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TL;DR – Religion cannot be ignored as a cause of hate. Religion cannot get a free pass.
19. 06. 2017, on Monday morning, around 12:20 AM a terrorist has driven a van into pedestrians in London. The man intentionally rammed into worshippers attending Ramadan night prayers at the mosque. All of the casualties were Muslims.
This is truly a despicable attack as it was targeted at peaceful worshippers. Same as other terrorist attacks, victims turn out to be people who generally have nothing to do with current problems in the world – innocent bystanders.
Naturally, as you can imagine, social media immediately exploded, with both sides being quick to point out that not all Muslims are terrorists, not all Christians are terrorists, not all Christians are radicalized, etc., etc..
This somehow really, really, really seems to miss the entire point of discussion, because every “NOT ALL …” proclamation merely stops any further conversation and this is in nobody’s interest, really. The thing is – terrorism does happen. We as a species need to be able to figure out WHY. No, you do NOT know why. Some of the greatest minds in politics, philosophy, even science are NOT 100% certain WHY.
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So, you also cannot be 100% certain, if for any other reason, then because you do not have nearly the amount of information as politicians, philosophers or even journalists. You cannot assume that it’s because the Intervention of the West, you cannot assume that it’s because of the bombing, you cannot assume that it’s because of Religion, you cannot assume that it’s because of tribalism. Ok, maybe this does sound a bit too “extreme”, because you can have an opinion, of course. What is being said is that it’s probably wrong. It could be right, but that would be purely by chance, as, again, you do not have enough information to know. People who do have more information do not know.
That’s why a dialogue is required. That’s why the discussion is required. That’s why we cannot and should not leave any alley unexplored, any stone unturned. And by any, truly ANY stone must not remain unturned. Religious feelings are not as important. Feelings of national pride are not as important. Personal feelings and ego are not as important. Nothing is as important as finding out WHY.
This is why the “NOT ALL …” proclamations are harmful. OF COURSE NOT ALL …! But just because NOT ALL is true, that doesn’t mean NOT ANY is also true. Honestly, people seem just a little bit over sensitive and overly suspicious of the dialogue and that’s why they are quick to jump to “NOT ALL …”. It is understandable, that Muslims are afraid to be associated with ISIS, so that’s why they jump to “NOT ALL …”. It is also understandable that Christians are afraid to be associated with Witch Burners and people who shoot abortion-clinic doctors, so that’s why they jump to “NOT ALL …”
Is there really anyone in the “Western World”, including the far-right-wing nutjobs who think that ALL Muslims are terrorists? There is like 1.2 Billion Muslims in the World. If West would really think they were all terrorists, the World in which we live in would be much different. The point is – this thought that all Muslims are terrorists seems to be a Red Herring which distracts from the real question – Can Islam be used to inspire terrorism in SOME people?
To simply dismiss this question without even considering it, is naïve beyond comprehension. If again, we were to come back to Christianity, for which we KNOW from history that it has the ability to inspire some nasty behavior, it is clear that religious texts do possess this quality - to inspire extremists. If it can happen to Christians, it does not seem reasonable to say that each Muslim is immune to potential problems of Religion. Religion has the ability to segregate us and tribalize us and to give incentive to people to shoot doctors, to people to blow themselves up … Simply put, Religion cannot be ignored as a cause. That’s it.