There’s a website called The Religion of Peace, which documents how Islam is not really a religion of peace, despite what too many apologists say. The basic concept of the site is sound: highlight violence caused in the name of Islam, and show that mainstream Muslim groups don’t do enough to admonish Islamists. I’ve written a novel that does the same to Christianity.
But what is not sound is the formation of an anti-Muslim nationalism, to use Orwell’s term. The people on The Religion of Peace display the exact same characteristics that anti-Russian Trotskyists did back when they were more than a tiny fringe: they downplay moderation, portray fundamentalism as an exclusively Muslim problem, and pretend Muslims don’t suffer from anything.
Exhibit 1: the site links to a news story, “Relaxed sheik gets rock star treatment.” The sheikh in question said uncovered women were meat for cats. But the rock star treatment was only within the sheikh’s own congregation. Most Muslim organizations in Australia immediately disowned him; even his own mosque suspended him from preaching for three months.
Exhibit 2: the site not only believes the most tenuous attacks on the latest Lancet study of Iraqi civilian casualties, but even has a counter, “Civilian lives saved by military intervention.” How am I supposed to take seriously a website that ignores serious epidemiology in order to support an invasion that only strengthened Islamism?
Exhibit 3: the site features a counter, “Islamic Terrorists Have Carried Out More Than x Deadly Terror Attacks Since 9/11″ (right now, x = 6264). But as both looking at the list of attacks and reading what liberal Muslims say will confirm, most of these attacks are on other Muslims. The purpose underlying the counter isn’t to highlight that the Middle East has lots of violence, but to scare Westerners into hating all Muslims, even though the number of Muslim terrorist attacks on first-world countries is scant.
It’s not surprising that in unstable regions of the world, there will be endemic terrorist attacks. In Sri Lanka, a country with 20 million people, the war between the Buddhist Sinhala government and the Hindu Tamil Tigers has killed more than 50,000 people in a little over 20 years. The LTTE doesn’t support Hindutva, but then again many Muslim terrorists aren’t Islamists, either, and many more are Islamists but have primarily nationalist rather than religious aspirations.
The website reminds me of some libertarian anti-communist rhetoric. Not content with merely showing that communism has caused mass murder, they proceed to support McCarthyism, contend that every mass murder in the last 100 years can be traced to Marxist influence, and downplay the evils of fascism and religious fundamentalism.
Look, Islamism is bad. So is bombing random countries and occupying them incompetently. There’s something totalitarian about turning opposition to one totalitarian movement into rationalization of warmongering so long as the victims are on the other side.