Blame this on madness…not Muslims


THE news cycle moves so quickly now that often we learn of an event through other people’s reaction to it.

So it was when I arrived in Los Angeles to find my Twitter feed contorted with posts of fear and confusion.

I caught up with the sad malice in Woolwich and felt compelled to tweet in casual defence of the Muslim community who were being haphazardly condemned by a few people on my time line.

Lee Rigby

Horror … women try to help Lee Rigby

Perhaps a bit glibly (but what isn’t glib in 140 characters) I put: “That bloke is a nut. A nut who happens to be Muslim. Blaming Muslims for this is like blaming Hitler’s moustache for the Holocaust.”

As an analogy it is imperfect but I was frightened by how negative and incendiary the mood felt and I rushed.

I am not proposing we sit around trying to summon up cute analogies when Lee Rigby has lost his life in these horrific circumstances. I simply feel that it is important that our reaction is measured.

There is something about the arbitrary brutality, humdrum High Street setting and the cool rhetoric of the blood-stained murderer that evokes a powerful and inherently irrational response.

When I heard the word “beheading” I felt the atavistic grumble that we all feel.

This is inhumane, taboo, not a result of passion but of malice — ritualistic. “If this is happening to guiltless men on our streets it could happen to me,” I thought. Then I watched the mobile phone clip.

In spite of his dispassionate intoning the subject is not rational.

Of course he’s not rational, he’s just murdered a stranger in the street, he says, because of a book.

In my view that man’s severely mentally ill and has found a convenient conduit for his insanity — in this case the Koran.

In the case of another mentally ill and desperate man — Mark Chapman — it was The Catcher In The Rye.

This was the nominated text for his rationalisation of the murder of John Lennon in 1980.

I’ve read that book and I’ve read some of the Koran, and nothing in either of them has compelled me to do violence.

Perhaps this is because I lack the other necessary ingredients for extreme anti-social behaviour — mental illness and isolation, either economic, social or both.

After my Hitler tweet I got involved in a bit of back and forth with a few people who said stuff like: “The murderer said himself he did it for Islam.”

Although I wouldn’t dismiss what he’s saying entirely, I think he forfeited the right to have his views received unthinkingly when he murdered a stranger in the street.

Someone else regarding my tweet said: “Hitler’s moustache didn’t invent an ideology that sanctions murder.”

That is thankfully true but Islam, when practised by normal people, is not an advocacy for violence.

“People all over the world are killing in the name of Islam,” someone added.

But this is the most tricky bit to understand.

What I think is that all over our country, all over our planet, there are huge numbers of people who feel alienated and sometimes victimised by the privileged and the powerful, whether that’s rich people, powerful corporations or occupying nations.

They feel their interests are not being represented and, in many cases, know their friends and families are being murdered by foreign soldiers.

I suppose people like that may look to their indigenous theology for validation and to sanctify their — to some degree understandable — feelings of rage.

Comparable, I suppose, to the way that homophobes feel a prejudicial pang in their tummies then look to the Bible to see if there is anything in there to justify it. There is — a piddling little bit in Leviticus.

The main narrative thrust of The Bible though, like most spiritual texts including the Koran is: Be nice to each other because we’re all the same.

When some football fans smash up shops and beat each other up that isn’t because of football or football clubs.

It’s because loads of white, working-class men have been culturally neglected and their powerful tribal instincts get sloshed about in riotous lager carnivals.

I love football, I love West Ham. I’ve never been involved in football violence because I don’t feel it’s my only access to social power.

Also, I’m not that hard and I’m worried I’d get my head kicked in down the New Den.

What the English Defence League and other angry, confused people are doing and advocating now — violence against mosques, Muslims, proliferation of hateful rhetoric — is exactly what that poor, sick, murderous man, blood-soaked on a peaceful street, was hoping for in his desperate, muddled mind.

The extremists on both sides have a shared agenda, cause division, distrust, anger and violence.

Both sides have the same intention. We cannot allow them to distort our perception.

The establishment, too, is relatively happy when different groups of desperate people point the finger at each other as it prevents blame being correctly directed at them.

Whenever we are looking for the solution to a problem we must identify who has power. By power, I mean influence and money.

The answer is not for us to move further from one another, crouched in opposing fortresses constructed from vindictive words.

We need now to move closer to one another, to understand one another.

If we can take anything heartening from this dreadful attack it is, of course, the actions of the three women — it’s always women — that boldly guarded Lee Rigby’s body as he lay needlessly murdered.

