Let’s see now… how long did it take after Muslims went on a Parisian killing spree for the Islam apologist articles to start spouting up. Not very long. You can usually parse their articles and find a few types of separate Islam-apologist strategies being used:
1. No True Scotsman: The type where we’re assured the Muslims that did it weren’t real Muslims
2. Look, it’s the Goodyear blimp: The type where a lefty bloke tells us that there’s nothing to see here, it’s really just symptomatic of something else: poverty, institutional racism, not enough immigration, global warming or some other bullcrap and we should concentrate on trying to fix the bullcrap.
3. Beware the backlash: this type is the one that tries to change the focus from the murdering Muslims to the anti-Muslim backlash that still hasn’t happened.
In this specific case, many commentators seem more concerned with the possible rise of Marine Le Pen’s Front National (who have never stormed an office and murdered people or beheaded anyone) than they are with Islam (the followers of which massacre people daily).
4. Conspiracy: In this the lefty in question plants the idea that the poor little Muslims may have been framed. Probably by Front National or UKIP or Geert Wilders or some other ‘far-right’ probably white, male thing. Maybe the Klan did it, or #gamergate up to their usual tricks.
The game is how many of these strategies can you spot in the News today? Of course, the first places to look are the left-wing places: the Guardian, the New York Times, the BBC… but more fruitful may be the crazy online magazines who can’t or won’t employ people with the ability to think… Slate, Gawker, the Verge and so forth. Let’s have a quick look…. I’ve spotted a couple so far.
5: imply a conspiracy
The above tweet is by Marjory Van Den Broeke Head of the European Parliament’s Press Service implying that the killers just shouted Allah Akbar to frame Islam… she probably wants us to think they were members of Front National.
Here’s some No True Muslim plus Fear of a Backlash remarks from William Saletan, a lefty bloke, in Slate:
The fantasy of these terrorists, like those who previously bombed Charlie Hebdo and attacked a Danish cartoonist, is that they’re honoring Islam. But they aren’t. They’re disgracing it. When you murder people in the name of Allah, you fulfill the most pernicious of all Muslim stereotypes. You do so not in ink, but in blood. Your crime sows fear of all Muslims. You don’t avenge the caricature. You are the caricature.
Well, as long as these Pluralists who, apparently, ‘speak for most French Muslims’ (because Pluralism is one of the Pillars of Islam and Jihad isn’t, right?) denounce the attack, I guess that makes it alright. And unless everyone takes it easy about these not-real-Muslims killing people the really big problem of Front National getting more popular could happen. After all, if there’s anything worse than regular murderous violence from Muslims it’s a political party being elected to perform the much neglected First Duty of Government. That’s true evil!
There’s a really bizarre column in The Guardian by Suzanne Moore:
All kinds of politicians try to harness this insecurity, forming backward-looking rightwing parties that hark back to a bounded, racially pure nation: Ukip here, Le Pen in France, Pegida in Germany.
Where she got bounded, racially pure nation I don’t know. What the parties she lists want is national borders – you know, those things that used to exist and worked pretty damn well for hundreds of years until about 1965 when every politician suddenly contracted a brain disease that made them decide en mass that national borders were a bad idea. Perhaps the French would prefer France to have mainly French people in it… instead of, say, mainly Algerians. If that’s what she means by racially pure then it seems fine to me.
This article is so strange. I can’t make head nor tail of the thing. It’s all over the place. The sexist bit of my brain, when reading a thing like that, just concludes that this is how women’s brains work… but even that doesn’t explain the apparent random mix of ideology and nonsense here. A few more choice lines:
There are 1.6 billion Muslims in the world, 23% of the population. The great majority do not support the nihilist homoerotic death cult that is Isis or the offshoots of al-Qaida
That’s fine then ain’t it? Let them all in. However, a large minority of 1.6 billion can still be a lot. If 700,000,000 support Isis or the offshoots of al-Qaida that’s not a trivial number of people who want us dead. Then consider that these so called death cults are using a pretty literal interpretation of the Koran. But really anyone who interprets the rules of the Koran literally, irrelevant of if they identify with these specific groups, is probably worth keeping an eye on.
This is partly why I don’t like the fashionable terms Islamophobia or Islamofascism. It should be perfectly possible to criticise any culture that limits women without being accused of hating every Muslim. All fundamentalist religions (including those rooted in Judaism or Christianity) seek to control female sexuality
Okay… how do you think she got from 12 people murdered in Paris to Judeo-Christian religions seek to control female sexuality? I can’t grasp this at all. I guess that women’s sexuality is just more important than other people’s lives. And limiting women is worse than killing people. I think we just got to the heart of feminism.
It’s almost as if she’s struggling on the one hand to make sure we know that Islam is a peaceful and noble religion no worse than any other and that those who kill in its name do not represent it… while on the other hand trying to retain her feminist bona fides by pointing out that religions that restrict women are bad. It’s a mess. The Guardian publishes this toss and then wonders why sales plummet.
Last one for now is Tony Barber in The Financial Times. He starts with an immediate focus change:
We need to keep in mind that the worst terrorist outrage in Europe of recent years, the murder of 77 people in Norway in 2011, was committed not by Islamist militants but by a far-right fanatic, Anders Behring Breivik.
So don’t start having a go at Muslims, because Breivik is worse. The difference of course is that Muslim attacks are frequent wheras far-right fanatic attacks are not. By measuring the atrocity by number of victims, the victims-per-attack measure, if you like, Barber concludes that Breivik’s attack was ‘worse’ where he actually seems to mean that Breivik’s attack was more efficient. This is a new Islam-apologist argument: it’s the two well-trained Muslims are incompetent compared to one crazy Aryan bloke argument.
This is not in the slightest to condone the murderers, who must be caught and punished, or to suggest that freedom of expression should not extend to satirical portrayals of religion. It is merely to say that some common sense would be useful at publications such as Charlie Hebdo, and Denmark’s Jyllands-Posten, which purport to strike a blow for freedom when they provoke Muslims.
A bit contradictory, no? Freedom of expression should be extended to satirical portrayals of religion but they should use common sense… meaning what? You have Freedom of Expression but don’t use it? I’m confused.
Anyway, he’s mainly obsessed with Le Pen and that scary far-right. He ends his piece with this line:
The murders in Paris throw down a challenge to French politicians and citizens to stand up for the republic’s core values and defeat political violence without succumbing to the siren songs of the far right.
Right, and how the hell should they do that? If standing up for the republic’s core values doesn’t mean standing up for Frenchness then what does it mean? This article is even stupider than The Guardian one. All the articles seem to come down to saying one thing: don’t vote Front National. Apparently, they don’t care about anything else.
From The New York Times:
The attack left some Muslims fearing a backlash. “Some people when they think terrorism, think Muslims,” said Arnaud N’Goma, 26, as he took a cigarette break outside the bank where he works.
Samir Elatrassi, 27, concurred, saying that “Islamophobia is going to increase more and more.”
“When some people see these kinds of terrorists, they conflate them with other Muslims,” he said. “And it’s the extreme right that’s going to benefit from this.”
Do all these Journalists meet up to agree how this kind of thing will be reported? Backlash, fear of far-right, no true Muslim etc etc etc…. same stuff, different day.
CNN contributor Sally Kohn thinks the cartoonists had it coming. They shouldn’t have insulted Islam or presumed their right to free speech:
So, I guess we can expect the Islam apologetics to keep coming until the cosy multicultural status quo is reestablished. Great. Viva la France!