Flat White

Islam, the new normal – and the new bigotry

3 August 2016

8:03 AM

3 August 2016

8:03 AM

The desire to absolve Islam from any wrongdoing, and to distract their constituents can sometimes be fun to watch. Lest the details get in the way, the BBC ran a headline last week “Syrian migrant dies in German blast.” Of course, the Syrian migrant was a suicide bomber, and the German blast (Deutschesprengen, anyone?) emanated from the bomb in his backpack. Sometimes, however, it must be said, the attack is genuinely Nothing To Do With Islam, and after an incorrect religious prediction about what happened at Merrylands Police Station a fortnight ago I made my mea culpa here.

But these days it’s not even enough that an attack is Nothing To Do With Islam. Western civilization, if not Christianity specifically must be positively identified as the culprit, even when such a proposition is preposterous, and even when they don’t even pretend to apply the same standards as they would to, say, a certain Religion of Peace. This was first published on the Spectator Australia Facebook page on December 5, 2015, after the tragic murder of three people outside an Colorado Springs:

Anti-abortion terrorism? Perhaps. Christian terrorism? Hardly:

It’s finally happened. The shooting that the Left has been fantasising about: white guy – presumed Christian – shoots up an abortion clinic, killing three. It’s two for the price of one for Obama and his band of useful idiots: not only can they play the gun control card, as tired as it’s becoming, but they also have the once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to show that terrorism is not just a Muslim phenomenon, but that it really is conducted by “extremists, of whatever religion.” Okay, so perhaps it’s not once-in-a-lifetime, but it is once in a decade. Back in January, only days after the Charlie Hebdo massacre, Channel 7’s Sunrise program hosted a debate of sorts between its host Andrew O’Keefe and Iranian-Australian journalist Rita Panahi, the latter being so bigoted as to suggest that maybe the Paris massacre had something to do with Islam. O’Keefe’s secret weapon: the moral equivalence of Islamists and Christian abortion-bombers.

“But … every time a bunch of fundamentalist Christians in the U.S. bomb an abortion clinic … do we hold every Christian in the world to account for that?” he asked smugly, before pontificating that “Bombing an abortion clinic is an act of terrorism based upon your religious belief.” Panahi, however, was having none of it: “When’s the last time an abortion clinic was bombed, Andrew, by Christians?” O’Keefe had no idea, although I’m sure he’d have come up with an answer if the question was “when was the last time Islamic terrorists or militants killed innocent people?” But on live TV, he sat there, still looking smug, Googling on his phone before he chimed in again: “On abortion clinic bombings, the last one was in 2009.

Okay, okay, if we are going to say that last week’s shooting in an American abortion clinic falls into that category, it’s not quite once in a decade, but you see the point. We’re talking about an incredibly rare, although admittedly not unheard of, type of terrorism. But was it terrorism at all? Who knows? Not the public. Not the media. And probably, at this stage, not even the investigating police.

Here’s what they do know. Robert Lewis Dear murdered three people outside an abortion clinic in Colorado Springs. Nine others were injured. Only one of the deceased was positively connected to the clinic (a friend of a prospective client), the other two being a passer-by and a police officer from a nearby university who was one of the first to respond. Dear was a loner who had recently moved to the state from North Carolina. He lived in a run-down campervan on five acres in a remote, marijuana-growing area with a woman and two Alsatians, but without running water, sewer or electricity. He has previously been charged with domestic violence, peeping tom, and animal cruelty offences. Apparently, he was disinterested in politics in either direction, and was certainly unknown to any of the main pro-life groups that meet in Colorado Springs and pray outside the clinic. Which accounts for his being registered as politically “unaffiliated.” It doesn’t explain, however, why the unkempt, bearded man was registered to vote as a woman. A diagnosis of mental illness might explain that.

The truth is we have no idea why Dear did what he did. Anti-abortion violence is incredibly rare, but this may not be anti-abortion violence at all. Even the abortion clinic’s proprietors, Planned Parenthood, have changed the wording of their media release from “domestic terrorism” (and the political, religious or ideological motivation it implies) to “acts of violence.”

We also know that Obama has used the tragedy to not only call for gun control, but also to question the consciences of anyone who doesn’t. Recall, of course, that the President recently cited Australia’s gun control laws, and particularly the amnesty and buy-back, as a possible way forward for the United States. The very next day 15-year old Farhad Khalil Mohammad Jabar killed a police employee outside NSW Police Headquarters. If it was easy enough for young Farhad – with, we are assured by his moderate family, no criminal connections or propensity for violence – to get hold of an illegal weapon, does Obama really think that a buy-back scheme will result in the hillbillies of Colorado surrendering their arsenals? Of course not, but for a guy that says he supports the Second Amendment and likes to be photographed shooting a shotgun, this is a neat trick to assuage his own conscience, and signal his own moral purity.

And there’s one more thing that we know for certain. Dear wasn’t a Christian. The Guardian has been busy linking the shooting to the city’s reputation as a “centre of right-wing Christian culture” and “a playground for pro-life, pro-gun evangelical Christians,” but then the Guardian would. It may end up that this attack was in fact anti-abortion terrorism, but it wasn’t Christian terrorism. After the most recent Islamic terrorist attack in Paris, it took about four minutes for high ranking Imams and other Islamic to get themselves into semantic trouble over their implicit sympathy for the terrorists. But where are the Christian leaders in the same boat? Where are the churches that promote this type of killing? Where’s the PDF bomb-making manuals published not by ISIS but by the Southern Baptist Convention? Where are the bishops making excuses for this kind of evil? The answer, of course, is that they are nowhere to be found.

Of course, The Guardian will now send some journalism graduate to the bad lands of Arkansas to report on a wacky, unaffiliated church with a fortified compound, and 52 redneck members, all with bad teeth and the same surname, but that proves the point. No actual, orthodox church or denomination would want anything to do with such losers. In 1994 the late Cardinal John O’Connor, arguably one of America’s most articulate and ardent pro-life campaigners told his New York congregation, “If anyone has an urge to kill someone at an abortion clinic, they should shoot me. … It’s madness. It discredits the right-to-life movement. Murder is murder. It’s madness. You cannot prevent killing by killing.” Obama and O’Keefe can say what they want about mythical Christian pro-life terrorists as they try and distract us from Islamic terrorism or baby parts videos, but this is the consistent message, not only from churches, but also secular pro-life groups, pro-life politicians, and the right-wing media.

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