Friday, 24 May 2013

These killers represent no one but themselves

Since the heinous act of savagery on London’s streets on Wednesday afternoon, Muslims and their community leaders could not have been more explicit; the killing of Drummer Lee Rigby just yards from Woolwich Barracks has been condemned in the clearest possible terms. (Metro link)

The Muslim Council of Great Britain called it a ‘truly barbaric act that has no basis in Islam’. Paul Salahuddin Armstrong, of The Association of British Muslims, said the attackers’ actions had ‘removed them from Islam, because there is no grounds to justify attacks of terrorism’.
‘If you go back to the Qu’ran,’ he explained, ‘there is no grounds for this kind of behaviour, no grounds for murder.’
And countless individuals have used Twitter to express their disgust and outrage, frequently accompanied by the hashtag #notinmyname.
It is a shame they feel they have to defend themselves at all. It should be obvious that the actions of a couple of mindless, violent individuals owe nothing to any religion. David Cameron was absolutely right when he spoke outside Downing Street, saying this murder was a ‘betrayal of Islam’, its perpetrators were ‘trying to divide us’ and the best response was for everyone to go about their ‘normal lives’.
Yet, the prime minister and leader of the opposition both cut short trips abroad to return to the country; we’ve already had two meetings of the government’s emergency Cobra committee and 1,200 extra police have been deployed on London’s streets to apparently provide a reassuring presence.
Obviously security measures need to be reviewed and the wider context of the crime must be explored. But, it is not a surprise to see significant figures in the defence industry waste no time in calling for the adoption of further, more intrusive, data-monitoring measures, regardless of whether they would have made the slightest difference to the events in Woolwich.
Too often, since 9/11, we have seen our civil liberties eroded, justified by short-term and shallow excuses, when those liberties should have been reinforced and celebrated to demonstrate to the perpetrators of terror they have failed.
‘ Fundamentalist Islam’ is as much a political movement as it is a religious one and like any extremist ideology it appeals to the weak, the disaffected and the vulnerable. It provides them with easy, convenient, excuses for their own failings whilst, at the same time, offering them a scenario through which they can become heroes. Inflicting extreme, mediaeval, violence, is presented as self-sacrificial virtue.
And I fear trying to explain the murder of a British soldier on a suburban street in broad daylight as a terror attack potentially plays into the hands of extremists, too neatly fitting their warped agenda.
Instead, they should be recognised as barbaric killers, pure and simple, not putative martyrs. They may believe they can justify their actions using some twisted ideological theory, but there is no reason why we should give this nonsense such credence.

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