The Good. The Bad. The Asinine.

Let’s discuss Islam. Or Islamism. No, Sorry – Racism. No, Wait – Liberalism. Whatever. It’s a discussion, Right?

Ben Affleck had a spat with Bill Maher and Sam Harris and Reza Aslan have taken sides and meme, cat picture, outrage, racism. I know that doesn’t make any sense, but neither does paying any attention whatsoever to an argument about politics between an actor and a comedian.

The fact is, though, that most of us have, which means that an international humanitarian crisis has been reframed as a series of questions about ourselves. This being as embarrassing as it is pointless, I would like to dispose of some of these questions in order to clear the way for the discussion we should actually be having. And also to stop the constant stream of Ben Affleck memes inundating my social media feeds. Seriously, people – letting an actor frame a discussion on these issues makes about as much sense as letting a salmon fold napkins.

 

So, some of the questions we are currently asking include:

 

“How can we separate anti-Islamic bigotry  from opposition to Islamism?”

  • By understanding the difference between Islam and Islamism. One is a religion, practiced with varying degrees of liberalism around the world. The other is an ideology committed to using force to achieve political objectives.
  • By learning something about a culture other than our own.
  • By the spelling.

“Does Islamophobia exist?”

  • Yes
  • No
  • Who really gives a fuck?
  • Since when does the existence or non-existence of the inchoate concept behind a poorly defined buzzword actually matter?

“What kind of relationship should the religious have with a secular state?”

  • A normal one.
  • Like the one they all already have.
  • Which is, broadly speaking, the one they’ve always had.

“What moral grounds do we have for intervention against Radical Islamism?”

  • Our share of culpability in the creation of the current situation.
  • The threat to regional stability, life and freedom represented by IS.
  • Not, of course, to be confused with self defence against an existential threat to ourselves.
  • Isn’t that right, Mr Abbott?

 

Now, some of the questions we should be asking are:

 

Who are the key stakeholders in the conflict we are engaged in?

What are their aims and objectives?

What our ours? And how will we measure their achievement?

What role do we intend to play in the eventual reconstitution of the Area of Operations?

What factors drive radicalisation and how can they be eliminated?

Why is so much of the Moslem world in a constant state of outrage and to what extent is this our fault?

Why is our government wasting taxpayers’ money drafting legislation aimed at a tiny minority of a tiny minority group?

 

Please, by all means, feel free to answer these ones for yourelves.

Category: Asinine, Politics, Religion

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