UPDATE: For an ex-Muslim’s take on the murder, Michael Fisher (in the comments below) recommends Maryam Namazie’s post, “On Woolwich: Islamism is the problem.” A snippet:
The decapitation was an act of terror, pure and simple, and characteristic of Islamism and far-Right politics which uses terrorism as a key tool in instilling fear and for social control. The main target of this terror is usually civilians in Iraq, Iran, Afghanistan and elsewhere (and often with the acquiescence and appeasement of western governments via funding for or close relations with Islamic organisations and states, defending Sharia law, and the curtailing of universal and citizenship rights and secularism).
Of course times are changing. The new era of revolutions and uprisings – many of them women-led – is the real challenge to the far-Right, including Islamism, and terrorism. Only a humanity speaking on its own behalf can and will bring this movement to its knees. And whilst that fight has already begun, how it ends will depend on real solidarity with Islamism’s victims and dissenters and an unequivocal defence of universal human values, freedom, equality and secularism.
Go read her piece. Namazie is the most politically committed blogger at FreeThought Blogs—someone who really wants to really make a difference in our world—but she doesn’t get near the attention she deserves.
Speaking after a meeting of the Cobra security committee on Thursday, Cameron said that Britain is absolutely resolute in its stand against violent extremism and terror.
“We will never give in to terror – or terrorism – in any of its forms,” he said, adding that there is nothing in Islam that justified “this truly dreadful act.”
He added: “This was not just an attack on Britain and on the British way of life. It was also a betrayal of Islam and of the Muslim communities who give so much to our country.”
“Nothing in Islam” that justified that act? I don’t think so. Just read the Quran (Eric MacDonald quotes a few relevant verses). This kind of attack happens over and over again, and it’s nearly always Muslims. Any religious reason for that?
As for a “betrayal of Islam”, it’s no more such a thing than it’s a “betrayal of Christianity” to work against equal rights for gays. For it all depends on what you consider “Islam” and “Christianity”. Let’s just say that this violence it’s an outgrowth of sentiments naturally inspired by Islam. In other words, it’s easy to read the Quran, hadith, and other Muslim theology in a way that would incite you to commit such an act.
Opinion polls surveying British Muslims show this:
- 20% sympathize with the 7/7 bombers, while almost 25% say those bombings were justified
- 78% support prosecution of the publishers of the Danish cartoons that mocked Islam
- ” Sixty-eight percent support the arrest and prosecution of those British people who ‘insult Islam.’ When asked if free speech should be protected, even if it offends religious groups, 62 percent of British Muslims say No, it should not.”
- ”12% of young Muslims in Britain (and 12% overall) believe that suicide attacks against civilians in Britain can be justified. 1 in 4 support suicide attacks against British troops.”
- “25% of British Muslims disagree that a Muslim has an obligation to report terrorists to police”
- 32% of British Muslim students think that killing in the name of Islam is justified, while 40% of those students think that Muslims in the UK should be under sharia law.
It looks like a lot of Muslims, and not just a tiny minority of extremists are “betraying the principles of Islam”.
The good news is that the Muslim Council of Britain, as it should have, denounced the murder, which leaves a two-year old child without a father. Let us now hear them denounce other Muslim barbarism from now on, defend the right to criticize Islam, and decry the sentiments given in the statistics above.
Thirty percent of Muslim students in Britain don’t see anything wrong with killing in the name of Islam. That is not a “tiny minority,” and these are educated Muslims.
It’s politically expedient for Muslims to decry violence done in the name of Islam, and I applaud them for doing so. But if they had the upper hand in Britain, would they still feel the same?
Let the apologists now raise their familiar cry that murders like this are simply motivated by politics—by the horrible British occupation of Muslim lands. But if that is the case, why are civilians often the targets? I adamantly maintain that this kind of violence is almost uniquely inspired by Islam, which, at present, is much more invidious than other faiths. Those who maintain otherwise are blinkered apologists.