A challenging piece on Scoop yesterday by Ramzy Baroud:
War Begets War: It’s Not about Islam; It Never Was
It is still not about Islam, even if the media and militants attacking western targets say so. Actually, it never was. But it was important for many to conflate politics with religion; partly because it is convenient and self-validating.
While much violence happens across the world in the name of Christianity, Judaism, even Buddhism in Burma and Sri Lanka, rarely do entire collectives get stigmatized by the media. Yet, all Muslims are held directly or otherwise accountable by many, even if a criminal who happened to be a Muslim went out on a violent rampage. Yes, he may still be designated as a “lone wolf”, but one can be almost certain that Muslims and Islam somehow become relevant to the media debate afterwards.
When a Muslim in Brazil or Libya reacts to a hostage crisis in Sydney, Australia, condemning violence on behalf of Islam, and frantically attempting to defend Islam and disown militancy, and so on, the question is, why? Why does the media make Muslims feel accountable for anything carried out in the name of Islam, even by some deranged person? Why are members of other religions not held to the same standards? Why aren’t Swedish Christians asked to explain and apologize for the behavior of Uganda’s Lord’s Resistance Army, or Argentinean Jews to explain the daily, systematic violence and terror carried out by Jewish extremists in Jerusalem and the West Bank?
Islam is not just a religion, but a way of life. By demonizing Islam, you demonize everything associated with it, including, of course, Muslims.
Is it not possible that Muslims are angered by something much more subtle and profound than Charlie Hebdo’s tasteless art? Avoiding the answer is likely to delay a serious attempt at finding a solution, which must start with the end of western interventionism in the Middle East.
The day before, the New York Times ran this excellent piece, a background on the Charlie Hebdo attackers and some of the events that unfolded. It begins:
In the year after the United States’ invasion of Iraq, a 22-year-old pizza delivery man here couldn’t take it anymore. Sickened by images of American soldiers humiliating Muslims at the Abu Ghraib prison, he made plans to go fight United States forces.
War begets war. It’s a pretty simple message.