Musings —01.12.2016 09:28 AM—
The familiar refrain of the Right goes something like this: “not all Muslims are terrorists, but all terrorists are Muslims.” It’s become ubiquitous enough that you can find it on T-shirts and bumper stickers.
A more intellectualized version of that is found in this Wall Street Journal column, by a member of that paper’s editorial board. Quote:
The mayor’s comments, so bizarre in their determined denial of the deluge of facts delivered by top police officials standing next to him, were, nonetheless, familiar enough. Americans have learned to expect, after every Islamist terror attack, lectures instructing them that such assaults should in no way be connected to Islamic faith of any kind.
If the writer was being fair, she would have acknowledged that there is a good reason for that: attributing every act of terror to an entire religion simply (a) angers and alienates adherents of that religion, the overwhelmingly majority of whom are obviously not terrorists and (b) drives some of those angry and alienated adherents into the arms of ISIS and al-Qaeda and the like, who are delighted that conservative xenophobes have volunteered to do their recruitment for them. Gratis.
Personally, I still find all of this astonishing. I find it amazing that so many have forgotten what they learned in History 101. That is, every religion always has within its ranks a few extremists or lunatics who will always pervert its scriptures to hateful and murderous ends.
I should know, I guess. I wrote two entire books about the subject. In one of them, Web of Hate, I chronicled the crimes of a gang of terrorists who carried out the biggest armed robbery in US history; who carried out multiple assassinations and bombings; who inspired the single biggest act of domestic terrorism in US history – the murder of nearly 170 men, women and children in Oklahoma City in 1994.
All of the members of that group, called The Order, belonged to a religion. It called itself Christian Identity.
After each of The Order’s crimes – and there were many – no newspaper editorialists called on all Christians to condemn Christian Identity. No politicians warned against the perils associated with admitting Christian refugees to America. No Christian babies were placed on no-fly lists because their name happened to be similar to someone else’s. No aspiring presidential candidates demanded that a wall be erected to prevent Christians from getting into North America.
The point, I guess, is that every religion has its assholes. Every religion has its killers. We Christians have ours, and the Muslims do, too.
All of this seems blindingly obvious to most people, of course. Most people are sensible and fair, and know that unfair generalizations almost always lead to trouble. All of this is common sense.
Unless they happen to write editorials for the Wall Street Journal, that is.