally responsible for the crime.

Where is the debate? asks O’Neill, where is the concern that ISIS-inspired extremism has fuelled such atrocities?  He identifies the media’s gross double standards, comparing the ‘Don’t look back in anger’ approach and the therapeutic style ‘deradicalisation’ strategy prescribed to treat violence and terrorism motivated by “Islamism” with the unadulterated ‘blame’ we attach to ‘far-right’ acts of terror, which must somehow be defeated.
"The very use of the term ‘radicalised’ reduces them to passive creatures who have had something bad done to them, probably by a twisted preacher on the internet. Apparently, they need our help. Fascists must be defeated, but violent Islamists must be cared for, put on the couch, pitied.
It’s a powerful piece, but it leaves me with one or two unanswered questions.

 1) Why do people like Brendan glibly condemn Tommy Robinson in such a reflexive and out of hand manner? (However, I now see Brendan has cautiously re-framed that condemnation - I suppose I'll have to search again for 'people like him' distancing themselves from Tommy Robinson )  After all, Robinson, (aka S Y-L ) has made an admirable effort to study the ideology that’s at the very heart of the problem. In other words, his Luton accent and his volatility are not enough to make him into a mere racist thug.  In fact, it’s his fearless, perhaps innately pugilistic quality, (lacking in many a lesser, more easily intimidated critic of Islam) that has protected and prevented him from being utterly intimidated and silenced by ‘the system’. 

2) The murky distinction between the ’ism’ in Islamism and Islam proper is problematic. In some ways, it’s a mirror image of the ‘good’ (anti-Zionist) Jew and the regular Jew. After all, when push comes to shove, a Jew is a Jew is a Jew.  Are we now saying the only good Muslim is an ex-Muslim? I kind of think we really are.
See the comment from Geoff W 18th March 2020 at 8:51 pm (I don’t think I can provide a direct link) but arguably the way forward hinges on some sort of future enlightenment within the religion. But, isn’t there a built-in super-injunction (within Islam itself) against reform?


  1. I don't see any parallels between Judaism and Islam, the Jew is a Jew by birth and will always be a Jew even though they reject the faith; the Muslim can be of any race and in theory can reject the faith and no longer be a Muslim.

    The Zionist and the Islamist might be thought of as extreme followers of the faith but Zionist would have the faithful concentrate on a homeland, the Islamist is expansionist and seeks World domination. The Christian comparison is between the Amish who seeks to be separate and the Catholic Conquistadors imposing their faith on the South Americans.

    I am surprised that O'Neill uses the word Islamist anyway, it is like the term 'moderate Muslim', an invention of the Western non-Muslim to pretend that no-one lives by the Bible and the Koran is just a bible with a different cover. 'We' are 'Christians' that don't believe in Jesus, Jews that don't believe in Abraham and Muslims that don't believe in Mo and as long as we all drink Coca-Cola and eat MacDonalds the world will be OK.

    It is always a good idea in life to have some sort of goal. What is the goal of Western governments, MacDonalds or Mecca?

    To update the Dave Allan sketch: A priest and an imam were arguing in a railway carriage. Finally the imam said that they would both have to agree to disagree, "You worship God in man's way, I will worship Allah in his!"

  2. All the major religions have quite significantly different features.

    The claim by the PC crowd is that Islamism is a political interpretation of Islam. This is an extremely weak claim, given that Islam is and always has been explicitly political, wishing to see Sharia law applied everywhere on Planet Earth. Islam teaches that it is desirable to have a global Caliphate to ensure Sharia law is implemented.

    Christianity always had an ambiguous attitude to politics, seeming to want the Church to operate in parallel to "Caesar". Judaism's relationship with political life has evolved over time, sometimes close, sometimes distant, sometimes tactical and now reanimated by Zionism. Hinduism seems to have a much more fluid approach, reflected in its many deities, but at its heart is the idea of a fixed social order. Bahai has explicitly political aims. Mormonism was rooted in a very political project, seeking to establish its own independent state early on.

    It's only PC ideologists who pretend that religion and politics are separate. I like secularism but I'm not naive about it. In most countries there are overtly or quasi official religions/religious organisations, closely allied to the state. The USA is a notable exception in not having this arrangement, although initially after independence many of the States did surprisingly have official churches.

    In Islam there is a surprisingly high level of unity about what the religion means and requires. The split between Shia and Sunni was more about the succession than any fundamental theological issue.

    As far as I know, all Islam's senior teachers (its senior clerics and exegegists) think that Islam demands the eventual establishment of a Global Caliphate which will implement Sharia law everywhere.


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