These women looked beyond the fear and chaos and desperation and attuned instead to a higher code. One of virtue, integrity and strength.

To demonstrate defiance in the face of this sad violence we must be loving and compassionate to one another.

Let’s look beyond our superficial and fleeting differences.

The murderers want angry patriots to desecrate mosques and perpetuate violence.

How futile their actions seem if we instead leave flowers at each other’s places of worship.

Let us reach out in the spirit of love and humanity and connect to one another.

Perhaps we will then see what is really behind this conflict, this division, this hatred — and make that our focus.

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  • carlos

    You would do well to read the Koran and what it advocates. I have. Twice. And it advocates in any number of places the death or enslavement of the infidel. It also handily reduces women to chattel, and in a twisted way makes any moral “failure”on the part of women a wonderful opportunity to vent equally twisted revenge upon them.
    This mans’ insanity is merely an overt expression of the madness inherent in the Koran, slowly winding its way across the earth, almost invisible until ready to strike.

    • Mohamed Elkhateeb

      I’m deadly sure that you have never red the Koran.

    • Mohamed Elkhateeb

      Why the majority of Muslims are not murderers?
      From What Koran you get the idea that the Koran advocates killing people and treating the women as a chattel?
      Why millions of Christians worldwide and thousands of American soldiers in Iraq and Afghanistan have turned to Islam?
      When you find the answers to the previous questions, you can know whether Koran is the final book from the God or a book written by a human to take people away from the right way .

      • carlos

        My dear Mohamed, I need only watch the behavior of the members of the Islamic State and how they treat women, Christians, Yazidi’s, Kurds and even some fellow Muslims. I can only conclude this is Islam in action, especially since no other Muslims repudiate their actions. The Koran says that the Kaffir pay the jizya, convert, or die, Is this not true? Good wishes to you, sir.

  • Peter Aremone

    If that’s what you got out of reading the Koran, either :

    1) You haven’t read the book at all or fully & are hence lying.
    2) You are too scared to say it is a hateful book & are hence an intellectually dishonest coward.
    3) You have a sinister agenda to defend the book, in which case you are a dangerous bigot.

  • abca

    Let us take a example: christian and muslim Arabs share the same genes. They speak the same language and share the same history and cultural background, but wait, here ends all the similarities. Lets take a deeper look. Christian arabs are well educated,mostly speak more than 3 different languages (arabic, english and french). Their children try to reach higher education. They are open for modern ideas and are mostly friendly to other cultures and religious groups. They also treat their women better and with respect (no honour killings). In comparsion, the muslims are lightyears away from the christian way of live of their arab brothers. Lebanon was in the 50ies a very modern middle east state with Beirut as called the Paris of the Middle East and a christian population of 70%. Today you can call Lebanon a failed state with a very fragile peace between all the groups in there and the majority of the christian population left their country. Hesbollah is a state in state on the southern borders of Lebanon. Take a look, chaos, murder, sorrow, tears and pain in every muslimic country. Gays are hanged, jews, christians and bahai are persecuted and sometimes killed, women are without rights. Black skinned people are treated like people second class and slavery is common in wealthy, rich Arab families. Children marry old pedophile men and no one cares. Because the Koran is not a holy book. It is a hell(y) book made by a warmonger, thief, murder, pedophile and rapist, who had teached his follower to copy his way of live. Why are christian Arabs in comparsion to muslimic Arabs the better ones? Think about it.

    by the way, in the western world we have the threat of a lebanonisation. England, Belgium,Netherland and France has a very strong muslimic population. It could end like it ended in Lebanon.

    • Proud_to_be_American

      Don’t forget America. In recent months, they have been scurrying across the mexican border, some caught and abandoned prayer rugs in the desert!

      • anObserver

        I am glad that Americans are on the receiving end from the folks following the ‘Religion of Peace’. For the last 50 years, the American people have armed (‘arms aid’) rogue Islamic nations like Pakistan. Even interceded on their behalf in wars (US sent its 7th fleet to the Indian coast – to force Indians to stop pushing back the Pakistani army). The US openly supported the Islamic military regime of Pakistan that killed at least Half a Million Hindus & Muslims in East Pakistan – in1971. Americans should learn to like Islam!

    • Mohamed Elkhateeb

      Muslim scholars have lighted up all the ways of science in the Middle Ages, while Europe was mired in the dark and what the Muslims in now is the product of colonialism which lasted for hundreds of years and have been controlling the existing regimes in the Arab countries to the present day.