One Eye Closed
This piece by Karen Armstrong has a big gaping hole in the middle of it.
[Blair’s rebuke of ‘moderate Muslims’] ignores the fact that the chief problem for most Muslims is not “the west” per se, but the suffering of Muslims in Guantánamo, Abu Ghraib, Iraq and Palestine. Many Britons share this dismay, but the strong emphasis placed by Islam upon justice and community solidarity makes this a religious issue for Muslims. When they see their brothers and sisters systematically oppressed and humiliated, some feel as wounded as a Christian who sees the Bible spat upon or the eucharistic host violated.
Speaking of ignoring facts – why is the chief problem for most Muslims the suffering of Muslims in Guantánamo, Abu Ghraib, Iraq and Palestine to the exclusion of the suffering of Muslims in Afghanistan, Saudia Arabia, Iran, Nigeria, Bangladesh, Indonesia and indeed Iraq as well as many other places, that is caused not by ‘the west’ but by other Muslims? Why do ‘most Muslims’ not have a problem (or if they do, why does Armstrong not think they do, or if she does think they do, why does she not mention it?) with suffering that is caused to Muslims by other Muslims who beat them up, kill them or their friends or relatives, tell them what to do, impose sharia on them against their will, lock them up in their houses for life, tell them what to wear, stone them to death in front of their children, explode them in markets and hotels and buses and other crowded places, frighten them, tyrannize over them, set off civil wars around them, and generally make their lives hell? If most Muslims feel wounded when they see their brothers and sisters systematically oppressed and humiliated, as indeed they might, as might all of us, whether they are our ‘brothers and sisters’ in religion or not, as we all might simply because they are fellow human beings – then why is that feeling supposed to explain the connection between Tony Blair’s foreign policy and the rise of Islamism? Why couldn’t the people who feel wounded at the suffering of their ‘brothers and sisters’ feel justifiable rage at the Islamists instead of feeling inspired to join them in blowing people up? And why does Karen Armstrong, who is no fool, appear not to have asked herself that question?