When we give in to fear and bigotry, the extremists win
For Metro I am currently in London, England, and the ripples from the Paris massacre are still being felt in this enormous city. It was all the more biting for me as our eldest daughter lives in Paris. Thank God she’s okay, but one of her friends was shot in the arm. Proximity and love make it all so grotesquely real.
So, however, do the responses; especially when they are thoughtless, reactionary and soaked in rhetoric.
The mood here is that if we are to defeat these gargoyles of immorality, we must maintain our cultural superiority. And that culture consists of tolerance, religious pluralism, gay and women’s rights, the rule of law and the acceptance of the stranger. To compromise on this would be to allow ISIL to win.
Yet within moments of the attack, not only social media but mainstream newspapers were calling not just for severe responses against ISIL — which is entirely justified — but warning against anybody perceived as a threat. Namely: Muslims and migrants.
The truth, however, is that the overwhelming majority of Muslims not only detest ISIL but are its first victims. As for migrants, the very reason many of them are fleeing is to escape Islamist barbarism. That feeling is strong in London, but I’m not so sure it’s the case across the Atlantic.
As for increasing the military campaign against the terror group — and perhaps we have to do so — we should also remember that it was the Gulf War, the western coalition’s invasion of Saddam’s Iraq, that destabilized the region and led to the very anarchy we now see. If you doubt me, think back to the situation before that campaign took place.
So the West is hardly free of blame in all this, and to now see armchair warriors writing bellicose columns is nauseating. Every time we make a sweeping statement about Islam, call on borders to be closed or call for migrants to be treated like potential terrorists, we play into the hands of ISIL and empower the very people we claim to oppose.
I have written an entire book about the persecution of Christians by Islamic extremists, and am not some naive fool who doesn’t understand how the Muslim faith can be twisted. But I also know true Islam and true Muslim people.
As a submachine-guncarrying British cop said to me just hours after the massacre, ”These bastards have to be stopped.” His name was Mohammad.
The West is hardly free of blame in all this, and to now see armchair warriors writing bellicose columns