Let’s not allow political correctness to get in the way of a real discussion about Islamic terrorism

Down in Australia’s premiere banking district at the heart of Sydney last Monday, Man Haron Monis, a self-styled Islamic cleric took staff and customers of a Lindt cafe in Martin Place hostage and forced them to raise a black flag bearing an Arabic inscription in white that says “There is no god but Allah; Muhammad is the Messenger of Allah.” The message is consistent with Shahada, an Islamic doctrine that is one of the faith’s key pillars. Ben MacQueen of Australia’s Monash University refers to it as “the testimony or core statement of belief in Islam.” The siege ended with three people dead — two hostages and Monis.

Up in Peshawar, Pakistan, 141 people of which 132 were children lost their lives to a “revenge attack” perpetrated by the Pakistani Taliban yesterday. The attack was, according to a Taliban statement, in retaliation for on-going Pakistani military attacks against them. Some witnesses say that the Taliban attackers who carried out this barbaric execution of innocent children shouted “Allahu Akbar!” (“God is great!”) as they shot kids often at point-blank range. This year’s Nobel Peace Prize winner, 17-year-old Malala Yousafzai, was also a victim of a Taliban attack on account of her being a vocal advocate of women’s right to education there.

Islamic jihadOn both occasions, the barbarity on exhibit was perpetrated on the bases of supposedly perverted interpretations of Islamic doctrine and scripture. The argument of course is that the earlier was the result of the “isolated” actions of a mentally unstable “madman” and that the latter involved the actions of foot soldiers grossly misguided by the vindictive tunnel-visioned zealotry of their charismatic leaders. But the common denominator between the two seemingly unrelated tragedies remained confronting and inescapable.

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In Australia, the collective response to that elephant in the debating room was manifest in a Twitter hashtag: #illridewithyou (“I’ll ride with you”). Australians have used this hashtag to rally around the Muslim community here by encouraging people to follow the example of Brisbane woman Rachael Jacobs who, in the days following the violent end to the Sydney Martin Place Siege, posted on her Facebook profile an account of how she spotted a Muslim woman who removed her headscarf as she walked towards a train station and then further writes, “I ran after her at the train station. I said ‘put it back on. I’ll walk with u’. She started to cry and hugged me for about a minute – then walked off alone.” Since then, the hashtag campaign has taken off. A Sydney TV editor tweeted;

If you reg take the #373 bus b/w Coogee/MartinPl, wear religious attire, & don’t feel safe alone: I’ll ride with you. @ me for schedule.

The underlying assumption in this preemptive initiative is, of course, that Muslims will collectively be seen as a target for a backlash coming from a majority presumably furious over the latest acts of “Islamic terrorism”. Actually it’s two assumptions: (1) that there will be a virulent resurgence of islamophobia in Australian society, and (2) that Muslims will be the victims of such a development.

Suffice to say, it is easy to incite such feelings after the fact. In normal times, Muslims and non-Muslims generally try to stay out of each others’ faces and spaces at best. At worst, they shun one another. The continuum between both extremes describes Australian society business-as-usual. An event such as the Martin Place Siege usually sparks a trendy re-evaluation of this normal dynamic. Otherwise, the status quo is a familiar comfort zone for most Australians.

What is disturbing is that underneath both circumstances — normal business as usual or in the heat of emotional upheaval in the aftermath of the next in-the-name-of-Islam atrocity — lies a bedrock of political correctness. In normal times, people are tightlipped about one anothers’ deeply-ingrained distaste for the others’ beliefs and practices. Christians and members of the broader secular society of Australia are baffled and irked by what many regard to be the dogmatic and controlling — often oppressive — belief system of Muslims, while Muslims tend to be judgmental of the infidel’s sinfully-liberated ways. But thanks to political correctness, that is all simply not discussed. When tragedies such as the Martin Place Siege strike, suddenly the violence is an “isolated” incident that has supposedly “does not reflect the broader Muslim community”.

