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The Not All Argument
On Monday night, a devastating explosion ripped through a Manchester Arena, moments after American actress and singer Ariana Grande finished her performance. As the crowds of overjoyed spectators, mostly children, exited the arena and began to head home, a suicide bomber detonated a nail bomb. The terrorist's attack has subsequently left 22 dead and more than 50 injured. Every terrorist atrocity is dreadful, but the reason this attack is viler is that the bulk of the victims were young people - the youngest victim was just eight-years-old - making the violence more tragic. The culprit was 22-year-old Salman Abedi, Manchester born and bred, whose parents fled Colonel Gadaffi's regime in Libya (Salman's brother and father have also been detained in Libya). Terrorism is now "part and parcel of living in a big city," and those are not my words, but the view of London's Mayor, Sadiq Khan.
Suicide bombings and myriad other attacks are swiftly becoming the norm in numerous major European cities; two in the UK in as many months. In the space of less than a year, Paris fell prey to attacks, as has Brussels, Marseille, Cologne and various German locations, reaching as far back as 9/11. In the wake of such barbarism, all are moved and horrified when images reach us of the tragedy. Outpourings of sympathy flood social media, news and we witness heartening demonstrations of unity over adversity, the kind of Blitz spirit that served Britons in good stead during World WarII. Of course, there inevitably follows people apportioning blame, rightly so, considering that Salman Abedi grew up in the UK and was apparently radicalised here too. As a usual reaction, we also see the knee-jerk responses of apologists assuring us of what we already know: "not all Muslims are terrorists". Plus, any attempt at scrutiny over a series of violent events that all seem to revolve around a specific religion often encounters strong condemnation alongside accusations of racism and "Islamophobia".
Roughly 1.6 billion humans are Muslim, making it the second largest religion on earth with some estimating that it will overtake Christianity as the largest faith in the latter half of the 21st century. However, when the planet's fifth biggest economy now needs the army on its streets (Theresa May has raised the threat level to Critical on Tuesday) something needs addressing and that is how one particular ideology requires revision. Christianity adapted through enlightenment that flourished across the West, forcing rigid dogma of the Papacy and other sects into retreat, creating a secular, open society in its place. Islam is more than six centuries younger than Christianity, Mohammed died in 632, but more importantly, Islam decrees Mohammed as the perfect man and Islam views the faith and the Quran as being the final, infallible word of God. Therefore, according to the Islamic scriptures, it is the non-believers that are imperfect, everyone else has to change, not the faith. Of course, the majority of Muslims are sane people like everyone else who want to carry on with their lives and be left alone. However, this does not detract from the fact that theirs is a religion that preaches harsh recrimination against anyone it deems unworthy - with the caveat of perfection as a bolster. So Islam means that it has the opportunity of manipulating disenfranchised youth for ideologues to prey on. Pew Research estimates that roughly 100,000 Muslims are actively Jihadists, although it took a handful to kill thousands on 9/11 and 22 on Monday in Manchester. When a Jihadi or suicide bomber convinced that committing atrocities in the name of their perfect religion, gifted paradise as a reward, not much can steer these people with mental health issues - psychopathic/sociopathic - away from such action.
"Prevention is better than cure," as the saying goes. It is beholden upon Islam itself to alter its tenets for the world that is not the sixth and seventh centuries any longer. These 100,000 people have bases where they grow, foundations that foster such sentiments to blossom, such as silent sympathies for extremism. For example, I have Irish ancestry, and my great-grandfather sympathised with the aims of the IRA. He never funded or acted on behalf of the organisation, but he supported their cause. It is such sympathy of a quiet majority that is primarily the soil providing nutrients, permitting weeds to erupt from the ground and flourish beneath solar heat of dogma. The silent majority are the elements placed around the opportunist weed dining on it, which in turn offers a thread for disenfranchised people, perhaps with personality disorders, to find solace and like minds. Everyone of sound mind knows that not all Muslims are responsible or supportive of terrorism, if all 1.6 billion of them were, the world would be utter chaos. However, Islamic doctrine provides methods for which people can enact terrible crimes against their fellow species, endorsed by none other than a perfect Prophet and God nonetheless, just like Medieval European Christendom. So it is incumbent upon the Islamic faith to change alongside the world around it, when something is immutable, intransigence leads to intolerance, and the silent majority embody the adage:
"The Only Thing Necessary for the Triumph of Evil is that Good Men Do Nothing."