Saturday, October 16, 2010

Muslim Terrorists, is it PC ?

In this clip below Bill O’Reilly reacts last night to the controversy surrounding his appearance on The View. He articulates his position on why he believes it is appropriate to refer to the 9/11 attacks as an atrocity carried out by Muslims, while not making the distinction that they were extremists.



My View
America was attacked by Muslim terrorists on 9/11. Madrid was attacked by Muslim terrorists in March 2003. London was attacked by Muslim terrorists in July 2005. Of this there is no doubt. But I do understand how the constant reference to Muslim and Islamic terrorism can alienate moderate people. By alienate I mean it can disenchant, I do not except that it is any kind of rational for a moderate person to be pushed toward extremism. I can understand because I am Irish and the IRA committed many acts of terrorism in my name. I always opposed the armed struggle unreservedly but the phrase Irish terrorism does not sit well with me on the rare occasion that it is used. My home town Dublin was attacked in the 1970’s by loyalist protestant terrorists. They are generally referred to as loyalist terrorists. I could understand how decent protestant people might resent if the emphasis were continually put on the word protestant even though they were, and even though they committed savage acts of terrorism in the name of the "protestant state" of Northern Ireland. Regarding Muslim terrorism, there is no need to make this point continuously. It is never wise to unnecessarily (unnecessarily being the important word) anger the Muslim masses particularly if it is just for flag waving cheer leading right wing pundits on fox news , who love a bit of controversy for ratings purposes and who will never have come face to face with the consequences of terrorism, that is left for the allied soldier. I simply don’t buy this line being put forward by the right that, “if we cant identify them we cant fight them”. To me language is not that important when it come to confronting Islamic extremism, all right thinking people know what it is.

10 comments:

Gary said...

Ted,
I am one of the first to complain about being "politically correct" all the time. The simple fact is that we were and continue to be attacked by fanatics who are Muslim and calling them that should not be a problem. Having said that, I have a very close friend who is Muslim and he appreciates it when we make the point of differentiating these fanatics from Muslims in general. So for me at least it is just a matter of good manners to do it as much as anything else.

Paul said...

Again though the fact remains that Islamic Jihadists call themselves that. So whilst 'Muslim terrorists' may be unfair (as it refers to all of the adherents of that ideology, I have a problem calling Islam a religion). It is surely wise and fair to call them 'Islamic terrorists'. A good reason for doing so is the ongoing denial amongst large sections of Muslim communities that Muslims are responsible for acts such as 9/11 and others.

The references to 'Irish terrorism' are fair but a bit of target. I'm not sure I see the relevance, Loyalists were Ulster (or even British) terrorists and republicans were Irish terrorists so what? The scape-goating of communities is unfair but it would never happen without the criminal acts in the first place.

Ted Leddy said...

Gary

Fair point. Personally I have no problem saying that America was attacked by Muslims on 9/11. Furthermore, as O'Reilly said, I also believe that there is a problem internally with the Muslim world and that only some sort of Islamic reformation will resolve all these problems we are having. But given the fact that it is counterproductive to unnecessarily alienate people I believe we should be more careful with our language.

Ted Leddy said...

Paul

"A good reason for doing so is the ongoing denial amongst large sections of Muslim communities that Muslims are responsible for acts such as 9/11 and others".

A very good point. If nothing else it reminds Muslims that people commit acts of mass murder in the name of Islam.

As for Islam not being a religion. Its a theological debate I would rather avoid. Don't know my stuff.

On Ireland, the IRA committed terrorist acts on behalf of Irish Catholics, the loyalists on behalf of British protestants. I don't ever remember it being much of an issue but I'm sure both Catholics and Protestants preferred the emphasis to be put on the words Republican or Loyalist rather than Irish/catholic or British/Protestant.

I do however remember that in a previous discussion with you about the Anglo Irish war (1919-21), you objected to Black n Tans and Auxiliaries being described as British soldiers. Surely a similar objection to " us all being painted with the one brush".

Gary said...