Media are laughing either way, in the case-in-point presented by the events in recent days; flooding the airwaves with inflammatory images of a black Islamic flag being waved in the midst of the unfolding atrocity then suddenly shifting its focus onto a quaint hashtag in its aftermath that aims to whitewash the Islamic imprint on them. Political correctness is the cultural trump card that smoothens the landscape of discourse in both instances.

What seems to escape the attention of many thought leaders today is the very way this painting of Muslims as “victims” by movements such as #illridewithyou contributes to the foundation of most terrorist movements which target marginalised people of society many of whom feel that they are victims of an indifferent or even hostile mainstream. The recruitment initiatives instigated by the Islamic State in the West, for example reportedly attract “the young unemployed and disaffected” who “desire to make their lives, and perhaps their deaths, count for something.”

A campaign such as that of the “I’ll ride with you” movement could possibly further re-enforce the idea of a “them” and “us” in society and heighten a need by individuals within certain high-risk sectors of that society to satisfy a personal craving for a sense of belonging making them more vulnerable to radicalisation. Indeed, small wonder that most terror recruits consist of young men according to a Psychology Today report

It is very significant that most terrorists are young men, usually adolescents. Adolescence can be a psychologically difficult period, during which a person becomes aware of themselves as a separate individual, with a sense of vulnerability and fragility. As a result, there is a strong need for identity and belonging. This is why adolescents often join gangs, and become followers of fashion or of pop groups. Belonging to a group helps to alleviate their sense of separateness and strengthens their identity.

Political correctness suppresses motivation and courage to enter into the hard conversations. When the hard questions are ignored for the sake of some kind of contrived “peace”, problems fester underneath the seemingly calm surface. Problems like terrorism.

Perhaps we are long overdue for a more realistic and more confronting debate that is way outside our collective comfort zone as a society and certainly beyond anything that could be effected by trendy Twitter hashtags.

26 Replies to “Let’s not allow political correctness to get in the way of a real discussion about Islamic terrorism”

  1. Here’s another elephant in the room, 1 gunman in a coffee shop filled with customers and staff, and only 1 guy decided to physically handle the situation? How many abled bodied men were in there? This seems to be a manifistation of society’s pussification.

      1. Abled bodied men with “brains” allowed ONE dude to tussle with an armed crazy guy, and this one dude died. Yeah, no need to be a “rambo” just to claim a pair of balls. Shameful pussies.

        1. It’s so easy to be an armchair Macho man and post about having balls when you haven’t lived through a hostage crisis before.

    1. Agree. But mind we are in the middel of a PC stronghold, physical and psycological.

      Had 2 – 3 MEN, counter-attacked at the spot, likely only one would die. Not to mention gun laws…

  2. Do not be so quick to throw PC under the bus. The idea that there are “no universal values” is at the very heart of this conflict against god tyranny.
    In your macho desire to do battle against the barbarians; be careful that you do not replace one form of fanaticism with another.

  3. or is it #i’ll-ride-with-you-to-make-sure-you-don’t-bomb-anything?

    really though, this may just be lingering white guilt seeing as how australia only formally eliminated race-based immigration policies in the mid-seventies.

  4. I am hesitant to discuss about religions; especially Organized Religion. Islam was founded by the so-called , Prophet : Mohammad. This so-called Prophet was illiterate; and claimed to have received messages from Archangel Gabriel. At that time, people were worshiping the “Moon God” in Mecca, Saudi Arabia. They are worshiping there a “meteorite stone”, even this time…

    The Islamic Koran were the passages written and recorded by people, that allegedly came from the Archangel Gabriel, given to Mohammad…

    Islam was spread by conquest and wars. Mohammad had many wives; including a twelve years old girl. It is a 10th century religious belief; that have gotten in our 21st century time…The Islamic states, mostly control the oil. If we can discover, another source of energy; that will replace this fossil fuel. Islam will be weakened. The trouble is those Oil Barons, do not want us to have a replacement of this oil. They control the oil refineries/distributions; and they are the world’s biggest arm dealers.

    And by the way; what has God to do with the taking of hostages; and killing/murdering of children? “God is great”, because, he allows you to murder children?

