Saturday, 9 March 2013
Why Can't Islamic Terrorists Represent Islam?
Josh Russell: “These [terrorists] can’t be taken as representatives of Islam.”
“These terrorists can’t be taken as representatives of Islam.” Why? Why is that? Why can’t they be taken as representatives of Islam? Why shouldn’t they be taken that way? If this writer offers other “representatives of Islam”, why should I, and others, take them to be representative of Islam? Who would decide such an issue? How would such an issue be decided?
Presumably, this man, or others like him, would take the Muslim family of the BBC’s EastEnders as being truly representative of Islam. Or perhaps the women in the Vancouver Muslimah Feminist Lesbian Collective (which doesn’t as yet exist) really represent Islam. But why should I, or anyone else, take such Muslims as representatives of Islam? Perhaps, instead, they should be taken as being representative of how the secular West can influence Muslims in a positive and non-Islamic way. In that sense, they can hardly be representative of Islam at all.
So what about the average Muslim in the UK? Is he “representative of Islam” simply because he doesn’t plant bombs or he hasn’t got a long beard? In what way would he be representative of Islam? In any case, in all movements and religions only a minority of people are activists or are people who proselytise for the religion or ideology. The fact that most UK Muslims don’t plant bombs or proselytise on the streets means nothing. Actually, it does mean something. It means they are too busy earning a living or looking after their families to plant bombs or proselytise on the streets. It also means that there is a very good chance that they support, or at least rationalise and justify, the men who do plant bombs and proselytise in the streets. That is, the majority of UK Muslims who don’t plant bombs or proselytise in the street do support, or at least rationalise and justify, those other Muslims who do plant bombs and proselytise in the streets. Again, not every Muslim, or Nazi, or Communist, or member of the Conservative/Labour Party, can be an activist. That’s not how it works in politics and when it comes to ideological or religious activism.