As the world condemns the murders that took place in Paris where twelve French journalists were killed after their satirical magazine, Charlie Hebdo, published images of the Islamic Prophet, the nationalistic heat that follows that evil event is set to rise to worrying levels. Such a horrific tragedy, roundly vilified by Muslims, could engender a reaction from the French that would be as counter-productive as the original crime.
It is understandable that the French will flex their united muscle whilst seeking someone to pulverise. It has of course happened before when George W. Bush, following 9/11, took his nation, along with Britain, into Iraq. Again we find ourselves, by that I mean the so-called liberal west, impotently seeking further fall guys. With none visible or easily available the one thing we don't want is another war with someone, anyone, simply because they are labelled extreme.
The French prize Liberty above all things, it is the philosophy by which they live. But do they, indeed do we or any of us in the West, hold fast to that idea? I am not so sure we do.
There is a great deal of noise made, as of drums being beaten, pipes being blown, declaring in loud, brash fashion, that we, unlike Islam, are the heartbeat of freedom. We value democracy and the ability to say what we like about who we like without fear of threat of violence and yet, when it suits us, we turn like superior aliens from a far away galaxy into conquering marauders visiting war and oblivion onto those we'd be better befriending. This by no means excuses acts of terrorism but it does reveal our differences to be far less than first imagined and our own hypocrisy held in high profile.
I hold fast to my dislike of all Monotheistic religions. By that I mean specifically Judaism, Christianity and Islam. I feel that whilst their Holy books contain passages that condone violence than those seeking divine approval to justify their base needs are able to do so with just one quotation from said texts. This does not mean I am suggesting ostracising those with whom we should be engaging. Quite the reverse. Multiculturalism depends on mutual engagement which manages differences by modifying extreme views thereby preparing future, and current, religions to cohabit peacefully together. Ideally, I envision a time when those of faith are able to go directly to Yahweh, God, Allah without the need for Rabbi's, Priests or Imams. Having a personal faith rather than an organised set of beliefs thus removing the collective, tribal need for all to conform to the strongest voice in the pack.
Islam is an evolving religion. It may have extremists within its followers, those who, much as they might deny it, are gradually fading from prominence as consensual Islam tones down the darker text of the Koran in much the same way that Christian's have been doing with their Bible these last few hundred years. What we don't want is to create even further distance between a perceived 'us and them' but a combined acceptance that extremism is both unproductive and evil. The fact that the vast majority of Muslim's worldwide have joined in condemning the Paris killings is a positive move and not new by any means. As more of these crimes occur so more voices from the Muslim world have been heard rejecting them. All to the good as far as I am concerned.
The other factor that needs to be remembered is that however liberal we may think we are we, our elected leaders and governments, have over a great many years dating back nearly fourteen hundred years, subjugated the Middle East, held them down to wallow in poverty whilst we paraded around in our wealth and superior attitude as though we had the right to do so. History perhaps but having the world's most powerful man, in this case, George W Bush, make allusion to having another crusade was far from helpful any more than having Anjem Choudary pour his bilious nonsense is. Moderation must be the watchword we all use.
Russell Cuts the Corn From The Brewers Whiskers.