On one occasion in Jerusalem there was a traffic accident some genius journalist reported about noting that the owner of one of the vehicles was Jewish and the owner of the other car was Palestinian. That information had less to do with that news piece than Donald Trump at a Nobel Prizes’ convention, because it had no relevance whatsoever in the events.
Just as there are journalists willing to exploit the Arab-Israeli conflict for clickbait, there are also journalists and politicians more than willing to ignore information relevant to a story, so as not to offend — because it turns out that there are ‘offensive’ facts now (go figure!).
From 9-11 to the attack in Nice (France), politicians have been very careful not to link Islam as the source of these acts of terrorism — the braver ones have used the excuse of interpretation and that of the ‘extremists’. The cowards have taken refuge in lower expectations racism, claiming all of these attacks are to be blamed on the West.
Besides the newsworthiness of the truth, there are at least three reasons why it is desirable that politicians and journalists begin to admit the relationship between religion and the terrorist acts it inspires:
- It’s the right thing to do: Modern states are based on a naturalistic and causal understanding of the universe. The best way to cope with any challenge, problem, difficulty and obstacle is to diagnose it correctly, in order to take action based on said diagnosis. As long as the media and politicians remain bent on denying that terrorist acts can be derived from the religious ‘sacred’ books and ideologies, they will be muddying the picture even more, making it harder for diagnosis, treatment and prevention. In that sense, they also share responsibility for all future faith based terrorist attacks and will have blood on their hands —like they care—.
- Stops enabling the far right (and the alt-right): Much of the resurgence of the extreme right in the world (Trump, Brexit, Wilders, Le Pen) has been due to the cowardice of mainstream politicians and their political correctness. When Trump makes openly racist remarks, he is celebrated because he does not walk in fear of offending entire groups of people. It’s populism, yes; but when the public gets tired of political correctness, the far right will be there to reap their votes. Ironically, the refusal to admit that a Muslim committed a terrorist act motivated by his religious beliefs strengthens the political sectors that judge people by their skin color and country of origin, rather than by their actions.
- Puts pressure on Muslim communities: As Sam Harris explained in conversation with Dave Rubin, to identify the relationship between religion and acts of terrorism is a form of pressure on Muslim communities to put their act together. Everybody agrees that Islam must go through an Enlightenment process so, at least, they will no longer consider killing infidels as normal, and this process can only happen within Muslim communities. If Muslim communities do not feel pressure to start its reform process, they may never get on to it or it could take centuries. How many dead Muslims killed by their coreligionists are enough to start putting pressure?
As it turns out, honesty is always the best policy — who would’ve thought!
(image: Day Donaldson)