Islamic Extremism, Islamic Grievances, and America- All or Nothing?

US and Them?

By “us” I mean us in the literal sense, the whole Western Judeo Christian culture and specifically the U.S. of A.  As of now we are still the leaders of that world in politics and culture (for better or worse).  But as events and history have proven we are certainly not a monolith.  The last time we, all of the Western culture, agreed on something,…. will be the first time.  Yes we are quite diverse.  Our roots are similar, but out paths and beliefs vary very widely.  Republicans certainly don’t want to be lumped with some liberals.  The French certainly do not want to be mistaken for the Spaniards.  And Canadians wear stickers on their backpacks on holidays with a maple leaf just to make sure no one will confuse them for Yanks.  The Poles really, really, hate it when they are mistaken for Russians.  And Americans just want to be Americans, no one else.  We are all as different as mice and people really.  We might share 80% of genes with the rodents but you would not want to marry one.

So are Muslims any different from us?  Do they all share 100% of their genes?  Is a modernist American Muslim same as a Saudi Wahhabi Iman?  If no then why do we Americans paint them as the same.  Not all of us of course, but enough for it to be worrying and enough for Muslims to think we do as a people.  Are we at war with Islam, or Islamic extremism and terrorists?  Are the terrorists representative of a whole spectrum of Islamic societies?  Notice I wrote societies in plural.  We as a nation need to know the difference.  And we must, all of us, decide what are we fighting, Islam or the extremists.  President Bush, on a large number of occasions, stressed very strongly that our fight is not with Islam or Muslims of any nation, but with extremists and their supporters.  Yet we have forgotten about that.  Now I understand that in war (and this is a war, make no mistake about that) propaganda takes over, things get oversimplified, as its hard for a whole people to get behind a nuanced explanation, but.  Yes there is a but.

But by out simplistic thinking and actions we are proving the extremists correct in some cases.  And that is the last thing we should be doing.  When is paranoia going to stop and when will sanity prevail?  When we equal Islam to terrorism all we are doing is proving the extremists correct when they call us Crusaders.  They firmly believe that the West is out to destroy they faith and culture.  That not only are we corrupting Muslims, but we really want to destroy them.  And when they see a bunch of idiots wanting to burn their holy book that gives them fuel.  When they see well intentioned, but clueless and misguided idiots protesting a mosque it also gives them fuel. Why do we do this?  Do so many of us really believe that 1.5 billion people are really out to get us?  Do we really think that all of 1.5 billion want to establish the Sharia all over the world?  Even those who listen to hip hop, and love out culture?  Even those serving in our military?  Even those whose family members were killed in terrorist attacks?

Why the hell do we lump them all in the same boat?  Muslims, like all people, have a right to disagree with our policies.  They have a right to disagree with our invasion of Iraq.  They do not have to like Israeli policies toward the Palestinians and out unquestioning support of said policies.  Muslims have a right to dislike the profanity and sex in our culture.  Hell many conservative Christians are not very fond of it either.  Many peace loving people took to the streets and protested our invasion of Iraq, most were not Muslims.  Many more dislike how the Israelis treat the Palestinians.  Those are real grievances.  Yet no one accuses (well no one sane, as I’m sure some have), those people of hating Israel and wanting it destroyed.  Or of being anti-American and supporting the terrorists just because someone thought that war is not such a great idea.

Yet when a Muslim does it we do accuse him of those things.  Why?  Now I get ignorance and lack of nuance in many.  But its not just that.  It goes beyond that.  Just as we don’t want to be accused for the things the French did in Algeria, the Sunni does not want to be accused of what some Shi’a did.  But no, we hear Islam and the red mist falls upon us.  We don’t see anything else.

Just how many really think that?

We start to deal in absolutes.  Like zealots we run around labeling everyone and everything.  And its wrong.  It is also counter-productive to our cause.  When we go out into the streets and protest a mosque (and no, it was not just one mosque in NY that Americans did not want built so spare me the “holy ground” drivel, I don’t buy it, cause unless you believe all of Islam is responsible then you have no argument, and if you do believe that then you are an idiot, so wrong again) what does some guy in Algeria see?  He sees Americans calling his faith evil and responsible for terrorism.  He sees himself being lumped with the terrorists.  And then we expect him to love us for it?

