Thursday, 23 May 2013

One of Many – A Single Face for the Masses

The recent events (explained here if you are unaware what happened) in London are horrible. However, whilst brutal murder is terrible and frightening, I cannot help but feel that some of the reactions to it have filled me with greater disgust. After the media identified the responsible party as “Islamic” (I, as they, use the term somewhat liberally), social media sites, Facebook, Twitter, all the usual culprits, were set alight with the number of posts and tweets concerning the events. Fair enough, right? A terrible act has provoked a great response. However, the number of posts which were hideously racist was appalling.

I thought it was obvious that the actions of the few do not represent the attitudes of the many. Simply put, why does anyone find it at all reasonable to make such damning and offensive comments about individuals from another nation or religion because two men committed such a horrible act? Naturally, this is a wider problem than just yesterday’s events. The Media has a despicable trend of portraying Islam and those who follow it as being alien to us and being fundamentally different. They highlight the differences between “us” and “them”, even using such language to divide us.

Take a look at this:

Turns out, certainly from an American perspective, though I doubt that the situation is radically different here in the UK, Islamic terrorists are massively in the minority. You can trust these statistics, or you can ignore them, but either way, they present a rather different perspective. Also, should they be correct, I think they cast a great blanket of suspicion over the media. I cannot recall the last time I heard of a terrorist attack on the UK news (yes, BBC, I’m looking at you) in which the words “Islamic” and “Extremist” are not consistently used, even if only in speculation.

I thought we had learnt the lesson not to judge a large (if not massive) category of people based on the actions of the few. It becomes racist when you judge, for example, every Muslim or every individual from a Middle Eastern country because two individuals within that category did something, no matter how terrible that thing might have been. If you must judge another person, though I would not encourage that, even though we all do it to some extent, you should at least judge them based on what matters. What matters is what that individual does and, secondly to that, what they believe.

A single action, when perpetrated by two individuals, does not serve to stain the reputation of all of Islam. If you think that this action gives you or anybody else the right to spew racist slurs and comments, you are sorely mistaken. That is never justified.

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