Saturday, 27 May 2017

Sentimentality as a Response to Islamic Terror is a Symptom of Our Denial

They must have spiked the water cooler at the Guardian with ecstasy in the days following the Manchester terror attack, judging by the effusive sentimentalist outpourings that were offered as an antidote against, god forbid, the British people feeling a bit angry that some of their children were blown up by a young man who held in contempt his country of birth that had given his parents refuge and financial assistance. There seems to be a fear on the liberal left spectrum that if we allow any anger to be expressed whatsoever this will somehow trigger every white liberal's inner far right thug and before you know it once tolerant and right-thinking Guardian readers will be running amok punching decent and innocent random brown skinned people in the head up and down Manchester's famous curry mile.

George Monbiot's piece in the Guardian the day after the attack, encouraged readers to focus on how humans really are a caring and affectionate lot and that we should dwell on this instead of on the carnage in Manchester. George's article read like advice from a very inappropriate grievance counselor urging us to suppress our righteous anger whilst telling us all, 'Never mind  those dead children with their limbs severed off. Let's all hold hands and sing Kumbaya.' There really is an avid determination among some of the liberal/left media to try and deny and distract us from the extent of the threat from Islamic extremism, even when it's exploding right in front of our eyes.

Owen Jones seemed to be competing with George Monbiot in who could pack the most saccharine drivel in a to Guardian column on the same day. Just like George, Owen wanted us to focus on nice things instead of the murder of children and so his article was replete with cultural references about the north of England and cliches about how Mancunians are very chatty should you encounter one at a bus stop.

Instead of focusing on the religious nutters in our midst, Owen tried to mollify us by evoking pleasant memories of the TV soap Coronation Street and the music of Mancunian bands Oasis and The Smiths. Ironically, the former lead singer of the Smiths, Morrissey, wasn't in the mood to focus on the upsides of being a Manc and voiced some opinions very much at odds with the left wing sensibilities of George and Owen. To whatever extent one agrees or disagrees with what Morrissey said, surely getting angry is a more appropriate response to the mass murder of innocent civilians rather than rabbiting on about soap operas and long split up rock bands.

On the day after the attack, a vigil was held in Albert Square in Manchester, where the poet Tony Walsh encouraged the crowd to 'chose love' , which might make some of us feel all warm and fuzzy inside, but there are no amount of  twitter hashtags and facebook solidarity posts and 'I Love MCR' billboards that will thwart the next Islamist who is somewhere in our midst planning the next act of barbarity against Europeans. In fact, the media and large swathes of the European public are perfectly content in wallowing in self-congratulatory sentimentality instead of admitting that a large minority of the Muslim community among us are either willing to attack us, or have some sympathy for those that do, according to thorough research carried out by Trevor Phillips for Channel 4 in 2016.

Not only do much of the media, our politicians and the general public not wish to countenance the fact that there are large numbers of radicalised Muslims in our midst, they also seem to want to deny that radical Islam has anything whatsoever to do with Islam, as Mayor of Manchester, Andy Burnham did in the days following the Manchester attack.  There seems to be a strange double standard here with regards to Islamic terrorism, as opposed to the terrorism of the defeated IRA. No one ever insisted that IRA terrorists weren't really Irish, or that their murderous campaign had nothing to do with Ireland. The vast majority of Irish people north and south opposed the IRA, being Irish myself, I can assure you though that the IRA definitely had something to do with Ireland.

Owen Jones's aforementioned piece in the Guardian exemplifies this kind of willful denial when he states, "The hatred that drives someone to detonate themselves in a crowd of  children and teenagers at a concert is impossible to reason with, to quantify, to properly understand," and near the end of the article he contemplates "whatever twisted motive was used to rationalise" the attack, as if ISIS haven't been telling us time and time again their reasons for doing so. It's really very easy to understand if you are willing to do so.

The fact is Owen, that if you did your job effectively as a journalist, a simple google search with the words 'why do ISIS hate us' would bring you to several articles which link to the ISIS magazine 'Dabiq', issue number fifteen, page thirty, where they spell out in detail what motivates the very hatred that has you scratching your head in perplexity. Far from their contempt for us being "impossible to understand", anyone with an internet connection and basic literacy can discover in a matter of minutes what motivates Islamism's hatred for all of its opponents, whether they be infidels or the wrong kind of Muslim, who are in fact their biggest victims. And contrary to what many on the left think, ISIS spell out in very clear English that their primary motivation for attacking us is because our societies espouse liberal values and that foreign policy is a less important factor. Secular British Muslims like those at the anti-extremist think tank Quilliam and campaigner and author, Sara Khan, have been explaining what is fueling Islamism whilst many people on the liberal left spectrum refuse to listen to them and unjustly smear them as tools of the far right.

Owen Jones's article is indicative of the reluctance that many of my fellow liberals and those further along the left spectrum have in admitting that Islam has a problem with violent extremism because they mistakenly conflate criticism of a religious ideology with racism. This is why many liberals and others, instead of asking tough questions, or listening to what ISIS and other Islamist groups are telling us, would rather comfort themselves with candle lit vigils and vacuous platitudes like 'love conquers hate.'  Well, love didn't save Salman Tasser, the murdered secular Muslim former governor of Punjab in Pakistan from Islamist hatred back in 2011. Ask the Yazidi sex slaves captured by ISIS in Iraq after their fathers, mothers and brothers were murdered if they feel love came out on top when confronted with Islamist terror. And so on, and so on, and so on, the list of Islamism's victims is vast and ever expanding.  If love really is the conqueror that the mawkish insist, it doesn't seem to be making much of a dent in the constant flow of Islamist atrocities.

We are supinely acquiescing in this elevation of sentimentality over both justified anger and rational honest analysis to jihadis who want to slaughter us and our children. If the best we can do after each attack is to deny the true nature of the problem and mollify and suppress uncomfortable feelings and inconvenient truths with public gestures of sentimentality then we are already losing the fight against Islamist terror. We need to stand with the genuine moderate Muslims and fight back against the scourge of Islamism which is rampant in western societies.

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