Well I woke up today in a relatively good mood, of course things are always relative, but today started on all bright and shiny with not a care in the world. Ok I lie, there are always a few cares, so I should say not a real rant in the world. I then open my Facebook and am assaulted with the opinion of a friend’s friend that immediately sends me into rant territory. Now you will have to stick with me on this one, because this is a touchy one, a political/religious one and I am in NO way prejudiced towards or against ANY faith or religion. As far as I’m concerned, you can believe whatever you want, you can tell me about it even, as long as you are tolerant of the fact I may not agree, I might disagree on some points but at every juncture EVERY person involved in the conversation will show some fucking respect and tolerance. As soon as you start spouting anti anything at me, I get stabby and that’s where the friendly conversation ends.
Because, I’m deadly serious here, there is ONE thing I won’t tolerate it’s prejudice of ANY type. Though I am well aware that given the political and religious climates that our world lives in that some religions get a bad wrap and may be treated with a bit more caution than others, Islam for example. I DO NOT blame Muslims for this, I don’t even blame Islam for this. WHO I do blame is the extremists that have utilised religion to make a political stand, committed horrendous crimes against humanity and as a result if you are Muslim/Islamic then yes your life just became a whole lot harder. Is this fair? No not really. But is it understandable? Well actually it really is. Because fear breeds caution, breeds hypersensitivity and it sure as shit breeds extra security checks. Is it fair to the every day Muslim wanting to board a plane? Fuck no, but in context of the world we live in today it is just something that has to happen. I look at the INDIVIDUAL and even the COLLECTIVE, 99% of whom are good, honest and non threatening, who now must actually be victimized by extra security checks, background check ect and the presumption of guilt before innocence is high. But I do propose that this is NOT the populations fault, it is NOT the media’s fault (though the do like to sensationalize) but it IS the fault of the extremists who have utilised Islam (or any other religion) to kill thousands on innocent people. You cannot blame the authorities or the population for being wary, it’s not like extremists wear coloured shirts or announce themselves but I do recognise the frustration that ANY innocent Muslim faces and the prejudice that goes along with it. Is it fair? No? But my question is, is it justified? The answer to this, unfortunately for all involved would have to be yes. Which makes me sick to the stomach.
The article I refer to this morning was about a flight being delayed out of JFK for 11 hours while the seating was rearranged to suit Jewish custom, men and women being segregated. The actual poster was informing the world had this been a flight full of Muslims that it would have ended in terror arrests and terrorism would have been splashed all over the news. Do I think he has a point? Maybe a small one, I will concede that. But then my next question is, would that actual reaction have been justified? Unfortunately I have to say yes. I will take the time here to point out that 11 hours seems like a VERY long time to rearrange seating arrangements and that I’m sure that in that time, terror checks were done, all passengers were background checked and there was nothing to be found. Making it a non story, hence the non reporting in the media (well except the anti-Jewish papers). Had it been a plane full of Muslims, I’m sure the same procedures would have been implemented, the same background checks, the same time delay but the substantial difference is this likely would have made mainstream news. Is it a fair double standard? Not by a long shot, but it is also a well-earned one. You cannot fault the media (too much) for reporting on events like this, being treated as possible terror activity, that has been investigated, when we live in an age where international terror threats come from mainly Islamic countries, where the bulk of international terror incidents have come from Islamic countries and where there are still horrific crimes against humanity, ISIS anyone, being committed by Islamic EXTREMISTS. I would argue that the media in this case, is not sensationalising the risk, but showing the population in general that they are acting out on the very real risk, have security measures in place and protocols that are being followed to protect innocent civilians. Innocent civilians include people of all races, religions, creeds and origins. I would think, even while it is unfair, that an Islamic family, traveling with their children on a flight that had extra security while on some level would be a little miffed that also the reverse of this is they would be grateful. Because they are just as big a target as the rest of us. This is NOT Islam’s fault, but the fault of the extremists who use Islam to commit horrendous crimes. If the situation was reversed and I as a “Christian” was tarred with the same brush as Christian extremists, I’d likely be unimpressed. Honestly, it would likely make me seethe. Though my seething would be aimed at the secular group that has made it this way, the extremists, NOT the people trying to protect my family, myself or the general public. I sure as hell would not be comparing it to the way other faiths are treated, just because the plain straight fact is that MY religion HAS these extremists that have earned ALL Christians this label, this fear and I am unfortunately caught in the middle. I wouldn’t be eying other religions and drawing comparisons and comparing apples to oranges, in the way we are treated. The sad fact of the matter, is the minority of MY religion/political origin has made this so and the blame falls directly on them and no one else. So to complain that a plane full of Jewish or Christian, or Hindi or whatever else religion, doesn’t get the same press coverage as an Islamic/Muslim flight, has nothing to do with prejudice but to do with history and the relevance in the terrorism filled world we live in. Last time I checked no other religion was responsible for bombing World Trade Centres, bringing down multiple planes, bombing marathons or beheading reporters. I agree that this is NOT Islam’s fault, it is the fault of political extremists acting in the “name of Islam”, but the fact remains, I cannot tell who is “acting in the name of Islam” and who isn’t, just by looking at them and nether can those who are in charge of protecting us all. This includes the Muslim/Islamic population who are just as horrified as the rest of us, over these terror attacks.
