Murdered policeman’s brother on Islam
There have been some truly admirable responses to the Charlie Hebdo attacks (as far as there can be) such as this, or the show of unity seen in Paris this afternoon.
Free speech will win out, and that’s reassuring.
Sadly, the occasion has served to exacerbate and highlight some less pleasant viewpoints. Rupert Murdoch, for instance, deems all Muslims responsible for the tiny number of Islamist extremists – in much the same way as I would expect him as a journalist to take full responsibility for the phone hacking scandal. Even if he hadn’t been in charge at the time, by his logic, he’d be guilty regardless.
Here’s the thing: there are groups like Britain First, and other hugely Islamophobic organisations growing across Europe. They purport to be “taking the country back” or whatever, but they are dangerous and brutal in threatening the liberal, democractic societies we are so lucky to live in.
From my point of view, religions in themselves – like any organisation, actually – don’t make the religion. People make the religion. That’s true of Islam, the CofE, any school, governmental department or place employment. What’s important in “making” it, whatever that is, is the people. Of course, the religion (etc.) influences it, and naturally it influences many people’s lives.
But whatever the influence – and I certainly don’t agree with what a lot of the more outdated parts of the Qu’ran or Bible or any other such text say – the thing is that the people are still the driving force. And the majority of Muslims are peace-loving; you might find it surprising if you read the sort of publication the likes of Murdoch own, but actually they’re overwhelmingly human. It’s an odd quirk of theirs.
A few “Muslims” are Islamists, and that may be their interpretation of the religion, whatever. It’s a shame if it is, because most people are able to find the love and generosity in it, and would say it drives them to be better people than they otherwise would be.
Let’s be very clear though: not all Muslims are Islamists, in fact, it’s far from it. They are certainly not all responsible for the tragedy at the Charlie Hebdo offices.
And in the interests of fairness, not all journalists hack the phones of dead children. Not even Murdoch. He just conveniently didn’t notice the people he employed doing it in his vast empire, which he has built by knowing and controlling things other people don’t. What could be more plausible than that?
Muslim doesn’t equal Islamist or terrorist. Remember that, and question carefully anyone who implies otherwise.
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