    Who cares, if: ” there is no God but, Allah”…that is your belief…I respect it; respect also my belief…

  5. In the case of “revenge attack” There’s nothing that can justify killing children, I believe it to be so. Unless Pakistani military did the same thing to them, then perhaps there’s an exception to every rule..but still regardless..it just doesn’t justify anything at all. It’s just plain killing. Maybe in their logic, if they kill the branches as well as the roots..then there’d be no family tree to continue on.

    Perhaps they get a serious hard-on whenever they do it in the name of their god. Christianity isn’t even excused in this part since in known history they pretty much did the same thing..crusades..and well our country supposedly didn’t knew Christianity prior to our discovery and look what happened..

    But my point here is this, I see bullshit in man’s worst invention called religion. Yes, I’m calling it an invention because seriously, does God represent a single religion? Now I do think every religion here is kind of like a cult or maybe it IS a cult in the guise of self-assessed self-righteous hypocrisy that is trying to hard to get a possibility of salvation.

    What if one day all religion were abolished? Would this world be a better place? The worst thing to represent a belief is killing in the name of religion, in the name of whoever they worship..because that’s a contradiction of whatever they are preaching. I am not gonna worship a god that is an advocate of wanton violence, destruction and whatever bullshit negative stuff..I honestly don’t see the point.

    In the era of political correctness, there’s bound to be a limit for that too. Political correctness is probably just another excuse for those people who are onion-skinned butthurt-prone thinking the world owes them a favor or something. I’ve had it, I’m done. Those are my two-cents…

  6. There are 3 types of phobias that we Hungarians are actually embracing: Islamophobia, Communism phobia and Nazism phobia. All the tragedies in our history were committed in the name of those 3. That’s why Suleiman the Magnificent (origina ISIS) can burn and rot in hell with his buddies Hitler and Stalin. We want to live in the world that is free of those 3 ideologies.

    1. @Attila: Fascism keeps reinventing itself. Every generation is called upon to beat it back to the nether regions where it festers like a malignant, anal cancer.

      The Age of Reason should have invalidated this absolutist nonsense. Yet Despotism keeps resurfacing like a bloated corpse trying to infect the planet. Only half the people in the world are even relatively free.

      1. Communism is also keep reinventing itself. Look at Obama and his gang. All 3 harmful ideologies are keep reinventing themselves.

  7. In the west, when MSM come up with articles, debaet etc. on “emmigration”, “forigners” etc. it’s usally about the elephant in room. Islam.

    Not about pinoys, chinees, brazilians etc.

  8. ..I think I could buy into that hashtag (#illridewithyou). My beef with Islam is not with the messenger, but with the message, or that which manufactures terrorists. I have Muslim friends, and if religion does not come into the picture, I never think of them as Muslims. But having said that, I must admit that there is this subconscious that tells me to keep an arm’s lenght distance from them; for some reason, I could not bring myself to count them among my close friends. Maybe, it is their Taqiyya rule, which prompts them to lie through their teeth to an infidel if they ever find themselves in a disadvantageous position, and that is why I always have to be on guard when I’m with them. (Isn’t it strange that whenever Muslims in Mindanao negotiate for peace with PHL govt, like the BBL now being discussed in Congress, there is always a separate faction ready to go war? Is this a preconceived set-up that comes natural to them because of Taqiyya?)

    Maybe political correctness is best way to keep the peace. For us who are much influenced by Western (and Christian) culture, it may be the only way. People like Robert Spencer (jihadwatch.org), Pamela Geller (pamelageller.com), etc, think political correctness is the wrong way for they maintain that the only real Muslims are the terrorists like ISIS, Al Queda, Boko Haram, etc if one reads and understands the Koran. They claim moderate Muslims are fake Muslims. Fr. Zakaria (fatherzakaria.net) of Egypt, who is considered the number one enemy of Islam for having converted the most number of Muslims to Christianity via his TV show, thinks political correctness is the right way. However, it is only the organization of Zakaria who knows the exact number for unless one is prepared to die in the hands of one’s family and friends, a Muslim can not openly declare his/her conversion to another belief.

