This was a terrorist action, it was politically motivated as stated by the men who made the attack themselves. They took advantage of the prevalence of social media and camera phones to get their message out through multiple sources. This was an Islamic extremist action, also demonstrated the same way.
This was obvious and certain from the get-go given the near-live footage and the sheer number of corroborating witness accounts.
To try and divorce Islam from this action is patently ridiculous, just as it is ridiculous to try and divorce Christianity from the actions of the WBC or abortion clinic bombings and just as it is ridiculous to try and divorce the brutish racism of the EDL from their right-wing ideology.
Yet in the aftermath of the attacks the mainstream news was cutting out the initial part of the rant that invoked Allah and people who should be thoughtful, liberal, progressive commentators were bending over backwards to ignore the Islamic/political motivation and to write it off as random lunacy.
These sorts of actions are horrible, but they are comprehensible in the background of long-standing political interference by the US and UK in the Middle East, the actions of Israel in Palestine and the nature of the vast disparity between Western military technology and that of the Taliban and their ilk. That doesn’t make it excusable any more than understanding why our military has intervened in the Middle East makes that excusable.
Islam contains motivation and excuse for this sort of action, as does Christianity, Judaism, other faiths and ideologies. To ignore that, to cut it out of the conversation, is disingenuous in the extreme and given – in addition – the built-in misogyny and other issues with the faith it is staggering that people who consider themselves egalitarian and progressive would – in any way – excuse Islam its share of the blame.
Are we so afraid of being labelled ‘racist’ that we can’t admit there’s a problem here? Islam is a religion, not a race. Not everyone who follows it is a dangerous loon but it certainly appears to be a fairly strong risk factor. I am not picking on Islam specifically save in regard to this specific incident. Anyone who is convinced, utterly, that they are absolutely right and that their political or religious orthodoxy licenses them to destroy other human beings is a cunt.
We can’t let the fear of being tainted ‘racist’ block us from having an important, public discussion and – hopefully – a modernisation and reform of that faith. Especially when the perpetrators explicitly and openly described their motivations, reasoning and the role of their faith directly to camera.
Christianity managed to ‘de-militarise’ much of its dogma, though we still live with the consequences of that dogma to this day. Islam is still in the inquisitorial, absolutist, intolerant phase Christianity was from the Dark Ages to the Renaissance. It can change.