Tuesday, May 28, 2013

The condemnation of Islam? Part 2

In Part 1 I provided a transcript of an interview spouting intolerance and hate purporting to be on behalf of the Islamic religion and tried to answer why we treat such radicals as representations of the whole. Here I want to try to answer a question posed by a newspaper editorial asking why when such attacks happen the media turns to the 'Muslim community' for answers.

It seems a simple question with a simple answer; why do we ask Muslims what they think about an attack by a Muslim? Because it's about them? But when the editorial posed this question it continued with something that made me pause for a moment. During the IRA bombings did we turn to the Irish population and ask them what their response was? Did the media seem to insist that they have a response? No.So why ask the Muslims?

From the context of the piece the question is why should these people who have nothing to do with the attack be expected to have a response. Asking Muslims about this would be like asking a black man about it simply because one of the suspects is black.  Oh yeah all black people know each other and are really all the same way. How racist can you get? It's a ridiculous concept. Except perhaps it isn't.

Stop thinking about Muslims in a racial sense; we shouldn't be doing it anyway the Islamic religion covers many countries and many different races. In fact let's stop thinking about it as a religion; instead consider it as a group of like-minded people coming together in common cause - like the Boy Scouts or the Women's Institute. Now ask the same question.

Why should we expect a group of like-minded individuals to respond to the actions of one of their members?

We wouldn't ask the Irish about the actions of the IRA because they're not members of the IRA. But we wouldn't ask the IRA either because the bombings were why they joined up. Instead questions were asked to Sinn Fein who were purported the political non-violent wing of the IRA. In other words - how can you (Sinn Fein) claim to be non-violent when you associate with this (the IRA) violent group?

In the case of Islam (and as I pointed out in Part 1 Christianity) the group is comprised of both the violent and non-violent who are both under the impression that only their version is the right version of their faith. In the same way when the anti-atheist leanings of the Boy Scout movement were placed in the spotlight branches in other countries were asked for a response. One part of the whole was asked about another part of the whole.

Asking Muslims for a response regarding actions from people calling themselves Muslims and purporting to act for that faith is no different; except we make it different. We tip-toe around it in case we're called bigots (or incorrectly) racists when in reality it is treating Islam (and Christianity and Judaism, check the ultra-Orthodox views, etc) as somehow special that is the real bigoted viewpoint.

Treat religion as if they were the Boy Scouts, as if they were a political party, a cricket club, or goths, and not as some special off-limits group and this worry about "how we treat them" falls to the wayside. Ask yourself how you'd feel if a cricket club insisted that everyone in the village turned out to support the team, with threats and punishment for failure. We'd treat them like 'nutters' and move away (carefully). But a group of people who just played cricket and allowed people to join or watch... perfectly normal.