    All humans suffer from a presupposition ingrained in minds because I suppose all humans are fed with knowledge during youth, or those ages when we just digest everthing without question. With maturity, a few just throw away every presupposition as bad as Nietzche had proposed, or some take a closer look at it so that what is good could be retained. Majority in PHL are Catholics so the presupposition must be epistemologically a Catholic one, whether one is Catholic or not. In the sense that PHL could possibly allow a state within a state because of BBL, it might be worth looking at this not just from the political and economic angle, but also from our religious presuppositions, especially since Islam can not seem to separate that which is political from that which is religious. Just think of the Sharia Law, as that already in effect in Brunei. To say that this is the reason why religion should be totally discounted from any equation is somehow aspiring for a Marxist utopia. It ignores reality; majority of the seven billion inhabitants of earth have unquestioned presuppositions. On top of that, cultures with Christian background seem to yield more atheists than Islam does, and that should already hint on something — religions, organized or not, are not the same.

    (By the way, I agree with the thinking that Basilan and Sulu should be made into Free Zones or Off Shore Banking Islands to compete with Labuan, Singapore, Hong Kong, or the likes of Cayman Islands, St John, etc in the Carribean. This should spur unprecedented economic activities in the area. The economic growth could accelerate the quest of Pinoy Muslims for an independent Bangsamoro nation, but also could make them forget BBL just to make sure there is peace that could pave the success of the Freeports. Managed well, the latter is possible and which would better than forcing a BBL which will always mean an unacceptable constitutional change.)

    So, what does Catholicism think of Islam? Influenced by the inimitable philosopher and historian Hillaire Belloc and one of his books, The Great Heresies, the Catholic Church considers Islam as one of the five heresies (in historical order, Arianism, Muhammedism, Albigenianism, Protestanism, and for lack yet of a better label, Modernism, which is a combination of all the earlier four) which have had the greatest impact on Western culture, particular that of Europe. Islam has the distinction of being the only heresy that developed outside of the Church. Even if it was outside the Church, it was still classified as a heresy because the environment from which it arose was predominantly or solidly a Christian one. In fact, it was a time when it was politically expedient to be a Christian. It attracted the “high brows” and more than half of the intellectuals of the period. It was a time when Christianity had just one brand, Catholicism, in a vast region that used to be the Roman Empire. By the time, Islam appeared on the horizon in 635 CE, Catholicism was just experiencing a unification after it was split right in the middle by the Arian controversy. Bishop Arius preached that Jesus was just a man, and the Church took five councils to settle the issue –Nicaea I (325) Constantinople I (381) Ephesus (431) Chalcedon (451) Constantinople II (553) — in order to be able to formulate a doctrine understandable by the common man, not just by theologians, that Jesus was fully human and fully divine.

    Belloc argues that if the Church took the route of Arius because of political pressure from the Empire’s Army, which was still unified and were all Arians, then, that route would have taken that which Islam has taken — there may have been no need for, or no controversy with, Islam today. Muhammed breathed in what was becoming an ever compelling Chistian culture that was replacing the fading Graeco-Roman one. Although Islam has developed into a syncretism of Christianity polluted with gnostic philosophies and Arian thinking and adjusted to fit the Arab tribal religions, it was in short not a new religion attacking an old, it was a heresy. He proclaimed Jesus as the greatest prophet and Mary (Miriam in Arab) as the epitome of womanhood. He picked up the big truths believed by Catholicism: (1) the attributes of God, the personal nature, the all-goodness, the timelessness, the providence of God, His creative power as the origin of all things, and His sustenance of all things by His power alone (2) the world of good spirits and angels and of evil spirits with a chief evil spirit in rebellion against God, and (3) on the human side – the immortality of the soul and its responsibility for actions in this life, coupled with the consequent doctrine of punishment and reward after death.

    Muhammed, however, rejected the greatest truths, the incarnation of Jesus and thus, the Trinity and the sacramental systems, or every high theology since said “mysteries” are not easily understood by simple men. He missed the point that Catholicism is not about a book, but about person, who proclaimed that He was the Alpha and Omega — if Jesus was just a man, He was an anti-Christ, the biggest scammer in history. In short, Islam is an oversimplified Catholicism.

