Just your average run-of-the-mill knife attack? It seems like this is what authorities are trying to claim with the recent attack in Paris, France when a police employee killed four of his colleagues in a stabbing frenzy. Nothing to see here, just a ‘disgruntled employee’ doing his thing. Except, that the police let slip that said employee converted to Islam 18 months ago. This is just an irrelevant bit of local colour as far as the French media is concerned. No matter that a long list of converts to Islam had gone on to cause carnage for the sake of Allah in the past few years.
In each case we hear almost the same lines. Think back for a moment to every single ‘Good Boy/Girl Turned Jihadi’ story you’ve ever read or seen on television. What was the one constant in all of them?
Something like this perhaps?
• ‘He was just a regular guy but then he converted to Islam’
• ‘He used to hang out with the guys but then he started going to the mosque regularly’
• ‘She was not very devout but one day she started wearing a headscarf and broke off all relations with her friends’
Statements like these are significantly at odds with the prevailing discourse surrounding Islam in our society. We are constantly told from a variety of directions that Islam is a ‘religion of peace’ and that those who invoke it to justify violence misapply its essentially tolerant teachings. In response we have to ask: Why is it that converting to Islam, or becoming a more devout Muslim, so often lead to a burning hatred for unbelievers? Shouldn’t becoming more attached to a peaceful religion cause us to become more peaceful as a result?
No doubt those who are anxious to hold the ‘Islam means peace’ line will be quick to assure us that these stories are aberrations and that the very predictable trajectory to jihad followed by so many can be explained away by stating that those who follow this path do so based on misunderstanding the true nature of Islam. In response we have to ask: How is it that so many millions of people over the centuries have ‘misunderstood’ Islam in exactly the same way? Could it not be that there is something in the essential teaching of Islam that is motivating the actions of the jihadis?
In a sane society questions like these would be right at the top of the list when it comes to making sense of the recent events in Paris. In this particular case the question should also be asked if the recent article in the ISIS magazine Dabiq, calling for knife attacks in the west, played any role. Sadly, however, these questions are almost never considered. It is so much easier, in the short term at least, to stick our heads in the sand and repeat the well-worn Islam is a religion of peace mantra.
Is Islam a ‘Religion of Peace’? What if it is not? ‘Nothing to do with Islam – Investigating the West’s Most Dangerous Blind Spot’ by Peter Townsend. Get your copy today at: www.ntdwi.com