As an atheist, let me start by saying all religion is silly and unnecessary in my mind. All of it. Be it New Age or Christianity or Islam or Satanism; it’s all cultish and feeds human’s innermost desire to quell their fears of the unknown, lessens the harsh reality of life and of the inevitability death, and feeds the innate need for justice in this world.
I will, however, defend any person’s right to be freely religious — so long as their religion doesn’t spill onto my front lawn.
Yes, the terrorists are Islamic, but Islam is not terrorism.
I worry for good Muslims after the attack on Charlie Hebdo in France. The air has the familiar scent of Islamophobia that was so pungent post-9/11 and I hate to see the people of France fall prey to their fears.
Fear and panic will ultimately lead down a more difficult road.
For example, after the 9/11 attacks, several people of Arab-descent were targeted in America for retribution attacks. The people targeted in these attacks had zero to do with terrorism, some were not even Muslim. Some were gunned down and murdered; women were targeted because of their hijabs and the people who carried out these attacks on innocents essentially became terrorists themselves.
In fact, the FBI reported a 1,700 percent increase in hate crimes against Arabs in the months and years after the attack.
The Christian right had their holy war, their Tenth Crusade as it was dubbed, and Bush was at the helm.
In the days following the attacks after 9/11, Bush said:
This crusade, this war on terror is going to take a while.[youtube http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=7TRVcnX8Vsw?rel=0]
After the attacks on Charlie Hebdo, attacks were waged against mosques in France. In one attack, people launched grenades at a mosque in Le Mans, west of Paris, in which one exploded. In other attacks, shots were fired randomly at mosques — a chilling warning that Muslims in France are no longer safe. No one has been killed as of yet, but if history is doomed to repeat itself, more needless death is coming.
Muslim women who wear head dress have been warned not to leave their houses out of fear for their safety.
Abdallah Zekri, president of the National Observatory Against Islamophobia said:
Anyone who associates this criminal act with Islam is mistaken. It is an act of terrorism. The perpetrators of this act should be arrested, condemned and eradicated.
It’s imperative that the people of France listen to that message.
In the months following the terrorist attacks on America in 2001, we saw security ramp up, we saw Congress hastily pass far-reaching bills that essentially undermined the Constitution’s Fourth Amendment for illegal search and seizure and it destroyed privacy for the average citizen as we knew it.
War was waged in the coming months, and as a direct result of the fanaticism, we’re still at war, because we’re learning a hard lesson that ideas can’t be fought with guns and grenades. The U.S. is only pulling out of Iraq and Afghanistan because America has abandoned, not accomplished, it’s goal of ridding the middle east of terrorists.
If ISIS is any indicator, the violence America brought to that region of the world has only fueled the fires of hatred that burn within people who have lost family members and homes to war. Violence begets violence.
America also made the mistake of sending the war packaged in a Bible. It became a “Christian Crusade” which provided never-ending fodder for recruiters to terrorist organizations, because a religion is more easily justifiable to defend. It’s easy to find pious recruits in this corner of the world, and so our efforts to halt terrorists have multiplied the problem.
As Reza Aslan explains, there are regional quarrels that not all Muslims condone; groups like ISIS and AQ are just that. There are Muslims fighting against the fascist sects of Islam, and fighting ISIS, but by painting Muslims with the same brush, we’re hindering and silencing the voices of good people who need our help and support.
France is already known to have an adversity towards Muslims; the country has banned the burqa, so it will be interesting to see which course they take after this tragedy. Time will tell.