Monday, 30 September 2013

Is it Islam's fault?

The usual back-and-forth is proceeding about the role of Islam in horrific terrorist acts.  As usual, the different sides seem to be hugely over-simplifying the situation, which is worrying as to stop such acts we need to truly understand their origin.

It seems odd to put the blame primarily on Islam for such acts when the vast, vast majority of Muslims (like any other group of people) are peaceful.  It's also a problem because Islam is so very varied, that you have to specify which type of Islam at the very least. So, if "Islam" is said to be the cause of terrorism, it's not a very effective cause.  But that doesn't mean that belief in Islam isn't involved.  There may well be a toxic brew of effects - politics, background and faith, with all three contributing to the nightmarish situation of terrorist violence.  The problem is that just saying 'it's religion' doesn't solve anything, as we have to find out how the factors interact - what the dangerous formula for fundamentalism is.

Where there really is a problem is when there is flat denial of the influence of religion, when it's taken out of the equation of extremism and not allowed to be thought of as possibly part of the problem.  This is why platitudes about "nothing to do with Islam" are irrational, and worrying.  They are a denial of the search for truth, they are question begging.

We may find that faith isn't a significant part of the problem, it may be that it's one excuse for tribalism and terrorism and others would be found if faith was not involved.  But we can't pre-judge this.

It's time to stop allowing political sensitivities standing in the way of the search for truth.  That search for truth has to involve everyone, including religious leaders.  If they are truly concerned about terrorism, they will help.

No comments: