On one of the darkest days in modern European history when innocent civilians were blown to bits by Islamic extremist nutters I turned on Ireland's TV3 to listen to a discussion hosted by the journalist Vincent Browne. I am glad I tuned in because I was under the mistaken impression that the Brussels attacks, along with the Paris attacks, the Madrid Attacks, 7/7, 9/11 and the daily barbarities committed in the middle east were the fault of the people who decided to actually murder their fellow human beings. It turns out I was wrong. It's actually the fault of the west. Of course it is. We are too blame for everything after all. How could I have not remembered after all those Chomsky books I read at University?
One of the panel, Ali Selim, a purportedly moderate Muslim from the Islamic Cultural Centre in Dublin did condemn the Brussels attacks, but he then negated this condemnation by going on to blame everybody but the bombers for their actions. Vincent Browne, acting as what seemed to me like devil's advocate, posited a far left interpretation of the Brussels attacks in which young European Muslims marginalised by high unemployment and a hatred for societies that have supposedly excluded them end up joining Islamic extremist groups out of a sense of frustration and so that they can have a purpose. Unemployment and marginalisation is high for non-Muslim youth also, but they don't blow civilians up at airports, instead some of them join boxing clubs or do volunteer work in Oxfam whilst others take up substance abuse to pass the time. However, no one thought of making that point to Ali Selim who fully agreed with the far left interpretation that Vincent Browne put to him. This is actually very insulting to all those young unemployed Muslims across Europe who don't support or sympathise with extremist violence. According to the narrative of Ali Selim and his far left sympathisers, all young unemployed Muslims that live in working class neighbourhoods are potential suicide bombers. I hope someone calls him out on his 'Islamophobia' because he is insinuating that all unemployed young Muslims in disadvantaged communities are the type of people you should never sit next to on public transport or hold their rucksack whilst they tie their laces. Apparently, the minority of young Muslims who turn to terrorism have no agency of their own and no free will. Anyway, this interpretation, or excuse call it what you will, doesn't explain the large number of western born and raised middle class Muslims with third level educations who have gone to the middle east to fight with the Islamic State.
Here's an alternative interpretation of the Brussels attacks that wasn't offered on the programme. The people who carried out the attacks in Brussels and in Paris and who kill more of their fellow Muslims than the west have ever done with it's disastrous foreign policy interventions are following a particular version of Islam. This version of Islam is called Islamism, which is a desire to spread and impose a far right totalitarian Islamic state upon the entire world. Jihadism is the use of violence to spread Islamism. Thankfully, Islamism and Jihadism are not supported by all Muslims, but a sizeable number of Muslims do support Islamism making it a problem for the entire planet and an absolute disaster for peaceful Muslims, or Muslims in persecuted sects, as well as for Christians and my fellow non believers in the middle east. This Islamist Jihadist version of Islam is based on a plausible literal interpretation of both the Koran and Haddith which instructs Muslims to conquer non-believers and submit them to the will of Allah. Yes, there are other passages in the Koran that contradict the violent passages and thankfully peaceful Muslims focus on these , but none the less, the reason that Islamic fundamentalism exists is because a literal reading of the Koran and Haddith leads a sizeable number of Muslims to the conclusion that killing unbelievers on the path to creating a global Islamic state is sanctioned by the creator of the universe.
However, the problem with the interpretation that I have just posited is that it is 'Islamophobic' according to Ali Selim. First of all I do not accept the term 'Islamophobia' because it is used by Islamists and the far left to stifle any criticism of far right Islamism. I am opposed to anti-Muslim bigotry against individual Muslims, but I am very fearful of any version of Islam that promotes violence or peresecution against nonbelievers, gay people, apostates, Christians, freethinkers and Sufi and Ahmadiyya Muslims. Ali Selim pointed out that by even referring to Jihadist terrorists as Jihadist terrorists or calling them Islamists only promotes 'Islamophobia' because these terrorists have nothing to do with Islam. However, this contradicted his view that marginalised young Muslims are turning to such groups because they are persecuted in Western societies. It is not possible to say that there are no Muslims in ISIS or other Jihadist groups and then in the next breath claim that the west is driving Muslims in to extremist groups. One minute he is claiming that members of ISIS are Muslims when he wants to portray them as victims, but as soon as they commit an atrocity he says they are not Muslims and anyway it's all the fault of the west. This argument isn't consistent with logic or reality. The even more infuriating thing was that not a single person on the panel called him out on his bullshit, in fact they all agreed with him. As the late Christopher Hitchens said, "Ladies and gentlemen, look how far the termites have spread."
TV3 and Tonight with Vincent Browne should be ashamed of themselves allowing a man with links to the Islamist Muslim Brotherhood, which the UK have considered banning because of their ambiguous views on extremism, to have free airtime to spout his propaganda without a single opposing voice. Over thirty people were murdered by religious maniacs in Brussels and there should have been someone on the panel whose solidarity and sympathy lay with the victims and who refused to buy in to the 'Kill us-we deserve it' narrative of the far left.