Terrorism is not a Muslim problem

Oscar To


Our great leader Prime Minister David Cameron recently gave a speech after it became clear that more people have defected from civilised modern Britain to join the Islamic state. His speech opened with how we need to stop blaming the state for failing and primarily focused on how Muslim communities need to, “Instead of endlessly pointing the finger at others, Muslim communities should face up to their own responsibilities.” His speech closed with a summary of what he believes,

“It is an Islamist extremist ideology one that says the west is bad and democracy is wrong that women are inferior and homosexuality is evil. It says religious doctrine trumps the rule of law and caliphate trumps nation state and it justifies violence in asserting itself and achieving its aims. The question is: how do people arrive at this worldview?”


‘Did I actually achieve anything?’ pondered the Prime Minster

This final question is what really sums up the entire speech; a rhetorical question that is clearly unanswered. It is with a great irony that Mr Cameron calls upon us not to blame the state because this is a Muslim problem that can only be solved by Muslims.

If we look across the pond to our good friends in the USA, we can see that they have also recently had a problem with an infamous shooting in Charleston caused by a white man. Note that while the Charlie Hebdo shootings were an act of terrorism caused by Muslim terrorists, this is just a bog standard shooting for our fellow Americans. It was not caused by Muslims, so it wasn’t a terrorist act. This is also probably why we haven’t seen President Obama come out to give a speech about how terrible all white people are, and how they should sort out their communities. It seems obvious that this must be an alienated individual who has found solace in a radical ideology that gives him a sense of belonging.

Why is it that when a person who is white is seen as an exception whilst a person who is a Muslim causes the vilification of a whole religion?

One reason is that when we talk a white person in this country, we are likely to know more white people and treat each person as an individual. Whereas for many of us, talking about any minority, whether it be by race, sexuality or even simply home town, we only have a few influences to compare it to. This can lead to the obnoxious, ‘Oh, I know someone from that town, I don’t suppose you happen to know that one person I know from that city?’ or to the more malign, ‘All Muslims must be terrorists.’

Whilst some of these viewpoints are simple circumstances of the people we happen to meet, others are more directly shot at us via the media we are exposed to. If your only exposure of Muslims is tabloids telling us about terrorists, then you’re probably going to believe that all Muslims are terrorists. If your only exposure to people on benefits is that they’re all lying cheats, or that GPs are overpaid, you’re probably going to believe that too. If you don’t think this affects you, try reading the Daily Mail for a few days. You’ll find yourself a lot more judgemental simply because your mind is exposed to these ideas.

However, there are also further undertones of discrimination in the language we choose to use. With usage of terrorist almost exclusively used for people who are not white, it makes us frame the actions of people in different contexts purely because of their skin colour. Terrorism is by no means an act purely committed by those that are not white; one needs only look at Northern Ireland.

What David Cameron has truly managed to achieve with his speech is simply a reaffirmation of the ‘British values’ he wants us to have; that it is okay to blame other people for problems and to leave things as they are. If the Prime Minister can make a speech like this which is so blatantly discriminatory and present it as the solution, who are we to blame?

It is time to stop buying into ‘divide and conquer’ politics that let us simply blame an easy to identify group as the problem. We need to stop judging other people on grounds such as religion, skin colour, earning potential, weight and a whole manner of other factors. We need to realise that if we exclude people, we should not be surprised when the tables turn and these people find a way to liberate themselves at our own expense. If our society does not care for everyone, how can we expect everyone to care?

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