Extremism: it’s all our fault!

How could I have been so stupid not to have realised this? This is so much easier than having to deal with IS or Boko Haram or any of the other violent jihad groups – we just blame ourselves and the problem will go away.

Malcolm Farr on Insiders yesterday (h/t WoJ):

So, Malc, let me get this straight. By opposing Jihad and exposing acts of barbaric violence carried out in the name of Islam, we are helping to recruit extremists? But if we pretend it isn’t there, perhaps it will just go away? Wow, just wow.

Matthew Parris, writing in the UK Times, makes the same fundamental error:

You will realise I do not share the hostility I’m describing towards British Muslims. I have no doubt there are hateful extremists among them, but I worry about the casual conflating of these madcaps with the whole Pakistani and Bangladeshi communities. I worry for two reasons, one principled and one pragmatic.

The principled objection is to the injustice of lumping millions of people together according to race or religion and ceasing to look past the category and see the individual. It’s what Islamism does to us “infidels” and we must not fall prey to the same stupid thinking. I do not myself like Islam at all as a religion.

I don’t much like Judaism as a religion. I dislike any faith that causes its adherents to think there is some special place for them in the universe. But I won’t make the mistake of defining people firstly as Muslims or Jews or Catholics. They are firstly people, individuals, and we should never assume in each the imagined characteristics of all.

Because Islam is just like Judaism or Cathoicism, right?

The pragmatic objection is that this becomes a self-fulfilling prophecy. Think of that young Muslim mother who posted online her despair at being tarred with the extremist brush — and meeting, in response, a collective sneer that in that case she and her like had better shout louder. What does human nature suggest is her likely response? Surely to feel rejected by readers to whom she had reached out; and feel, perhaps, there was no place for her moderation.

So the alternative is, er, what? More ‘interfaith dialogue’? More ‘understanding’? More special treatment, concessions and appeasement? How has that worked out so far?

But like I said, it’s easier to beat ourselves up about our own behaviour, rather than deal with the unpalatable truth.


  1. Maybe we should say we’re sorry? According to the various examples of extreme left in our federal upper and lower houses, that’s all we need to do, and everything will instantly be sunshine, unicorns and rainbows.

    After all, it has worked wonders for our Aboriginal community, hasn’t it…?


  2. Old Ranga says:

    Public opinion, that well-known response from the guy in the street, always reacts initially as though an issue is black and white. But gradually, as people start talking and thinking, the multiple shades of grey start filtering through the public mind.

    We have to talk about Islam if we want Australia to stay the place it is. And we have to accept there will be extreme views expressed in that conversation – from both sides. None of this is easy.

    The best response I heard when Pauline Hanson was firing up everyone on Asians and racism was from one thoughtful tradie who said to me: “Yes, but…”


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