Cycling in Sydney Australia
Something like the Muslims do?
Unless you've been living under one yourself, you've probably heard about the women's silent protest on London's Westminster Bridge, where about 100 mostly Muslim women joined hands to show that "terror will not defeat and divide us".
Around the same time, Muslim teenager Heraa Hashmi made news for her 712-page Google document "proving that Muslims do indeed condemn terrorism".
The irony of women being the ones to object to violence that is overwhelmingly perpetrated by men aside, why are so many Muslims still falling into the trap of proving their humanity to those who insist it is lacking?
I have grown accustomed to the way non-Muslim citizens of Europe and its colonial offshoots only express solidarity for the victims of violence and terrorism w.... This is the legacy of 500 years of a European world view based on the fallacy that their lives simply matter more.
What is more saddening is witnessing Muslims succumbing to this peculiar notion that terrorism only really counts when it hits Western shores. This means not only must Muslims "prove" they don't approve of this violence, they are also expected to mourn the loss of Western life above all others.
But what has made the past week or so truly unbearable is that all this was happening as innocent Muslim and other Arab civilians in Syria and Iraq were being bombed by one US-led strike after another.
On Saturday March 18, a US strike hit a mosque in Idlib, Syria, killing 47 people, mostly civilians.
Four days later, an other US-led coalition strike hit a school near Raqqa, killing at least 30 people who were sheltering from the never-ending war that has taken over their lives.
Then, on the same weekend of the Westminster attack, yet another US strike landed on in Mosul, Iraq, killing at least 137 innocent people.
Up to 1000 Syrian and Iraqi civilians have been killed in Coalition airstrikes in March alone.
Where are the condemnations? Where are the white people holding hands, reassuring Arabs that they don't agree with this callous indifference for human life?
The condemnations don't come, because war and death are seen as part and parcel of the Middle East experience – and because Westerners have for generations been able to convince themselves that their own violence is always justified.
Arabs and Muslims must stop falling for this trap. No condemnation is ever going to be enough; 712 pages of them should clue us in on that.
Condemning the violence is not only beside the point, it is a diversion, a way to keep the focus on Muslims, to force us to soothe Western anxieties and fears and agree with them that their lives are indeed more valuable than our own.
That so many Muslims in the West play along with this, and ignore the thousands of innocents being killed by the West is not only heartbreaking, it is untenable.
Terrorism is not a problem of Islam. You will not find the answers to it lurking in the pages of the Quran. Terrorism is a modern problem, a subversive tactic of war that, until now, was adopted mostly by nationalist armed groups and militias that sought to overthrow far more powerful occupiers and invaders of their lands –the IRA in Ireland, the PLO in Palestine, the Tamils in Sri Lanka.
Now, you don't have to agree with the tactics or the aims of these groups to accept that their motivations were ones of nationalism and liberation.
These days so-called Islamic terror in the West, which seems to refer to any act of public violence committed by anyone who is Muslim, is more about pure ideology than nationalism, and it is an ideology that the West is guilty of spreading.
From Man Haron Monis to Khalid Masood, what we are witnessing are individual, disturbed men who have, for whatever reason, taken to this subversion of Islam and used it to attack the "sinful" West, imitating the actions of their more organised counterparts from Paris to Syria.
For many years, I myself believed that these men were angry and disillusioned by the deaths of their innocent fellow Muslims. That may be true for some of them. But that is not the full story. The truth is, the rapid spread of this intolerant jihadist interpretation of Islam has been aided, abetted, funded, and armed by the West for decades.
From the mujahideen in Afghanistan, now known as the Taliban, to Jabhat Fatah al-Sham in Syria, who are considered legitimate "rebels" in that country but are otherwise known as al-Qaeda, Western governments have enabled their growth in order to fulfil Western desires for "regime change".
And where does this ideology favoured by jihadis stem from? From the West's greatest Arab ally, Saudi Arabia.
The dust had not yet settled in Westminster or Raqqa or Idlib or Mosul when Australia announced a deal to sell weapons to Saudi Arabia, the world's biggest buyer of arms, and a kingdom frequently condemned for its appalling human rights record, and its brutal suppression of its neighbours.
Why does the West approve of and fund this violent ideology in the Middle East, one that first and foremost targets Muslims it deems "not Muslim enough" and other Middle Easterners that it threatens with death or expulsion unless they convert? Moreover, when the violence inevitably follows it home, rather than interrogate itself, the West then has the extraordinary ability to deny context and reality, choosing instead to blame innocent Muslims.
At some point we have to connect the dots. This is not about Islam. This is not about the "clash of civilisations". This is about the way that Western governments and regressive Arab dictators and fundamentalists alike collude to keep the Middle East in a perpetual state of conflict. That this is going to backfire when these groups go rogue and bite the hands that feed them should no longer come as a surprise; it's been happening since the USA supported Saddam Hussein in his war against Iran.
It is time to stop pandering and start demanding accountability. Even ostensibly sympathetic articles like this by Amanda Vanstone that "reassures" Muslims she does not blame them for Westminster are part of the problem because they take Western innocence as a given, while still treating Muslim and Arab innocence as debatable. Meanwhile, Foreign Minister Julie Bishop exacerbates fears as she "warns" of a possible IS caliphate on our doorstep in the Philippines, even as her fellow minister Christopher Pyne takes photo ops with the Saudi royal family.
The West too has played a pivotal role in the violence and terror that has hijacked Islam, decimated the Middle East, and set history on a course that will only get more terrifying until we are ready to admit to what is really going on.
I mean seeing that the hit-n-runners really wouldn't volunteer , would they ?
yes, that's a better example.
oh look! potential volunteers !
I'm trying to say Muslims were facing a back lash and reviled by the general public, in order to counter this, some of them took to running a AMA (Ask Me Anything) session
Since cyclists are equally in an out group , perhaps running an AMA session might be something that cyclists need to consider doing