Islamic State is like a bad dream. Its horror flashes up on our screens, so out of place in the waking world of cities and shopping and work. Its adherents wave what looks like a pirate flag. They are crazy, incomprehensible, intoxicated.
Some kind of spell must have been cast over them to rob them of reason and compassion. But what exactly? There are those who feel confident of the answer. “A hatred of infidels is arguably the central message of the Qur’an,” writes Sam Harris, author of The End of Faith. “The reality of martyrdom and the sanctity of armed jihad are about as controversial under Islam as the resurrection of Jesus is under Christianity.” He goes on: “horrific footage of infidels and apostates being decapitated has become a popular form of pornography throughout the Muslim world. But there is now a large industry of obfuscation designed to protect Muslims from having to grapple with these truths.”
Harris would regard Karen Armstrong as a captain of that industry. In her new book, the former nun stubbornly refuses to accept that responsibility for beheadings, suicide bombings and the persecution of minorities can be laid at the door of Islam. Is she a head-in-the-sand apologist? One of those whose interpretation of events wishes, in Tony Blair’s words, “to eliminate the obvious common factor in a way that is almost wilful”?…
Short summary: She defends Islam by pointing to violence over religion in the past — sometimes the very distant past. And of course, there are phenomena like Communism, which killed millions but was not religious. She errs is saying that Armenian Genocide was not connected to religion — of course it was — they were Christians and the Turks felt threatened by them.
I have never suggested that man is not a violent species. The question is, in the present, is Islam bringing out the violence and giving psychos a chance to legitimize their pre-existing tendencies? Of course it is. You have to be a blind fool not to see that. Which she is, in spades, saying Islam is being made a scapegoat.
She even drags this in this old crap to defend the Islamic State: “its members have endured colonization, the expropriation of land, authoritarian rule and military occupation. Could these stressors come to be seen as the greater cause?”
How many non-Muslim countries have a sword on their flag? (Saudian Arabian flag shown above). Saudi Arabia was never colonized.