Woolwich: Islamophobic Media Feigns Concern about Violence, Continues Demonising Islam
The mainstream media has gone into overdrive, in the wake of the murder in Woolwich, in demonising Islam and Muslims with its usual characterisation of Islam as backward and violent. All sorts of spurious arguments have been made and links drawn to assert that the roots of Muslim violence are in Islam and the Qur’an, that Muslim leaders now need to go beyond just condemning and take responsibility for the problem and that Muslims need to face the history of Islam and get rid of its problematic parts.
Our response to this disgraceful barrage of irresponsible commentary is to emphasise that:
1. The real problem facing the world is western violence: violence perpetrated by states using full military force. Violence that destroys entire nations and ruins the lives of entire peoples. Violence, in comparison to which, any violence committed by individuals, Muslim or otherwise, is like a drop in the ocean. This is where our focus should be if we are indeed sincere about dealing with the problem of violence. To scapegoat disempowered individuals whilst ignoring the far worse violence of powerful institutions is disingenuous and hypocritical.
2. Given the ubiquitous reality of western violence and its magnitude the “sacred” texts and ideals of secular liberalism, not of Islam, should be placed under examination to ascertain what makes the west so violent. What pushes states to such depravity that they kill half a million children in Iraq through sanctions and deem it a worthy price? Or kill hundreds of innocent children in Yemen and Pakistan with the guiltless surgery of drone strikes? Or support dictators who make life hell on earth for millions in return for personal material gain? The US constitution, the UDHR and the like should be put under the telescope of inquiry, not the Qur’an.
3. The mainstream media but feigns concern about violence and extremism as a cover to propel its ingrained hatred of Islam and Muslims. This is clear from the fact that it ignores, indeed justifies, the far worse violence of western states whilst creating alarmist suspicion and distrust about Muslims and presenting Muslim violence as an existential threat.
4. Just as the demonisation continues, so too does the imposition of values, intimidation and exceptional treatment of Muslims. The recent case of Mohammed Issaka shows that whilst on the one hand we are told that Australia is a tolerant secular society where people are allowed to practice their religious beliefs and values so long as they do not entail violence, on the other when someone goes against a customary tradition in practicing his beliefs he is shunned and demanded to step in line. The more recent case of Milad al-Ahmedzaishows the continuation of the application of a different set of laws for Muslims as mere (alleged) threats to officials have been prosecuted as “terrorism-related” offences.
5. We advise the Muslim community not to fall for the media’s and politicians’ cheap tactic of playing good Muslim v bad Muslim as a means of dividing the community into “extremists” and “moderates”. Rather, the community must reject the discourse on terrorism outright, expose its fallacies and continue to account the state’s oppressive foreign and domestic policies, which are the root of the problem. We should also be clear that if an attack occurs on Australian soil the media and politicians will be squarely responsible and should not in that instance come to the Muslim community for condemnations, apologies or demands to take responsibility. It is their policies that create the original grievances, and it is their subsequent policies that further alienate the youth.