373 people have been killed and 496 critically wounded around the globe just this week in acts of Islamic terrorism.
Yesterday a Muslim gunman stormed into a Free Speech debate in Copenhagen and opened fire killing 1 man and injuring 4. He then shot a Jewish man in the head outside a synagogue before being killed himself.
One of the topics of this debate in Denmark was another act of Islamic terrorism committed last month whereby two Muslims stormed the offices of satirical magazine Charlie Hebdo and gunned down the staff in revenge for ‘Islamophobic’ cartoons whilst shouting “Allahu Akbar” and “we have avenged the Prophet.”
A month prior to the Charlie Hebdo attack, a Muslim in Sydney Australia took 18 people hostage in a café. He forced them to display the black flag of Jihad in the shop window before killing 2 of them and injuring another 4.
While these attacks were occurring in the West, the group known as ‘Islamic State’ were rampaging across Iraq and Syria murdering entire families, burying children alive, crucifying people, beheading journalists and aid workers, throwing homosexuals from rooftops, selling women into sexual slavery and burning fellow Muslims alive.
Meanwhile Boko Haram in Nigeria have kidnapped more than 500 men, women and children in Nigeria and have killed more than 5000 civilians in a 5 year period, apparently influenced by the Koranic phrase: “Anyone who is not governed by what Allah has revealed is among the transgressors.”
At the time of writing Islamic terrorists have carried out over 25,114 separate deadly terror attacks since 9/11. That’s an average of approx 5 deadly attacks per day, everyday for the last 14 years.
Every year a terror plot the size & scale of the July 7th transport bombings in London, is foiled by British intelligence services. More than 40 terror plots have been foiled in the UK since 2005.
The amount of suffering, oppression, discrimination, subjugation, death and destruction currently being perpetrated across the globe in the name of the religion of Islam is truly beyond the scope of a single blog article to adequately quantify.
Now, if I was a member of a religion that was repeatedly being held up by the perpetrators of these atrocities as their justification and inspiration, I would feel some sort of compulsion to fight back in some way. I would want people to know that I opposed these people committing these outrages against humanity in any name let alone in the name of the religion I cherish. I would want to show solidarity with the myriad victims of Islamism and Jihadism – the overwhelming majority of whom are Muslims. At the very least, I would want to make a symbolic gesture of support for my Muslim brothers of Iraqi Kurdistan and Jordan bravely combatting the fascism and theocracy of these Islamic State barbarians.
Muslims have shown themselves more than capable of demonstrating, marching and protesting in opposition to things they disagree with. For instance, last week thousands of British Muslims gathered in Whitehall to protest against Charlie Hebdo – the magazine that had recently had 11 of it’s staff slaughtered and another 11 injured for the crime of exercising it’s fundamental right to freedom of expression. To argue that these hordes of Muslim protesters were ‘extremists’ would seem to somewhat undermine the common argument that extremists represent only a tiny, insignificant minority.
Moderate Muslims have also shown themselves more than willing to do the same in support of, and in solidarity with causes with which they identify. For example, in July last year approx 15,000 people marched through London in what the director of the Palestine Solidarity Campaign described as “outrage at Israel’s attacks” and what Dianne Abbot MP described as “solidarity with the people of Gaza.”
5000 people also protested in July last year outside the BBC headquarters over what they claimed was a pro-Israeli bias in the media’s reporting of the Gaza conflict.
It would seem to me that the Israeli government are as likely to base their political policies on the demands of British protestors, as ISIS are to stop massacring anybody that doesn’t fit their narrow view of what makes somebody sufficiently Islamic. Which is to say, not at all. The act of marching in either protest or in solidarity is a purely symbolic gesture.
When this symbolic gesture is used only in response to issues where Muslims feel persecuted and victimized by non-Muslims, but is not used when everyone is persecuted and victimized by Muslims, we have a problem – a problem commonly known as ‘selective outrage’.