I actually have a very good friend who is Iranian, Muslim, and we had a discussion about this recently. An educated discussion about this. The way that Islam is actually being used to drive a political agenda, that the faith is but a tool for a tyrannical government to commit horrendous crimes and that how Islam exists today has very little to do with the actual faith, but the political landscape in which it lives. In which it grows and the way it is utilised. Unfortunately, like is the cases with most minorities or even majorities, that a large subsection gets tarred with the same brush as the extremist and people are frightened, uneducated and prejudiced due to this.
A great example of this is in a community close to my own there being the potential construction of a Mosque. Now this is causing all kinds of issues, the general population (non-Muslim) are outraged. They have cited everything from too much noise, to too much traffic, to disturbance to their way of life and whatever else BS excuse they can think up. The crux of the matter is that it’s got nothing to do with ANY of this, it’s based purely in fear. Misplaced fear and ignorance. The Mosque, I dare say, poses very little disruption to their day-to-day lives. It poses NO risk on their personal safety FROM the congregation (if that’s the correct term) but it does face disruption and safety risk from ignorant protestors and those who are uneducated enough, ignorant enough and stupid enough to tar every one of the Muslim faith as a “terrorist”. It makes me physically ill, that people go to such lengths to protest a religion, that for the most part, at least here, are harmless. They assimilate into our communities, their children go to school with our children and they are our friends and neighbours. This seems to be fine on a personal level, but if they gather for religious purposes people lose their fucking minds. These are the EXACT SAME people we associate with EVERY day, call our friends, socialize with even but put in the context of practising their religion? That makes people ignorant and frankly fucking disgusting.
So the point for today’s blog is NOT to judge anyone based on colour, religion, creed, political affiliation, ever. It is not fair. But to also recognise that there, when it comes to terror policy there is a justifiable double standard. Sure it’s not fair to the innocent Muslims, it really isn’t, but those who are educated enough and intelligent enough blame the people who ARE responsible, the extremists and not the government or the people in charge of trying to keep us, the general population safe.
My other message is for those of you who ARE ignorant, who ARE judgemental based on faith rather than recognising ALL religions have extremists (history is full of Christian extremists, as well as any other religion you care to learn about) you need a fucking hard smack to the face. A religion or a faith or even a political affiliation does NOT make a person a bad person, a terrorist or even an extremist. You should not tar them all with the same bigoted brush, regardless of fear. Every person should be evaluated on the base of their character and personality, religious and political beliefs aside. My final point is those who are unfortunately targeted unfairly, need to look squarely where the blame lays (outside of uneducated fools) but the extremists that have committed hideous crimes in the name of religion and STOP pointing out double standards. Yes they exist, but they were earned. NO they are NOT fair, but even if you are of Islamic/Muslim heritage, these rules are also put in place to protect YOU too. Yes you have to go through extra checks, you are ignorantly eyed up and down before a flight and yes you do carry an element of fear to the rest of the general public. The fact is you can’t blame the public for this reaction, because it’s not targeted towards you PERSONALLY, it’s targets at the possibility you MAY be an extremeist. Though it’s a bitter pill and it may be hard to take, it’s an unfortunately legacy you have to deal with due to the extremists bastardising your faith and political views to suit their own purposes and commit horrendous crimes.
While it’s horrible to deal with, unfair even, it may be these very precautions that one day save you your lives from a terror attack too. It’s a disgraceful double standard, but it is one that is well-earned, so lay the blame where it REALLY lays. As for the rest of us, time to wake up and realise extremists exist in all shapes and forms and to tar someone as a terrorist or an extremist based purely on faith is unacceptable. You’re Muslim neighbour is likely just as much at risk as you are, but they also have the added “bonus” of all the negativity that surrounds their faith. Think of it this way, imagine living your day-to-day like with everyone looking at you like you are a white supremacist or a member of the KKK, just because of the colour of your skin. Walk a few steps in their shoes, see how it feels and stop the cycle of fear and ignorance. People are just people. Extremist are extremists and unfortunately extremist can be ANY person. We have the government and authorities to look over these things and monitor them, there is no need for YOU the average person to decide who is what. You’re not qualified. If you think you are you need a fucking kick up the ass and to realised you’re an uneducated bigoted moron who is PART of the problem and NOT the solution. You are ADDING to the terror climate we live in today. Make a conscious decision to step out of that and try acceptance of the individual, rather than tarring an individual with the brush of a very small group of fundamentalist extremists. Otherwise, you might as well become a white supremacist. Your halfway fucking there already.
Not pictures today this is not a “fun” blog but very serious and I expect it to be taken that way.
I also thought this John Oliver piece made for interesting viewing. It’s sort of related and sort of not. But is an example of Terror Laws gone too far and being far too undefined.