    In the history of Catholicism, many heresies come and go unless there is a geopolitical and social context that allows it to persist, and this is true for Islam. The geopolitical ambitions and thoughts of Muhammed may have just remained among a few Arab tribes, but he was married to a wealthy woman and thus had the logistics to start and expand his conquest. What made Islam attractive is that it started when there were major shifts. The Graeco-Roman world of the Mediterranean was fading, societies had fallen and confused — as societies have today — into a tangle wherein the bulk of men were disappointed and angry and seeking for a solution to the whole group of social strains. There was indebtedness everywhere; the power of money and consequent usury. There was slavery everywhere. Society reposed upon it, as ours reposes upon wage slavery today. There was weariness and discontent with theological debate, which, for all its intensity, had grown out of touch with the masses. There lay upon the freemen, already tortured with debt, a heavy burden of imperial taxation; and there was the irritant of existing central government interfering with men’s lives; there was the tyranny of the lawyers and their charges. To all this Islam came as a vast relief and a solution of strain.

    Here was a religion that did not need detailed theology and philosophy. It was materialistic in essence, but dignified as a religion. The slave who admitted Muhammed was the prophet of God and that the new teaching had, therefore, divine authority, ceased to be a slave. The slave who adopted Islam was henceforward free. The debtor who “accepted” was rid of his debts. Usury was forbidden. The small farmer was relieved not only of his debts but of his crushing taxation. Above all, justice could be had without buying it from lawyers… . All this in theory. The practice was not nearly so complete. Many a convert remained a debtor, many were still slaves. But wherever Islam conquered there was a new spirit of freedom and relaxation.

    It was the combination of all these things, the attractive simplicity of the doctrine, the sweeping away of clerical and imperial discipline, the huge immediate practical advantage of freedom for the slave and riddance of anxiety for the debtor, the crowning advantage of free justice under few and simple new laws easily understood — that formed the driving force behind the astonishing Muhammedan social victory. The courts were everywhere accessible to all without payment and giving verdicts which all could understand. The Muhammedan movement was essentially the first “Reformation,” and while no Protestant will admit this, we can discover numerous affinities between Islam and the Protestant Reformers, e.g., on Images, on the Mass, on celibacy, on attack of the priestly caste, on relaxation of marriage laws, on a religion based on a book, etc.

    In the 18th and 19th century, Middle and Near East, as well as North Africa were colonies of European countries, and so it is very hard to imagine these days how Islam could have almost conquered Europe. In the west, it has reached almost half of France through Spain and North Africa. In the east, it was already in Austria and Poland through the Balkans. Its armies were still knocking at the door of Europe up to the 17th century. But, the struggle between Asia and Europe swings over a vast period like a tide ebbing and flowing for a thousand years. In some era, it is Europe asserting itself; in others, it is Asia. When Islam started, it was Asia re-asserting itself. What was remarkable than the flooding of all near Asia with Islam in one lifetime was the wealth and splendour and culture of the new Islamic Empire. Islam was in those early centuries (most of the 7th, all the 8th and 9th), the highest material civilization of the occidental world. The city of Constantinople, present day Istanbul, was very wealthy and enjoyed a very high civilization, which radiated over dependent provinces, Greece and the seaboard of the Aegean and the uplands of Asia Minor, but it was focussed in the imperial city; in the greater part of the country-sides culture was on the decline. In the West it was notoriously so. Gaul and Britain, and in some degree Italy, and the valley of the Danube, fell back towards barbarism. They never became completely barbaric, not even in Britain, which was the most remote; but they were harried and Constantinople, was the center of wealth. Once Islam established its Caliphate in Bagdad after coming out of the Arabian desert, it was unstoppable. Constantinople became an easy target.

