Writing for the Independent today, leading global security expert Andrew MacLeod calls for a measured response in the wake of the Brussels bombings. He issues a strong warning against condemning all Muslims, most of whom are moderate and law-abiding. ‘We want to defeat those who attacked us – but who is the “us”, and who is the “them”? Is it the moderates of all religions against the radicals of all religions? Or is it the West against all Muslims?’.
Andrew cites the similarities across Christian, Jewish and Muslim beliefs – all of whose mainstream interpretations reject violence – by pointing out that Muslims rank Jesus as one of their most important prophets, second only to Mohammed. He argues that if we can accept the recent terror attacks in Brussels do not represent Christian or Jewish beliefs – and by extension Muslim beliefs too – then why do we find it so hard to accept that most Muslims also reject violence?
Andrew argues that we find ourselves at a crossroads in the fight against extremism. How we respond to these attacks could determine whether our enemy will consist of a relatively small group of extremists, or the whole of Islam. His view is that ‘alienating Islam as a system of beliefs would make an enemy of 1.6 billion people – most of whom condemn the terrorists’.
Since many times more Muslims than Westerners are dying at the radicals’ hands, Andrew asks us to reconsider our stance. ‘Should “they” join “our” war, or should we be joining theirs?’ If we alienate all Islam, all we are doing is pushing the moderates into the welcoming arms of the radicals.
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