Ted,
Having observed a small Muslim student community here at one of our Universities I have come to the conclusion that one of the problems is a much greater fear of peer pressure in their community then we would see in other social or religious groups. Part of that, I believe, is due to the simple fact that they avoid discussing the subject and honestly do not know how each individual feels. It is kind of like attending a dinner party with liberals and conservatives and knowing it is best to avoid talking politics.... It is not going to improve until they start examining their true feelings openly and honestly.

Paul said...

'you objected to Black n Tans and Auxiliaries being described as British soldiers. Surely a similar objection to " us all being painted with the one brush".

Not at all it was a call for clarity, I would have no problem describing the Black and Tans as acting under British authority (and therefore British Forces). However they were never British soldiers, they were never at any stage enlisted members of the British Army. That is significant, as the British Army held them in disdain (read British voices of the war of Independence a good read). I believe I used the analogy of Backwater USA in Iraq as an example of a similar contemporary relationship.

I offered no apologia for the behaviour of the B and T's. They fought fire with fire (I had an elderly aunt who remembered them), Just clarification, if you called them British Soldiers in a courtroom you would be incorrect.

Ted Leddy said...

Gary

Self examination of ones own "group" is not easy. I believe a major factor in Ireland's change to a modern pluralistic democracy, with a vibrant economy was self examination. We stopped blaming the Brits for everything and recognised that our own introverted victim mentality was contributing to our underachievement. The Arab world needs to do the same on a much larger scale. It takes a brave person in any setting to get the ball rolling.

Ted Leddy said...

Paul

Fair enough, but I'm sure you see my point, as a former British soldier you would object to misdeeds being committed by associates of British forces as tarnishing the forces in general. Surely this reinforces my principal point, that an effort should be made to make distinctions.

Perhaps the UDR would be a better example. They collaborated with loyalist paramilitaries on several occasions, the most notorious of which was probably the Miami Show Band murders.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Miami_Showband_killings

The UDR were British soldiers, but they were Ulster Protestants who clearly had sectarian motives. Should a distinction be made between them and regular British Soldiers ?

Paul said...

'The Arab world needs to do the same on a much larger scale. It takes a brave person in any setting to get the ball rolling. '

Both you and Gary have made this point, extolling the need for Islamic communities to be introspective. It will never happen; they have a shame culture rather than a western guilt one. Such cultural changes are possible, Japan went from a shame culture to a guilt one post 1945. But look what it took to achieve that?

Furthermore if you look critically at the Islamic religion itself, which a Muslim is unable to do out of societal and cultural pressures (you could be killed for insulting the 'prophet') there is much to be critical of. But a huge fear attached to criticising it. There is no parallel with Catholicism or Protestantism. An English or Irish Catholic would have feared being shunned by family if they had said the things Pat Condell regularly says nowadays. They would not have been killed however.

'The UDR were British soldiers, but they were Ulster Protestants who clearly had sectarian motives. Should a distinction be made between them and regular British Soldiers ?'

No they were soldiers of the crown. Although they also colluded with republicans on occasion. The regiment when first established, recruited heavily from both communities. However a fundamental flaw was a lack of proper vetting due to a desire to recruit quickly and inadequate intelligence procedures. Once the supply of Catholic recruits dried up and the Provos murdered hundreds of UDR soldiers in what were little more than sectarian killings. The result was inevitable. The part-time element in my opinion should have been disbanded but I can't re-write history.

Ted Leddy said...

Paul

"It will never happen; they have a shame culture rather than a western guilt one".

This is probably true, but I believe there in an exception in Iran. Maybe its a Persian thing or maybe its a Shia thing, I don't know but Iranian reformists have shown a remarkable willingness to address some sensitive issues about Islam head on. This is true even of some prominent clerics, a few of whom have even called for an Islamic reformation.

Who knows, if a successful Iranian revolution based on the principles of Islamic reformation took hold, it could spread around the Arab world, just like the ideals of the 1979 revolution influenced many jihadist movements around the world.

Sound analysis of the UDR. My mother is from rural Co Derry. She married my father and moved down to Dublin in 1969. She never experienced the troubles. In fact she never understood them as she had good relations with her Protestant neighbours. The one exception were the B-Specials who she claims constantly intimidated the Catholics in her area. Once the B-Specials were disbanded many members joined the UDR. Allowing this to happen was clearly a blunder.