I’ve just about had it with being told that Islam is a religion of peace. This rhetoric has been going on for far too long now and has been used too many times as a means to keep us from asking why it happens to be a strange coincidence that those who fly planes into buildings, blow up British and Spanish trains and buses, decapitate our soldiers in public and open fire on cartoonists all happen to be muslim. Even after all these acts, society’s reaction is still to accept this religion as part of our culture, embracing it, welcoming it and celebrating it as a great example of diversity.
Don’t tell me Christians went on crusades. We got over that in medieval times. There’s a reason the word “medieval” has the connotations it has. This is the 21st century. So I want to know why Islam hasn’t grown up in the same way. If it’s really so peaceful, don’t tell me. Prove it.
Call me what you like for saying this. If you want to say I’m being Islamophobic, go right ahead. I feel the same way when I walk past people with dangerous dogs. “Oh, but he’s really nice”, they’ll say. That doesn’t stop me being nervous. The reputation they have for mauling people is what lies at the root of that. And so it is with Islam. If Islamophobia is a fear of Islam, then damn right I have a fear of it. The reputation it’s built up since it put downtown Manhattan on the map, in its purest expression of peace and love of course, is what gives me the knowledge that this is something to be wary of.
So I do wish that the media and politicians would kindly stop telling me that Islam is a religion of peace. I’m intelligent enough to know that the media, at least the mainstream media, only really tell us the party line. And politicians are hardly well-respected enough to be listened to about anything even reasonably important. In short, I don’t consider either to be reliable source of information. To convince me, I need to see hard evidence – not hear words from a civil servant or their proxy.
Instead, I find it’s very difficult to find a real debate about this. The whole discussion seems to be shut down, as though Islam is the elephant in the room. After the twin towers fell, I honestly (perhaps naively) thought that Islam would come under scrutiny. But what I see is that it is given something of a free ride. To subject it to criticism is tantamount to blasphemy. Given the recent history, I find this unacceptable. Protecting these ideas is kind of repugnant.
My respect for politicians will skyrocket if someone prominent can go on record saying what I, and I suspect many others, am secretly thinking; that Islam is far from a religion of peace.