Are Islam beliefs to blame for the Paris attacks? This phrase has picked up a lot of steam on search engines in the U.S. and other Western countries since the horrific events of November 13.
At this point, it’s known that the Islamic State (ISIS) has taken responsibility for the attacks, though the investigation is still ongoing, and President Obama has worked hard to segregate ISIS from the religion in statements on the subject.
There is evidence that at least one of the attackers has been linked to Syrian refugees, CNN reports, though again, the investigation is ongoing.
While some feel it’s too early to make definitive statements, others — particularly on the political right — have no problem placing blame on Islam beliefs.
Everyone from Donald Trump to Marco Rubio is weighing in, claiming the U.S. “is at war with radical Islam.”
A viral expose on ISIS from the Atlantic offers some fuel to the fire on that line of thinking, even going as far as suggesting that it’s false to say ISIS is “not Islamic.”
In tackling the desire of the Western political left to separate Islam from ISIS, the Atlantic journalist Graeme Wood wrote that it’s “reassuring to know that the vast majority of Muslims have zero interest in replacing Hollywood movies with public executions as evening entertainment.”
However, he continued, “Muslims who call the Islamic State un-Islamic are typically, as the Princeton scholar Bernard Haykel, the leading expert on the group’s theology, told me, ’embarrassed and politically correct, with a cotton-candy view of their own religion’ that neglects ‘what their religion has historically and legally required.’ “
“Many denials of the Islamic State’s religious nature, he said, are rooted in an ‘interfaith-Christian-nonsense tradition,’ ” Wood added.
That said, Ben Norton of Salon is having none of it.
On the topic of blaming Islam beliefs for the Paris attacks, Norton had a new culprit to accuse — the United States.
Norton, in a piece for the site entitled, “Our terrorism double standard: After Paris, let’s stop blaming Muslims and take a hard look at ourselves,” Norton argues that there isn’t really a difference in what happened on November 13 in Paris and what the U.S. does when it commits airstrikes in the Middle East.
“The West frequently acts as though it is the principal victim, but the exact contrary is true,” he writes. “Never interrogated is why exactly are so many refugees fleeing the Middle East and North Africa. It is not like millions of people want to leave their homes and families; they are fleeing violence and chaos — violence and chaos that happens to almost always be the result of Western military intervention.”
The point is a controversial one as evidenced in the comments flying in on the site itself.
Typically playing to a left-leaning audience, Salon usually has more support for an op-ed like Norton’s than disagreement.
Not so here.
In fact, one commenter, who acknowledges that they are liberal on “most every issue,” took Norton to task for equating the two.
“As someone who is liberal and progressive on so many issues,” the commenter noted, he said that he couldn’t stand the “let’s look in the mirror and figure out what we are doing wrong” type articles.
“ISIS and al-Qaeda are evil, psychopathic terrorist organizations that want the entire world to become an Islamic caliphate. That is the whole story here,” he added.
A clear majority of the 1,000 or so comments the article has received thus far agreed. To hear everything that Norton has to say, check out the link here.
And what do you think about blaming Islam beliefs for what happened in Paris — unfair or correct?