It’s time to dispel possibly the biggest myth currently being spread, in conversations regarding Islamic terrorism. I am sure that it has been a challenge to answer to these claims for many in this community, which states that by criticising Islam, we are somehow going to lead to further terrorism, hence the claim and others related which purports ‘Donald Trump is Isis’s biggest recruiter’. It is a slur against those who point out the obvious, and in fact is far more dangerous that it originally appears.
Part of why I believe calls to stop Islamic immigration, and other likeminded proposals that in effect are criticisms of Islam’s influence, is because in principle, we cannot solve any problem by being dishonest. Islam, and Muslims are many things, but to profess that there are no issues, would be to willingly distort the truth. It is important to recognise that Islam itself, at the very least, even in the minds of the most left wing and progressive among us, forms part of the reason for the rise of the Islamic State, and the countless other jihadist organisations. It is crucial that this simply fact is recognized, as it is the only legitimate starting point, to begin any proposals aimed at stemming the influence of this ideology.
Besides from questions of truth, the idea that critics of Islam (seperate from those who generate hatred against Muslim people), have a significant role in contributing to terrorism, is woefully mis- aimed, and should be redirected toward a different target. Contrary to many mainstream politicians and media, I believe that the Left, in their propagation of ‘Islamophobia’, shares far more culpability than stated by popular belief. Of course, fuel is added to the fire when innocent Muslims are attacked in hate crimes.
But the idea, that in Western societies, Muslims are victims of a unique and unrivalled form of discrimination, is simply not true. In Australia, Muslims can enter any public place, wearing whatever religious form of dress they please. They enjoy economic freedom, as well as our fundamental civil and political rights; the right to religion, the right to vote, freedom of movement, conscience and association. Despite issues within some organisations, they are able to establish mosques, Islamic schools, Islamic centres, halal products, virtually however they like. We have Ed Husic as a politician for the Australian Labor party, Waleed Aly, a prominent host on one of Australia’s biggest news shows, and Usman Khawaja, a prominent cricketer and Australia’s best hopes of replacing Ricky Ponting. All of these people are from Islamic backgrounds, which would be impossible, if Islamophobia existed to the extent as some profess it does. When the left exaggerate levels of anti- Muslim sentiment, exacerbate divisions, try to make conservative politicians sound more hostile than they really are, this can contribute to Muslims becoming more seperate from mainstream society.
I believe that the issue with the framing of this debate by the left is wrong, as it is establishing low expectations of Muslim people. It is too often ridiculously emphasised by the left of the good things Muslims do for our societies, which implies that for not blowing us up, we should pat Muslims on the back. When expectations are low, results will be low. It is time to demand for this to change, and to ask for better from Muslim people.
There are vast array of issues in Islam that are often discussed, and no doubt in the future will be further discussed. However, if we ever wish to come close to a peaceful and plausible resolution, we must be honest about the problem we face, and reject the toxic rhetoric of the left, that only acts to divide and worsen the current situation.