    Today, Islam is re-asserting itself as it did in the beginning. Is it because of an over-all decline in culture again? Islam is the religion of the oppressed alright, but unfortunately, its adherents are fanatical and intolerant, as well as bloodthirsty – the infidels are always second class citizens to them, subjects that have to be taxed more than their brothers and sisters in faith. When they are the “second class” in actuality, they become deceptive (Taqiyya), so how can we trust them? This is the clash of cultures.

    1. @ ADD, QUESTION: How many people do you think actually took time out of their busy day to read the thesis you have posted? I know I did not.

  9. @Add: Seldom has so much been written that reveals so little. Why don’t you do your readers a favor and boil down your material two a couple of pithy assertions? At any rate, thanx for the history lesson.

  10. Islam imposes the Sharia Law…a Law which they claim, came from God…Women are just properties of their husbands. You cannot marry without a Dowry…so people who are rich, can have many wives. People who are poor, cannot marry. Since they have no money to buy a wife.

    Religious Police imposes every Muslim to pray, when it is time to pray. Torture is prevalent in Islamic society. Cutting of heads is still a form of execution…It is an anachronistic belief in our 21st century. Remove the Politics of Oil…Islam will surely be weakened. Technical People are busy working for the replacement of Oil or other fossil fuels as energy sources…this will advance our civilization, for sure…

  11. Those Muslim Suicide Bombers , like those World Trade Center murderers, who killed innocent people; believed that if they kill non believers) Infidels. They are “martyrs” and go directly to Paradise, with 72 Virgins , as rewards.

    Sunni Muslims and Shiite Muslims kill , also each other, like in Iraq…

  12. Women cannot be educated in “Taliban-like Muslim” religious ideology. This is the reason the Boko Haram Islamic faction in Nigeria; kidnapped 300 school girls. Until now, the school girls are not yet found…Recently, they attacked a village, and killed old people, who cannot run and flee…

  13. “Counting coup” could be something as simple as touching an enemy with a stick in battle or taking something from him and escaping.

    This is not applicable to fundamentalist terrorism, no matter how they put it.

  14. It is not the religion, it is those who twist it for their own gains. That is true of ANY religion. The Qua-ran is no more violent than the Bible or the Tora.Exodus 32:27-29, 2 Chronicles 25:12, 1 Kings 20:28-30, Deuteronomy 3:3-6, 1 Samuel 15:3,8, Hosea 13:16 are but a few passages of the Old Testament which are extremely violent some even promoting genocide as “God’s will”.

    Christianity was used to justify slavery in the US from its inception to its downfall. Lawmakers cited the Bible as proof that “slaves” were only “3/4 humans” and this gave them the justification to treat humans as slaves for over 400 years. Does that make Christianity a violent religion? No! It shows that ANY religion or doctrine can be twisted into convincing (manipulating) people into doing horrible acts in the name of their God… If Islam, in and of itself, was as evil as people here are saying, then I (by all accounts) should be dead already since every Iraqi and Jordanian I had working for me would have surely killed me in the name of Allah. Right? Its not the religion!

    1. It can be argued, however that the Christian biblical accounts of violence were records of ancient history, not commandments to Christians, whereas the Quran, like Quran 2:191-192, are actual phrases that can be interpreted to give license for killing.

      I’m working with arabs too, and ofcourse they won’t kill me, because as long as Islam is above any other religion there would be peace.. It is an imperialistic religion that wants to expand territory and power..

  15. Unfortunately their is no middle ground here. Political correctness is just a polite way of saying that:

    In public places, you do not discuss:1) SEX 2)Politics 3)Religion. JUST DO NOT DO IT.

    This is ingrained in every person I have ever met at an early age.Disregarding this maxim is the surest way to start a fight,incite a murder or lead to a riot or even civil war or WAR of any type. For proof of this see the history books under ‘CRUSADES’.

    Reading this article it led me to think that the author seems to want to start a fight of some sort.HINT: There is no way to discuss these things in public,with strangers and not have things spiral into an argument, there just is not.

    It is one reason for the rise of secularism and the Western belief of separation of church and state.Worship whomever you want,but keep it to yourself. If you do not understand this: be prepared to put up your ‘DUKES’.

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