Surprise surprise, another mass shooting occurs somewhere in the United States of America. Only this time, the attack was carried out by people who are identified as Muslims. Generally, this means that not only are people talking about gun rights vs gun control again, but they’re also going on about how either Islam is a religion of peace and that the attacks being carried out have nothing to do with Islam, or how it’s another “proof” that Islam is an inherently violent belief system and how they feel they have the right to categorize all Muslims as violent people. Think about it: in the post-9/11 world any attack carried out by individuals who are Muslim use their Islamic faith to justify violence mysteriously compels people to stop seeing Muslims as individuals, and instead as some kind of collective whole. And when that happens I see two sides of how that whole is treated: on one side, you have the conservative right going out of their way to denounce that whole as vicious, evil, and inherently violent regardless of the fact that there are Muslims who are just decent people, and they act as though we’re at war with Islam as a religion rather than simply at war with Islamic terrorists; and before anyone gets on their high-horses on how this is typical of Christian conservatism, I’ve seen this among atheism (I’m looking at Richard Dawkins, Christopher Hitchens, and Sam Harris) and even in LHP-related circles. One the other side, the “liberal” left go out of their way to not account for any radical or violent individuals as relevant to the Muslim world by trying to say they aren’t actually Muslims and represent nothing about Islam (but never do the same with Christian fanatics).
To be honest, when I hear about this, I feel fed up with the way Muslims are treated by the world around them just because most people are bombarded with stories of Islamic/jihadist fanatics and militias and assume all Muslims are like that. Even though I’m diametrically opposed to Islam as a belief system, I find something wrong with the way we treat Islam, or rather the Muslim community. I think that Islam isn’t a religion of peace anymore than Christianity claims to be a religion based on love, but equally I feel that Islam isn’t a religion based purely on hate or violence, at least anymore than the other monotheistic religions are (frankly I think it’s more about submission to “God” ultimately than peace or hatred, but that’s besides the point), and I think we ought to develop a more nuanced view not just of Muslims I kind of wish Muslims didn’t have to put up with the kind of crap we give them, telling them they have to conform to Western standards of liberalism (which in modern times are proving hypocritical) and that their religion has to change to a more “modern” form. I swear we don’t treat even Christians the way we treat Muslims. With Christians, most of the time we just mock them, although we seem to pay lip service to their religion at the same time. But with Muslims, we always place them under constant suspicion, or outwardly try to paint them as all sunshines and rainbows. I may not be very familiar with the Muslim community, and in my life I’ve only known one, maybe two people who identify as Muslims, but I just can’t help but ask hasn’t it ever occurred to people that most Muslims, for all they know, are a lot like most Christians: they’re raised into a religion established by their peers and family, they just go with it because that’s what they’re taught, but they’re not necessarily devout in the strict sense, and most certainly don’t practice their faith in a way that is as life-destroying to large numbers of people in the same way that the fanatics, the fundamentalists, and the terrorists do.
And there are some people have the nerve to go on about how their religion needs to be changed and reformed in order to suit the audience of modern “society”, or that Muslims should all unite behind a figure of reform, a Martin Luther equivalent. Funny how it’s usually non-Muslims who think they have any claim over the soul of a religion that isn’t theirs to reform! We don’t do this with Christianity. When we accuse Christians of following an outdated set of beliefs, we usually pressure them to convert to atheism instead. But with Muslims, we ask them to get together and reform Islam to suit everyone who isn’t Muslim but assumes all Muslims are fanatics.
It’s this climate that I’m really annoyed with: the climate that seems to follow every violent incident committed by Muslims who use their faith to feed their actions, and all the while we don’t do this with Christianity when Christians attack planned parenthood because they hate abortion, or any other religion when its followers commit violent acts. I am tired of blanket judgement being applied to people who follow a religious identity, even if it pertains to a religion that I would stand opposed to. Why not focus on dealing with violent individuals and leave everyone else to live and practice their religious beliefs in peace and liberty? You know, that thing the West acts like it’s fighting for in the first place.