At the beginning of this year I wrote a piece titled “2015: Year of the liberal or terrorist sympathizer?” Little did I know at the time that there was some amount of redundancy in that statement. The events of 2015 and the responses they got from many Liberals have shown that one can be both a Liberal and a Terrorist Sympathizer.
Let me be very specific in pointing out that I am alluding to terrorist attacks which have a religious ideological basis and not those that have strictly political motives e.g. the suicide bombings carried out by the Kurdistan Worker’s Party or PKK in Turkey. Time and time again we see liberal commentators being quick to point out a plethora of “root causes” for terrorism such as poverty, marginalization, oppression, etc. Very few however, would dare to mention the name of a religious ideology that may have something to do with these horrendous acts of organized violence e.g. Islam.
There are three main reasons why Liberals deliberately refuse to acknowledge religious ideologies when it comes to acts of terrorism:
- Some Liberals do not believe that religion can influence people to do violent things simply because the majority of followers of the major religions on the planet are NOT violent;
- Liberals are afraid of being grouped with the right-wing, who in the case of radical Islam are not afraid to mention “Islam” or “Muslims;”
- Liberals worry that narratives which include the name of a particular religion can serve as fodder for Radicals who may use it to recruit persons from the peaceful (normally) majority.
In the first instance, the false assumption that religion is the sole reason for terrorism is made. No one can seriously believe such a thing to be true. Surely it’s not the ONLY reason for committing terrorist acts, but let’s not be naïve in thinking that it has ABSOLUTELY NOTHING to do with it. It has SOMETHING to do with it. After all, how oppressed or poor do you need to be before you start throwing homosexuals off of rooftops or enslaving and raping women from minority religions? That had to come from somewhere right?
The second reason seeks only to illuminate the often rigid left-right bifurcation that exists in Western politics. While views coming from the far-right may seem to be overly blunt and simplified to the point where it is counterproductive, Liberals should not be afraid to lean towards the centre every now and again. Strict adherence to ideologies and schools of thought is what caused religious extremism in the first place. Let’s not be political extremists.
The last reason is perhaps the main reason why political operatives (President Obama included) absolutely refuse to mention the word Islam when referring to the current global Islamic insurgency. Former Islamic extremist Majid Nawaz makes known in no uncertain terms that by refusing to call the problem what it is really is, we are in fact doing the exact thing that we’re trying to avoid, which is alienating mainstream Muslims. This is due to the fact that most people don’t have a very good understanding of these kinds of issues, which are often very complex, and if we don’t say specifically what we’re talking about (Islamic extremism) then there is the danger that the average person will assume that Islam in general is the problem. The solution is to state exactly what we’re referring to, thereby separating and alienating it from the mainstream ideology, then undermine it.
I can only hope that as the discussion continues well into 2016, that Liberals hold true to the principles and philosophies that have guided them thus far and reassess their position on this matter. Let’s not forget that what is being fought here is not a battle of weapons, but ideologies.