Are we insane?  We shit on their religion and then are surprised that many don’t like us?  Now don’t get me wrong.  Those who are Muslims and who lump all of the West or all of America in the same basket are just as wrong.  And nothing the terrorists claim, true or made up, excuses their actions, we were not responsible for 9-11 and all these bastards should be killed, the sooner the better.  But we can not run around and act like extremists ourselves and then expect the world to get that we have differences in our society when we see none in theirs.  And many who don’t particularly like us or disagree with our politics and policies do not necessarily want to kill us or establish an Islamic Caliphate of America.  People have different political opinions.  Yet every time some Muslim tries to give a nuanced explanation of 9-11 he is branded as an extremist who hates America.  Every time some Muslim (well most of them really) speaks out against Israel then he apparently supports Hamas and Hezbollah, hates Jews and wants Israel wiped of the map.  Some do, I’m sure.  And screw those, but most do not.  What most Muslims want is to live out their lives in peace, to be able to worship freely.  To cultivate their culture, to support and raise their children.  Sounds familiar?  Its what we want.  Yet we are becoming as paranoid as North Korea and Iran.  Every time someone speaks out with any criticism its “oh shit, they want to destroy us.”

And yes, there are many Muslim idiots out there who would like nothing better than to see the Great Satan destroyed.  Just as there are many idiots who view Muslims are the tools of the devil who will perish in hell unless they convert and accept Jesus Christ and their Lord and Saviour and who would love nothing else but to see Islam perish.  Fuck them.  All of them.  All are extremists, but most are like you and me, sane.  Just because, as some “Muslims” have sadly proven lately, one hides behind the cloak of faith, whether it is Christian, Jewish or Islamic faith, is does not excuse the shit they do.

Muslims or Extremists?

We have to stop letting lunatics speak for all of us.  We have to shut the extremists up.  All of us.  Muslims and Christians and Jews, and Atheists.  I write this to people of the West, but it applies equally to Muslims.  But I know the Westerners more.  I was born in Europe, I live in America.  This is my culture.  However, it makes me sad that while my culture professes to be enlightened and the best in the world it does not live up to its own standards.  We can’t run around claiming to be more open minded and tolerant than the Muslims while we do stupid shit like protesting mosques.  We can’t be running around and comparing ourselves to Saudi Arabia, because everyday we run around and claim we are better than them.  Its that simple.  Now some of the idiots may have forgotten them.  But I still hold American ideals high on my list of ideals.  Just as much as I do not want an Islamic Caliphate in New York, I also do not want a Christian theocracy.  I want to be able to choose about going to church, about which movies to watch, about which books to read.  I don’t want some asshole telling me what to do just because he thinks he knows better.  That is un-American.

I want America to not only claim its the best, but to provide a shining example for all the world, not to be comparing itself to Saudi Arabia or Iran.  And if we are to be the best, we can’t run around calling Islam a religion of evil and extremism.  We certainly would not call Christianity that.  And just because its not ours, it does not make it all that different.  And just because they are not us, it does not make Muslims all that different from us.  We don’t have to love them all, we don’t have to convert, all we have to do is behave like Americans should.  Not as some communist would during the Cold War, because that would be un-American, and quite extremist.

EDIT: BTW all this Mosque controversy I think is artificial.  The plans for it came out about a year ago and no one had a problem with it.  But this year apparently its a bad thing?  Why?  Well I think its because 2010 is an important election year.  And that’s it, stirring controversy for the sake of politics.  Just like the Bush administration used to raise the threat level every couple of weeks when elections were approaching.  But after the elections there was hardly a threat.  And it worked, it scared America.  And this does the same, the religious right will certainly be more stirred up now that they know that Muslims want to build a terror headquarters in Lower Manhattan.  No I am not some conspiracy freak, though I am that cynical.  There were threats all the time during the Bush administration, but they chose to publicize them at only certain times.  The mosque controversy will die down after November.  That’s how politics works sadly.


