Evil must be denounced, for sure. But define it carefully. Otherwise just wipe us all out.
This morning on The Independent website, I read about Australian Senator Jacqui Lambie, an up and coming rising star of the political scene there, who was reported as making such statements as Sharia Law ‘obviously involves terrorism,’ and ‘It’s about time we faced the fact that these maniacs and depraved humans will not stop committing their cold-blooded butchery and rapes until every woman in Australia wears a burka and is subservient to men.’
Funny that. I recall myself, just minutes earlier (along, no doubt, with the 2bn other Muslims on this planet) wondering precisely when we were going to get all of Australia’s women to cover up.
In fact I was actually contemplating what writing I had to catch up on for MotoringME.com, whether the cat wanted feeding or needed to go do its business, and if the kids wanted to stay in and play video games or go to the mall this Eid holiday day. Sorry, that’s all pretty banal and very unfanatical, but there you go.
I try to avoid posting anything to do with religion or politics – yeah, I keep saying that, and keep failing to stick to the resolution – however hearing myself described as a maniac and depraved human, as well as a butcher and a rapist, rather made my blood boil.
And that right there, is a reason why sweeping generalisations are a massive mistake. It’s not about political correctness or curtailing free speech. It’s about those in authority and/or with credibility carelessly saying stupid stuff, that just ends up fanning the flames of hatred through propagating and legitimising ill-perceived prejudices and stereotypes.
The world is not divided into Muslims and non-Muslims. The world is made up of people – and people are very many shades of grey – and these shades are not necessarily influenced by race, religion, age or sex. More likely the motivating factors are cultural, political, social, psychological and socio-economic – not to mention greed, powerlust, corruption, vengeance and sheer irrational enmity.
As ever religion has nothing to do with it, it is as much a victim as it is a tool. I believe that my faith does not compel me to go out and kill or convert, but to live a pious, peaceful life, to strive for the betterment of myself and my loved ones, to help those in need, to be productive, to contribute something to the here and now, and to try to be happy. Much the same as you and just about most ordinary, sane people in the world want, I suspect.
But evil does exist in the world. Those that are better must denounce and try to stop those that are worse and do bad things. Of this there is no doubt. And I, along with all right-minded people, Muslim or not, utterly denounce groups such as ISIS, Al Qaeda, Boko Haram and countless others committing atrocities, oppression and horror under the false umbrella of religion.
But tarnishing an entire creed of people with the same brush in order to try and make a bold statement is desperate and dangerous. There has to be more intelligent and articulate approaches, than risking a widening of a chasm of social chaos that will ultimately create more distrust at the least, and incendiary hate and violence at its worst.
The fight against intolerance and extremism, wherever it exists, in whatever form, must be championed and fought on all fronts and by us all. Every weapon at the disposal of the forces of logic, sense and reason must be employed no matter how weak or strong: speaking out, peace marches, tact, economics, diplomacy, and yes, soldiers and missiles if necessary.
But the bludgeoning approach of indiscriminately turning all Muslims into the bogeymen, that’s one very precariously short step from religious ethnic cleansing. As we know the human race has been down that route several times, and it never ends well, and the irrepressible vile stench of guilt lingers for a very long time indeed.
So less of the ill-considered rhetoric please, and for humanity’s sake, let reason and common good prevail.