Islamophobia was invented to silence you.
“A lie gets halfway around the world before the truth has a chance to get its pants on.” – Winston Churchill
Rarely is a statement more apropos than the above quote by Winston Churchill, given the circumstances in which we find ourselves at this exact moment. Just several days ago, a religious extremist entered a cafe in Sydney, Australia, taking over a dozen hostages. 16 hours later, shots were fired, police stormed the building, and three people died.
If I were to ask you what religion this extremist practiced, what would first come to mind? Judaism? Christianity? Hinduism? The likelihood, given the current climate in which we live, is that you would immediately guess Islam—I know I would. And you would be correct. But why do we assume Islamic extremism when we don’t necessarily know it to be the case? What drives that assumption? If I hear about a bombing in a major US city, what causes me to infer Islamic extremism? Is it because I’m a racist? Ask anyone on MSNBC, and they will tell you that my assumptions are Islamophobic. But is that in fact the case?
To understand what drives the Islamic connection, we must first identify what would cause a person to make an assumption in any situation. Certainly, ignorance can be a contributing factor behind assumptions, but generally speaking, one makes assumptions based not on ignorance, but upon a scale of evidence. If I were to make the assumption that my black friend voted for Obama, it would be based on what I have observed in life, and what I know to be the case statistically. 95% of black Americans voted for Barack Obama in 2008, as did 93% in 2012. In this situation, it can be argued with reasonable certainty that my assumption is correct. Given that, what could possibly lead one to make the assumption that a violent attack with radical religious elements was Islamic in nature? The answer is that a preponderance of evidence supports that assumption.
Is it possible that I could be incorrect in my assumption? Certainly. However, given the statistics, my assumption is very likely correct.
According to Joel B. Pollak of Breitbart, over the course of the Sydney siege–as it is being called–the number one trending topic on Twitter was #illridewithyou:
“As a potential terror attack and hostage crisis unfolded in Sydney, Australia, the number one trending topic on Twitter worldwide is “#illridewithyou”—a hashtag created to demonstrate solidarity with Muslims supposedly under greater threat than the hostages.”
During the 16 hour crisis, what was foremost on the minds of those tagging posts with #illridewithyou was not the lives of the hostages in the Lindt Cafe, but the reputations of non-radical Muslims around the world. In a vacuum, the sentiment behind the hashtag might be a good one–as Pollak noted in his piece–but given the situation occurring in Sydney, it was absolutely shocking. The western world’s laser focus on stamping out alleged Islamophobia at every turn has taken precedent over reality.
We live in a world in which radical Islamic terrorists murder thousands of innocent people every year. That is a fact. In 2012, radical Islamic terrorists were responsible for over 11,000 deaths worldwide. That is a fact. Members of these terrorist organizations practice what they believe to be pure Islam. That is a fact. Regardless of your opinion on what is, and is not “real” Islam, those who are killing thousands proudly proclaim Islam as their faith. It doesn’t matter if they are not “real,” peaceful Muslims, what matters is that they are killing people.
To rush to the defense of peaceful Muslims every time a radical Muslim perpetrates a violent act against the western world is to claim that people do not possess the intellectual ability to distinguish between what is good, and what is bad. Additionally, it devalues the lives lost to radical Islamic attacks. This behavior removes focus from the root of the problem, and places it elsewhere, which could have severe consequences.
If we are afraid to discuss radical Islam for fear of offending peaceful Muslims, or causing hate, we cannot fully execute a proper defense against what is empirically an interconnected, worldwide threat. If we fail to keep an eye on CAIR (Center for American Islamic Relations)—which has a list of connections to terrorist organizations the likes of which should terrify even the most ardent liberal—because we fear offending Muslims, we are leaving ourselves vulnerable to attack. If we turn a blind eye to the Muslim Brotherhood because we fear offending Mullins, we are ignoring reality. If we refuse to even consider profiling those whose religious affiliation could make them a potential threat because we fear offending Muslims, what’s the point of defending ourselves at all?
It is neither bigoted, nor Islamophobic to call radical Islam what it is: radical. Nor is it wrong to claim, given the statistics, that radical Islam is a pervasive and existential threat to the western world. It is those who would deny reality that place us in harm’s way. We have entered a time in which telling the truth—as George Orwell put it—is a revolutionary act.