Warning: This post was published more than 11 years ago.
I keep old posts on the site because sometimes it's interesting to read old content. Not everything that is old is bad. Also, I think people might be interested to track how my views have changed over time: for example, how my strident teenage views have mellowed and matured!
But given the age of this post, please bear in mind:
- My views might have changed in the 11 years since I wrote this post.
- This post might use language in ways which I would now consider inappropriate or offensive.
- Factual information might be outdated.
- Links might be broken; embedded material might not appear properly.
Many thanks for your understanding.
In the wake of the London bombings, one word seems to be resonating between much of the public, much of the media, and many politicians. That word is ‘evil’. The attacks themselves were doubtlessly evil, but as far as I am concerned, the perpetrators were not.
To say that terrorists are evil is as illogical and irrational as saying bacteria are evil when they kill patients. Nobody would possibly trust a doctor who said that a patient was afflicted with ‘evil’, and we should no more trust politicians who insist on calling these bombers evil. To call them that suggests that they are an ever-present force which can never be truly and completely overcome, and immediately marks them out as ‘different’ from the rest of society, when the message to be taken away from the tragedy is that these young Muslims were not ‘different’ at all – they were normal young lads, cruelly brainwashed by expert criminals. As such, we should be viewing the radicalisation of young Muslims in this country as a major problem which needs to be tackled, not some mystical wicked force.
Many will have great difficulty in having sympathy with these killers, but it should be remembered that they are killing for irrational reasons which have been planted by expert criminals. And, what’s more, society at large has contributed to their delusional fantasies by continually alienating the Muslim community. Every time we mention terrorists who claim to follow Islam they are branded ‘Muslim terrorists’. Yet we would never dream of labelling the IRA ‘Christian terrorists’, or of characterising KKK lynchings as murders committed by ‘Christian extremists’. Similarly, the religious background of Jewish, Sikh, or Hindu terrorists wouldn’t even be worthy of mention. Clearly, the mass media have succeeded in beginning to demonise one religion and heritage in the national conscience – and now, even our Prime Minister is refusing to come out unequivocally in support of the Muslim community. Is this not exactly what happened in Germany circa 1933, and exactly what millions later fought and lost their lives to avoid?
We should not be demonising a whole religion, and calling its members ‘evil’. We should be tackling the extremists who are brain washing the young people of this country into killing themselves and others, and who are no more Muslim than William J Simmons was Christian. Perhaps I’m wrong, but if the bombers had been Christians called ‘Joe Bloggs’, ‘John Smith’, and ‘James Jones’, rather than being Muslims called ‘Shehzad Tanweer’, ‘Hasib Mir Hussain’, and ‘Mohammed Sadique Khan’, I think there would have been much more of national outcry against the people orchestrating the attacks, campaigns to educate young people against radicalisation, and – ultimately – a lot more sympathy for the bombers.
The real tragedy from these bombings is that we haven’t learned the lessons. After the attacks, Muslims are more excluded than ever, and new anti-terror laws to be introduced will almost certainly end up being enforced more against Muslim communities, further alienating them, and increasing the opportunities for criminals to radicalise the young people of these communities. Effectively, the national response to this attack is doing little more than making future attacks more likely.
The London bombers are many things. But ‘evil’ is not one of them. And until we realise that, the situation becomes more grave by the day.