‘Children are among at least 26 people massacred in Egypt and dozens more injured after gunmen opened fire on a bus carrying Coptic Christians.’ ~ THE INDEPENDENT, 26 May 2017
[Previously on The Plague Of Faith-Inspired Terrorism: The sad truth is, we are too afraid on the whole to deal with the hot potato of faith. We are unable to call a spade a spade, opting for a game of charades instead.]
We only hurt ourselves, delaying our confrontation with the root of the problem, undermining our ability to solve it.
The trick is in being honest with ourselves, and critical. And consistent. We lack an application of the same standards across the board, an imperative we must employ. Deal with terrorist attacks the same way we deal with other deadly phenomena. Identify them, analyze them, describe them as they are, digging into the various factors that give rise to them.
We have said everything there is to say about the atrociousness of our foreign policy, a policy that aggravates the geopolitical situation, in fact, we have been more than open about it. We are engaged in a constant debate on how to mitigate our errors, how to deal with our international relations and the way we conduct ourselves in the global arena.
We have also raised issues with many a corporation on account of their policies, the callous economics many of them apply — how they exploit the poor and weak, the destitute and marginalized, giving rise to extremism.
We have also analyzed the way our current paradigm leaves many people feeling alienated. With no sense of belonging, a great number of individuals denounce the system, finding solace in violent acts that make a powerful statement against said system and those who support it.
We have analyzed these factors extensively, speaking openly about them.
How about we also identify the role of religion in all this, in the name of which an increasing number of people are carrying out deadly terrorist attacks. Hardly a comprehensive explanation, it would nevertheless address one key ingredient, one which we choose to ignore.
Time to acknowledge the fertile ground religion provides to people whose faith is insulted, and whose rage seethes with homicidal tendencies whenever they deem their way of life slighted. Dare we say that a belief system that considers its creed holy and beyond reproach, and which regards its texts as infallible, and whose word is final, and whose agents command absolute control over a large part of their adherents, a huge number of people — dare we call this belief system a healthy one? Dare we praise its good side without acknowledging the volatile premise on which it operates?
It’s time we acknowledged how wrong and crooked this premise is, wherever applicable, how dubious the operational parameters of some faiths are, and how easily things can go wrong when you start from the premise of infallibility, untouchability, and final words. When you cannot tolerate the slightest criticism or comment. When you deem all words critical of your faith ‘blasphemy’ — a ‘sin’ punishable by a number of severe acts, the top of which is damnation, which is apparently an acceptable idea in religious circles — when your entire system hinges on the notion that all those who disagree with your teachings are worthy of damnation, you have a problem, and so do the rest of us.
And yet we dare not call these things out. We are too afraid of stirring the pot. Only racists raise the issue of Islam in terrorist attacks! ‘We, dear sir, are sophisticated and well-measured, not racists, and will not be drawn into the discussion. We have our own ways of dealing with religion-affiliated terror. We can explain things differently, even as the evidence stares us in the face.’
Of course, when an occultist white-supremacist maniac is involved, we like to mention his Satanic affiliations because we think they matter.
And when it’s a Christian who’s killed a whole bunch of people, we may or may not address the issue of religion. It’s very complicated.
Hypocrisy, dear friends! Fear, lots of it, and false noblesse. Cowardice. We refuse to address a key factor in the plague of terrorism, and we do so with extreme narrow-mindedness posing as sophistication, putting our precious ideals before the facts. We have a strange way to address pagans or Christians who commit acts of terror, muddying the waters, then, when dealing with terrorist attacks involving Islamist perps, we change tack, forcing the peg into our square expectations, exhibiting the same kind of dismissive single-mindedness normally associated with racists and xenophobes, supremacists and fascists, but we dress it up as multiculturalism. We pretend to be open-minded, applying our double standards as we see fit, all the while criticizing the other side’s double standards. We’re afflicted with the same disease, the only difference being we occupy the opposite side of the river. We are in favor of an open and inclusive society, as opposed to the bigots across us, but when the time comes to apply some reason to the plagues of today, we fail to read the situation properly, just like racists and bigots do, eager to dress things up according to our prejudices, our idées fixes.
We harm ourselves in the process, not to mention our cause at large.
The good news is there is a way around this affliction, and it’s simple, at least in principle. Be forthright and critical, subjecting the phenomenon of terrorist attacks to the full extent of our reason. Apply judiciousness, and call things as they are, be we partial to conservative whiteness or to liberal multiculturalism, or anything in between.
The ugly truth is, religion and culture have everything to do with terrorist attacks. Sometimes the terror is driven by white supremacist faith, sometimes by Islamist faith. Sometimes it targets Christians, sometimes Muslims, sometimes Jews, or simply citizens of a Christian, Jew, or infidel state. It targets apostates and traitors. It targets Muslims who resemble the perps of bombing attacks, leading to xenophobia and racism, resulting in public shootings and stabbings, revenge killings — acts of terrorism.
In other words, terrorism has a strong religious, political and cultural flavor. It may strike indiscriminately sometimes, but the intention seems to be religiously and racially motivated. Yes, there are more factors to it, but that’s no reason to bury the one we’re talking about under them, pretending it’s not there.
Part 4 to follow