It is not a matter of asking Muslims to “apologise” for the acts of other people. It is a matter of asking the Muslim community to making a clear stand against Islamic barbarism – barbarism committed on the basis of a religion they share with the perpetrators, and to show a consistent approach in both outrage and solidarity.
When the Christian extremists of the Westborough Baptist Church protest the funerals of soldiers and wave obnoxious placards about homosexuality, they do so in the name of their Christian beliefs. Every time they do this they are met with unequivocal condemnation, counter protests and displays of public outrage by other Christians, disgusted that the religion they share is being used in this way. Although the concept of ‘The Ummah’ does not exist in Christianity as it does in Islam, Christians have nevertheless repeatedly shown a willingness, if not an obligation, to publicly oppose the offenses committed by people that belong to their global ideological community and carry out their acts on that basis.
When the English Defence League stage marches across the UK as a response to Islamic Extremism, they are always met with counter-demonstrations by the UAF, many of whom are Muslims, and by other Muslims within the communities they march through. Regardless of your opinions about either group, the purpose of these counter demonstrations is not to try and convince any particular government to change their policies. It is symbolic gesture of opposition.
Again, this is not about holding moderate Muslims responsible for the actions of Jihadists and Islamists. In a time where so many criticisms of Islamic doctrine, Islamic Law, Islamic traditions, and the acts of Islamic extremists are so often met with equivocation, whataboutery, deflections and dismissals – it is vital that moderate Muslims, however symbolically, make their position abundantly apparent. It is absolutely about picking sides and showing clearly which side of the debate you stand on.
As Sam Harris puts it:
“It’s not a matter of blaming all Muslims for the actions of a few. It’s a matter of demanding a reformation within Islam that only Muslims can accomplish. The civilized world is waiting for this happen and people will continue to die until it does. And of course, most of the people dying are Muslims.”
When Muslims show themselves more than willing to protest in opposition to Israel, cartoons, novels, films and Western Governments but flat-out reject any obligation to take similar action against Islamofascism and the actions of the governments in many Middle Eastern countries including Gaza, we are presented with a glaring and suspicious double standard.
Where were the counter-protests by Muslims against Muslims calling for restrictions on free expression? Where were the thousands of British Muslims vocally and publicly representing the position, en-mass, that freedom of speech is a crucial, fundamental liberty and that calls for restrictions against depicting the Prophet were essentially invocations of theocratic blasphemy laws that they unequivocally oppose as members of a secular democracy? Where were the Muslim voices, who so loudly and regularly condemn the Israeli government as terrorists, when the governments of Iran, Pakistan and Saudi Arabia were publicly flogging bloggers, hanging gays, imprisoning ‘blasphemers’, lashing rape victims, beheading apostates and enthusiastically committing horrendous human rights abuses on an appallingly gargantuan scale?
Sure, Muslims were among the tens of thousands of people that took to the streets of Paris in the wake of the Charlie Hebdo massacre and the subsequent killing of Jewish people in a Kosher supermarket, and I commend them for doing so. Of course they were also among the people around the world that protested in solidarity with the victims of the France attacks. But unfortunately, their voices were essentially lost in the crowd. Muslims need to protest en-mass, identifiablely as Muslims representing the attitudes of Islam, against theocracy, against Islamic subjugation, against Muslim terrorism and against Islamofascism. They need to be as loud and clear in their opposition to this global phenomena of Jihadism and Islamically inspired barbarism, as they are with so many other issues in which they deem themselves the victims.
Writer Nicholas Sheppard put it in the following way:
“Why is it unreasonable, or culturally insensitive, or an act of false equivalence to point out the general absence of marches and peaceful demonstrations of solidarity, of moderate Muslim rejection of extremism and the perversion of real Islam, on at least one tenth the scale, world-wide, of the demonstrations in reaction to the publication of offensive cartoons in a Danish newspaper?”
I don’t think it’s unreasonable to demand such a consistent reaction, let alone to point out its general absence and I don’t think it’s unreasonable to object to accusations of bigotry (or of being a prat) in taking this stance.