Two words that go together pretty well it seems. We know all about Fox News, the Daily Mail, raving ignorant Islamophobes, and more calculated, erudite warmongers like "Evil" Bob Spencer. They're all out to get us by convincing the ever-manipulable mob that the beardies are out to blow up their buildings and eat their children. So begin the unofficial profilings, the back door constitutional amendments and the slick promotional campaigns for bigotry and barbarism in the name of the free...
Then we have it, this week. Someone makes something blow up in Norway and kills a lot of people. Everyone assumes it's a brutha. Murder = Muslim. Terrorism = Towelhead. Etc. Newspaper headlines trumpet the latest infamy of the Al Qaida international franchise of doom and yet again the right-wing editorials ring the patriotism bell, urging the masses to "support our boys" in Afghanistan or Libya or wherever, watch out for Pakis mumbling on the train, and cling on to their "values". More proof, more evidence, and more "enough is enoughs" over the lunchtime alco-pops: the beardies are coming to ruin our "way of life", ban smiling and burn our grandmothers.
Stand down though. It wasn't Beardy, it was a white supremacist Christian fundamentalist exercising his voice of protest through the media of lead and explosives. In fact, in some weird way, he appears to have been killing everyone because he hated Beardy so much. Perhaps that's the latest spin: if it wasn't for those pesky pig-kickers he would never have gone crazy enough to do it. Somehow, it's still down to the beardies. "Crazy" is an interesting word in this context though: I don't remember Usama bin Laden being described as having any mental disorders despite his public and proud confessions to genocidal murder. Why? Because that's what Muslims do. Then when you find out it was someone else, suddenly the language is of mental illness, not fringe pseudo-religious extremism. It's not even a terrorist attack any more, not even an "outrage". It's an "unfathomable act" of a "deranged" man.
A lot of these points about the premature conclusions of the Western media, and the sudden change in language, have already been made very eloquently elsewhere. Quite rightly, the obvious bias and tabloid pitchfork-shaking in the Evil Zionist West is getting called out. Good. But there's a problem. Something isn't being mentioned here. It's that it wasn't just the massed ranks of the Church of Medium Agnosticism who were looking for Beardy as soon as something went "bang". It was us. Team Makka. We all thought it was one of us wot dunnit too.
One of our esteemed blog sisters "Starry-Eyed" wrote about it here. Al Jazeera reported "suspected Al Qaida involvement" just as quickly as Fox News had. Analysts, sensible people, friends and colleagues, and most of all, Muslims, all jumped to the same conclusion, then tried to find an explanation. Was it because Norway has a small contingent of military personnel in Afghanistan? Was it because Norwegian companies are involved in the Iraq oil industry? (That one was a real stretch!) Was it because a Kurdish Al Qaida franchisee was prosecuted in Norway? Well, actually, no. It was a white, native, Norwegian-to-the-last-gene neo-Nazi with weird ideas about European Christianity and nationalism. But just like with the London nail bomber. Just like back in Oklahoma even, in the pre-September 11 world when we weren't even used to such things, it wasn't just the Evil Zionist West who pointed the finger straight at Beardy, right or wrong. It was all of us.
Why? Well here's the uncomfortable part. We do it because we know it's usually true. Now we can nit-pick about how this Christian extremist (I do love saying that, sorry) killed a higher percentage of his countrymen then the September 11 attacks killed Americans. But it's all bullshit and we know it. Muslims kill a big pile of people all the damn time. Actually, they usually kill each other most (Afghanistan, Somalia, Pakistan, and now also Libya - as sponsored by Lockheed Martin). Muslims do a lot of nasty murdering, and it's a really, really bad thing. So bad we are starting to think it's normal.
Time to get to the point, then. Islam makes rules for war. Clear, unambiguous ones, like children and women, priests and monks etc., being non-combatants who must always be protected. Like never destroying the environment or means of people's living, or messing with the water supply (maybe a bit obscure at first glance that one, but think about it for a second). It says never fight unless you're attacked. Make peace, compromise, infinitely and indefinitely because fighting and killing really, really sucks. For those of you infidels who've done Islam 1.1 either out of educated interest or just so as not to sound such a dick when promoting your atheism to Muslims, you'll know that mainstream Islamic practice has two proper sources: the Qur'An - unchanged and undisputed since it was written down in the first hard copies by the Prophet's (saws) own contemporaries, and the Sunna, which is often a subject of greater debate and special incredulity to the non-Believer. Well just to be clear, those rules I've just mentioned all come from the Qur'An. Clear as day and night.
So the nub of the problem is this: we all know that killing folks is a really, really bad thing. We also know that a lot of Muslims are so way out of line that every time a pall of smoke appears on the horizon we are mentally cooking up the apologies and excuses before we even turn on CNN. So maybe, instead of feeling smug that this time it was a blue-eyed Bible-basher instead of brown-eyed 'Bu Basheer, we should consider why we are just as likely to be prejudiced as Rupert Murdoch. We jump to the conclusions because a lot of Muslims are terrorists. And maybe instead of blindly forwarding hate-filled emails, mumbling empty platitudes about politics we don't know much about, or acting like witless automatons in repeating obvious and vile stupidity just because we heard it from a blind man with a nice voice, we should give that some thought. Or better still, some voice. Some action. Stand up and challenge stupidity and hate from within our own communities. Shout down the shrill voices and ridicule the ridiculous.
The only reason we keep hearing these alien voices screaming "something must be done about the Muslims", is because too many of us are too timid to do something about ourselves and our neighbours. So next time something explodes in a messy and expensive way, here's a thought for you: maybe it doesn't matter if it was a Muslim this time or not. It frequently is, and it's partly your fault. So what are you going to do about it?