Acts of Extremism Are Not Exclusive to One Religion

by Gage Counts
February 5, 2015


There is no religion in world history that has been immune from acts of violence being done in its name.

In 1948, Zionists massacred Palestinians at Deir Yassin. Responding to the massacre, Menachem Begin, the future Prime Minister of Israel, said that they would go forward to “attack and smite the enemy. God, God, Thou has chosen us for conquest.”

In 2011, Anders Behring Breivik, a Christian, murdered over 75 people, mostly teenagers. In doing so, he called himself a warrior of God.

In 2015, two Muslims slew 10 journalists and two police officers protecting them. During the attack, they yelled “Allahu Akbar,” and “the prophet is avenged.”

While it’s easy to point out the association of religion and violence, it would be naïve to ignore the other factors acting on the people involved in these acts of violence.

It was not Judaism, but nationalism, that was the dominant force that led to the unjustified deaths of over 100.

It was not Christianity, but xenophobia that triggered the gunning down of children.

In the same way, it was not Islamism or intolerance of free speech that was the main driving force for attacking Charlie Hebdo; according to Amedy Coulibaly, the terrorist that attacked a kosher market in Paris in early January, it was France’s history of imperialism and recent military involvement in Libya, Mali and Syria.

Al-Qa’ida in the Arabian Peninsula has claimed responsibility for the Charlie Hebdo attack, and as the attackers said as much themselves, there is good reason to believe it. In order to be successful in importing their ideology to France, al-Qa’ida has to create a common political identity in the Muslim community around their persecution. Suddenly, the waters clear. The purpose changes from attacking free expression to provoking a radical anti-Muslim reaction.

The plan to incite a reaction has been successful. Since the carnage in Paris, 25,000 Germans marched in Dresden to protest Muslim immigrants in Germany. Marine le Pen of the far-right Front National party has demanded a purging of fundamentalist Mosques from France. Charlie Hebdo published yet another attack on Muhammad.

Al-Qa’ida is trying to make Western Muslims alien outcasts, more prone to join extremist movements like theirs.

Most in the Western world recognize that the message of Jesus is one of love, not violence. As a Christian, I count this as a blessing. If the present discussion of Islam is any indicator, Muslims are not afforded this blessing.

Many Muslims are now facing a sea of isolation. Pictures of their Prophet are shoved in their faces, and they’re being told that they can like it, or they’re one of them. Right now, Muslims need allies, not antagonists. For that reason, I have to come out.

Je suis Muslim.




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