I get it. I understand that there is much going on around the globe at the moment. Yet, I cannot help but feel that we’ve reached a very dangerous point in the history of the world’s interaction with the Muslim religion. A point where instances of violence inspired by the teachings of Islam are simply regarded as ‘the way things are’.
Admittedly the killing of French teacher Samuel Paty (16 October), after he showed cartoons of Muhammad in his classroom, made headlines around the world. Yet, the reality is that this outrage was not some kind of outlier. It was merely the visible tip of a very large iceberg.
In the time since Paty’s death (to cite but a few examples) the following happened:
• Throughout October – Afghanistan: Attacks perpetrated by the ‘Islamic State’ in Afghanistan’s Khorasan province leads to the death of 243 people and 339 injuries.
• 30 October – Nice, France: Churchgoers in Nice was attacked by a knife-wielding Tunisian ‘refugee’, with three people killed. One was ‘virtually beheaded’ according to reports.
• 2 November – Vienna, Austria: A Muslim gunman opened fire near Vienna’s main synagogue, killing three people and wounding twenty three.
• 10 November – Cabo Delgado, Mozambique: Muslim raiders, linked to ISIS, killed 50 villagers in Mutaide, Mozambique as part of their ongoing efforts to turn the Cabo Delgado province into an Islamist stronghold. In actions strongly reminiscent of those of the Taliban, and surely designed to sow maximum terror, they used the town’s football pitch as an execution ground.
• 11 November – Jeddah, Saudi Arabia: Several people are injured during an attack on foreigners marking Remembrance Day.
The sad reality is that a similar list can be drawn up for just about any two week period that you might care to pick. Yet, who notices anymore? The fact is that we seemed to have slipped into a kind of ‘new normal’ where unceasing violence inspired by the Qur’an and hadiths are just part of the background noise.
We cannot simply make our peace with this. Yes, there are many other fish to fry but the reality is that we either ignore what is going on (and place an intolerable burden on upcoming generations) or we take serious steps to understand what is behind all the violence and do our best to deal with it by challenging Islam in the battle of ideas.
Ps. For much more about the links between Islamic teaching and violence, please see my book ‘Nothing to do with Islam – Investigating the West’s Most Dangerous Blind Spot’