We in Israel stand aghast, but not surprised, as we see the increasing number of murderous attacks on innocents abroad, as we have experienced for too long ourselves.
And ever more acutely, as we see before us an exact duplication of such atrocities outside of Israel, do we see the hypocrisy, duplicity and the resulting explosion of Islamist terrorism that emanates from at best, a gross misreading of this scourge of our time, and worse, an understanding that will perpetuate a reality far worse to come.
Hypocrisy: A Car Deliberately Driven Into Innocents Is Terrorism
As is so often the case, Israel was the first to bear violent witness to a new medium of indiscriminate murder—the vehicular attack. The world ignored and even tolerated it. Rather, those innocents murdered and maimed were “victims of a cycle of violence” or “undetermined car accident.”
Aversion to Naming Individual of Nice Attack
While the name of the terrorist Mohamed Lahouaiej Bouhlel was released soon after the attack, many mainstream outlets refrained, because his name would counter the painful reality so many seek to desperately deny.
Immediate First Victim Was a Muslim
Of course, the media had no problem, and over-extended its voices in constantly emphasizing the “Muslimness” of the supposed first victim of Nice. Why? To immediately play to their narrative that Muslims are also victims.
And of course they are.
More Muslims have been killed by Islamic Jihadists that any other people.
That does not mitigate the responsibility for the “vast majority of peace-loving Muslims” and especially leading Muslim leaders and clerics—to publicly denounce, protest and call for an outage of such a cancer in their faith.
Desperate Desire to Explain Away Mayhem. If Only…
Many in media try to explain away such murderous actions as rather the cause of a troubled upbringing, of criminality, of an individual living on the fringes of society.
The worst is the seeming fixation if the above all fails—to simply write off the actions as those of a deranged individual with a mental illness.
Again as if the problem in Islam has nothing to do with this. At worst, simply coincidental.
For individuals challenged by genuine mental illness, and especially those who are courageously, effectively managing their illness—such ludicrous judgments are an affront to them, as they should be to us all.
An individual with mental illness is not by default a card-carrying Jihadist, someone just waiting to explode. Violence and mental illness do not go hand in hand. On the contrary, the reality is that most people with mental illness are inherently non-violent. Theirs is not a preoccupation to hurt others, but an often long and lonely road in helping themselves.
Not a Perversion of Islam. A Version of Islam.
Immediately after each terrorist attack we inevitably hear Western governments declare that this terrorist action “has nothing to do with Islam.”
The reality is that it is not just a perversion of Islam. It is a version of Islam.
A version of faith within a religion—Islam—that has been wrestling for decades in finding its place in modernity.
Minorities Have Dictated History
No rational person believes that the majority of the world’s Islamic population of 1.2 billion are terrorists. Far from it.
Civilization is replete with history where radical minorities—whether individuals, segments or groups of a population—dictated national agendas.
The so-called “vast majority”’ became irrelevant.
President Obama answered a recent critique for not calling terrorism “Islamic Jihadism” by saying that “Calling a threat by a different name does not make it go away.”
No one in their right mind believes that calling terrorism for what it is, “Islamic Jihadism,” will be like a magic wand and end this scourge of our generation.
But what it will do—if repeated and repeated—is force a constant spotlight on Muslims and Muslim leaders.
It will help ensure that what needs to be a preoccupation of confronting this evil within their faith will not go away.
Yes, it will make “peace-loving Muslims” more and more uncomfortable—but maybe they need to be. They should be far more uncomfortable with co-religionists killing and murdering in their name.
A World of Relativity
Three Jewish individuals in Israel murder an innocent Palestinian young boy. There is an immediate and unanimous outcry across the Jewish spectrum denouncing it.
A whole nation mourns, an entire Jewish people feels a tremendous sense of shame.
The New York Times and others run pages of critical editorials, opinion pieces and analyses of a dangerous Israeli mind-set.
Not to discount so heinous a murder. One is way too many.
And then the Muslim world.
With tens of thousands killed in the name of their faith. Bombings, beheadings and worse.
Many on a daily basis.
Where is the daily outrage? Where are the critical editorials, where are the critical opinion pieces. Forgot the NYT and such ilk. In the mainstream Muslim papers?
Just where are marches of the millions in shame, outraged by the actions of their fellow co-religionists?
Derek Saker, originally from Cape Town, lived with his family in New Jersey for 10 years, and now lives in Efrat, while working in New York.