As Paris recovers from the aftershocks, where do we go from here?
With cultures colliding, we find ourselves trying to reconcile conflicting facts.
On one side, we hold to the presumption of innocence, and promote the freedom of worship. On the other side, we see black flags being raised in defense of unspeakable violence, and the people holding them chanting the name of their god.
Now that we’ve seen Paris, it’s harder to dismiss this as merely regional violence in turbulent parts of the world. And — since they tend to lay down their lives for their cause — it’s also hard to dismiss their religion as simply political.
“Safe” places have been hit. These are no longer abstract questions, and their answers will drive both immigration policy and foreign policy decisions for a long time to come.
The fact that men like Tarek Fatah — himself a Muslim — have been sounding an alarm to the rest of us by exposing radicals in our midst, as well as developments among the violent strains of Islam shows that the Venn Diagram of Muslim and Islamist is not a complete match. The fact that the “wrong” kinds of Muslims are themselves targets is further evidence.
To what degree is the Islamic world sympathetic to the violence in its midst? How concerned should we be? The “small minority of the whole” view tells us to relax. The “more than you think” view tells us to be on guard.
The former view (example) reminds us that almost every religion — even atheism — has had someone use it to justify violence at some level. That many Muslims are (like many Christians here) functionally secularists. Or that some common criticisms of Islam are not logically justified (explained in the link).
The latter view (example) relies upon statistics. (By people like Pew Research). Start by knowing you have x number of Muslims worldwide. Now find out what percentage includes members with views sympathetic to things like, Bin Laden, honor killings, or Mandated Shariah Law:
Even those not directly taking arms themselves, can be indirectly supportive of the people, agencies, groups and mosques that will directly or indirectly support Islamic Expansionism. As you tally the numbers together, the “insignificant number” grows from only a “few” muslims, to a much more critical mass. The video is not long, but it is well-argued.
I’ll leave the reader to decide which argument carries greater force. Realistically, both arguments need to be taken together to some degree.
Whatever your final conclusion, we know these things:
- Paris reminded us that it only takes a few aggressors to cause a big problem.
- Not all Muslims, and certainly not all Arabs fly that black flag
- Chamberlain blindly promised peace while Churchill warned of an imminent threat — Let’s not be Chamberlain, however appealing the promise of “Peace In Our Time”
- It’s time to decide whether we are ready to treat that black flag like we did the swastika.