Sunday, July 10, 2005

Enablers

Since the London bombing on Thursday, there have been a lot of comments to the effect of, 'We all know that the bombers were not proper Muslims -- and of-course regular Muslims have nothing to do with what happened.'
To me, this indicates, alarmingly, that although the Brits are being very good about carrying on with their lives as normal and stating that they are 'not afraid,' they are not yet ready to confront the true root causes of this war (together with perhaps a majority of people in the West). The claim that the bombers were not 'proper Muslims' goes to break the connection they have with Islam, for politically correct reasons -- in order to avoid painting the rest of the Muslim community with the extremists' brush. You may argue that the bombers are misinterpreting Islam, but their actions are religiously motivated / justified / encouraged, and without recognizing this, we have no hope of ever truly understanding our enemies.
The claim that 'regular Muslims have nothing to do with what happened' is only partially true. Yes, the bombings were carried out by a small number of people, no one else is technically or legally responsible for their actions, and I am sure the great majority of Muslims in this country do not support terror. However, they do have responsibility in one very important sense. Muslim extremism flourishes because it is allowed to, in mosques, in the Muslim press, in the Muslim community. As long as there are no Muslims standing up and saying, 'This is a misinterpretation of Islam! We will not tolerate such preaching and such values in our midst!', and meaning it, they are enablers. So far, the Muslim community, as far as I know, has allowed these extremists to exist on their margins without objection, and in fact with their passive support and agreement, out of fear, conformity or perhaps because they support some of their ideas. When there is a strong core of Muslims actively working to rid their institutions of these extremists and denounce their ideas, they can claim truthfully that 'regular Muslims have nothing to do with what happened.'

UPDATE: Groan.... The Guardian asks, "Or are we doing British Muslims a disservice by associating these people with Islam at all? Perhaps they should instead be described as extremists or criminals."

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