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6 CommentsLeave a comment

  1. I’ve read your above comments. Here’s my “take on” the main theme of your essay: IF it’s true that the “hidden agenda” of Islam is world domination–is the implimentation of their Koran-based culture (replete w/the barbarity of stonings, beheadings, etc.) upon all the world…then those who are opposed to the mosque, and to Islam in general, are not “idiots,” as you call them–but they are the modern version of….was it Paul Revere? with his, “The British are coming!”-warning. You ought to check to see WHY many non-muslims dread what Islam MAY… really be.

    • I am an non Muslim Steve. And it would really be a HUGE “IF” to be honest. One must really, really, buy into a conspiracy theory that 1.5 billion Muslims are out to get us. And sorry, but that sounds as insane as the Islamic extremists’ claims that the West wants to wage war on Islam and destroy their culture. And frankly it makes them no different than those lunatics. The only reason non-Muslims oppose Islam as a faith is because of baseless paranoia and religious competition because some Christians fear Islam. Is this kind of thinking much different than the religious conflicts of old? Not really. But I thought everyone agreed that the inquisition was a bad thing. Where is the famous American tolerance? Where is the idea of innocent till proven guilty?
      I am not saying that there are no Muslims who want what you claim, there are thousands of them. Just as there are thousands of Christians who would love nothing better than to see the religious competition wiped off the face of the earth. But a whole people and a whole faith can not and should not be paying the price for a few lunatics. Its that simple. When its your own doing something bad you do not put blame on yourself and the whole group you belong to. Why is it different when its an outsider? When a priest molests a child we don’t claim the whole of Catholicism is evil. When some hypocrite preacher scams money or goes out and gets homosexuals hookers we don’t put blame on all Protestants. But when some idiot in a turban does something bad then its the whole of Islam? Paranoia is not a healthy state, neither is racism. And that is just what it is. We did not blame Catholicism for IRA bombings.
      Islam is younger than Christianity. 500 years ago Christianity was at a crossroads, it could have gone either way, it could have gone the violent fundamentalist route, or it could have evolved into what is should have been all along. A faith based on good principles. Islam is no different, its struggling to find its place in the modern world full of outside influences which are foreign to its teaching. it has yet to come to terms with the inevitable change. And some are revolting against said change. So we have lunatics who want to establish worldwide caliphate. Well Christianity is not much different, to this day there are those who oppose modern thought and science. They are fundamentalists. As are the lunatics who are fighting against our way of life. Reading selected passages from the Quaran and claiming that the whole of Islam wants to take over is as smart as using passages from the Bible to show what an evil religion that is. Its insane in fact. As i said, most Muslims don’t care for world politics, like most Christians, all they want is to feed and raise their kids in peace so they can have a better life than they did themselves.

  2. Hello,

    I am kind of bewildered to see something like this coming from a non-Muslim. Being an Afghan Sunni Muslim my self I can assure you that we are not out for world domination and we can co exist peacefully with mutual respect to each other. And a small bunch of lunatics don’t represent Islam. We need more people like you to bride the gap between us.
    I just loved you piece on Marx and communism. I cant hate them more 🙂

  3. Cheers Siddiq.

    I try not to fall into ignorant paranoia and look at thins logically. As I said, we are not all that different from each other once the veil of ignorance is removed.

    If you enjoyed the Commie bit, I did a two parter on why i hate them last year, have a look.

  4. I think i like Rlisu, I read your John O’shea, Evra and this extremist bit. I couldn’t agree more although i would like to add few things here:
    1.Perceptions of people can never be changed.
    2.Love of power is too much.
    3.Almost all religions have same basic and fundamental ideals and unfortunately, some people changed it for their selfish gain.
    4.Nice guys(People of all walks of life and different religions) finish last.
    Thank you for this article.

    • Thank you very much mate (will be following you on twitter). Glad you like the post.
      Sadly yes, perceptions become reality to people, no matter what the facts say. And yes, you’re pretty much spot on on all your points. What we have to do is fight the extremists on our sides and not let them speak and act in our name.

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