Posted by Phil
On January 29th 2013 I went to lunch with my mother at a small café near her work, which is contained within a bookshop. As most of the clientele are eating in a rush and alone, there are newspapers and magazines spread out on the tables. The one next to me was one of the supplements which come with The Guardian. I remember taking a photo and thinking that I would send it to the Editor after the next terror attack that would inevitably come. Instead, I want to use it to talk about the way that a coalition of Libertarians and Leftists are putting our lives in danger. I want to talk about the march of the cowards into the abyss, and their attempts to drag us all in with them.
So what am I talking about here? Which people am I referring to? They can be split into two main groups, as those of us in the sensible centre are attacked on all sides.
The Left flank of this movement combines both the hardline socialists that staggeringly still exist in the post-USSR world, allied with their elite Leftist media sympathisers such as The Guardian and elements within The New York Times. Their attitude towards Islamic extremism is based on a visceral hatred of the United States, Israel, UK, and any other country that believes that force is sometimes necessary for the greater good. They also appear to be convinced that any effort to strengthen counter-terrorism mechanisms is in fact a desperate attempt to abolish freedom of thought and create a Big Brother state.
The Right flank is a similar combination of uneducated buffoons and naive daydreamers, though the ideologies they subscribe to are very different to their Leftist equivalents. The right-wing equivalent to the hardline socialists are the far-right groups of angry people, coming together in apparently spontaneous movements of ill-informed and incoherent rage at ‘the system’. Their allies are the philosophical Libertarians, who are so convinced that Ayn Rand was G-d incarnate that they appear to be allergic to Government actually doing anything. The overarching belief of the two is because they want to build 25 metre high walls around their houses and never talk to anyone again, so must everyone else.
Today these two sides who would usually claw at one another over every single issue have become bizarrely united in their belief that Islamic extremism does not exist, but rather any act of terror against the West is falsely attributed to it as we are just getting what we deserve. The lack of logic or understanding they have when discussing the issues is quite simply staggering.
Take the recent obsession on the Left of saying that the Boston Bombings have nothing to do with Islamic extremism, and that any claim to the contrary is simply Islamophobia. Never mind that the one surviving perpetrator of the heinous terrorist attack has stated categorically that they were motivated by Islamic extremism. Why listen to the facts? It is much easier to blame racist Westerners, right?
It makes me physically sick. There is nothing Islamophobic about saying the Boston bombers were motivated by Islamic extremism. In doing so, I am not stating that such behaviour is inherent to Islam, or that the interpretation of these terrorists is a correct interpretation, I am simply correctly identifying their own justification for their actions. The desire to shut down debate about extremist elements within the Muslim community and how to deal with it is almost pathological. It is also dangerous.
On the other hand are those who believe if the West just closed all their embassies in Muslim lands and withdrew every soldier then there would be peace. These are the same people who argue that Hamas would become ‘moderate’ if Israel withdrew from Gaza, or that Hezbollah would do the same after the Israelis pulled out of Lebanon. The results speak for themselves. Extremist Islamists are not interested in compromise. Their language is suicide bombings and terror, not the give and take of political discussion.
As the Pew Research Global Attitudes Project demonstrates, a majority of Muslims around the world do not believe that suicide bombings are justified. Only a minority have a favourable view of Al Qaeda. What should be of concern – and should not be denied – is the fact that there are still significant numbers who do believe suicide bombings can be justified, or who support other terrorist groups. The numbers change drastically as soon as you specify a Western target, perhaps informed by the staggeringly poor opinion most Muslim countries have of both Christians and Jews.
So what is the bottom line?
Most Muslims do not support terrorism (at least not on principle). The majority of Muslims do not support Al Qaeda. While hatred of other religions is apparently endemic to many Muslim societies, this does not mean Muslims in general are incapable of being tolerant of other faiths, and many are all around the world.
None of what I have just demonstrated means that there is not a relatively large support base for Islamic extremism and sympathy for terrorism. Nor does it make one Islamophobic to stand up and say that such attitudes must be confronted, and they must be defeated.
The article which I used as the photo for this piece includes the line ‘it appears fair to assume that bombs in London or New York are a fairly distant prospect for the moment’. I suppose Boston was similarly safe? Shame on The Guardian for publishing such rubbish.
The reality is that with distance from these attacks we stop preparing for the next one. Through cowardice, people just want it to be over. I can understand it; after all, who wants to live with the danger for a moment longer than they need to?
This is not to suggest that we should all lock ourselves away or give up all our rights in the name of fighting terrorism – far from it – but rather to say that ignoring the threat is not a strategy for ending the threat. If there are those who want to stick their heads in the sand and pretend there is no danger from Islamic extremism then they are welcome to do so. There is, after all, no accounting for idiots. The danger comes is if the great silent majority of people who take their cues on these issues from opinion makers are drawn in.
If the number of people who subscribe to this fairy-tale of safety grows too large, they will drag us into the abyss.