Since the beginning of November there have been dozens of terrorist attacks across the globe and whilst events in Paris ,Mali and the downing of the Egyptian aircraft dominated world headlines – the slaughter of the innocent has not ceased elsewhere and the death count is rising by the day.
November has thus far seen over 327 deaths (excluding approx. 25 terrorists) and almost 1000 injured in high profile attacks and we are only twenty two days into the month.
The vast majority of these attacks have been carried out by Islamic extremists , primarily Islamic State & Boko Haram and between them they are responsible for a staggering 80% of all victims ( Approx. 280 deaths and over 950 injured, including life changing injuries.
These figures do not take into account the countless innocent victims of the ongoing , multi player conflict that is tearing parts of Syria & Iraq apart and the genocidal philosophy of Islamic State and their ever shifting partners in their quest for a single Islamic Nation.
But what has all this to do with religion and God , I hear you ask.
Not a lot in my opinion!
Growing up in loyalist West Belfast I was born into an environment where prejudice and mistrust of our catholic counterparts was engrained into the very foundations of our culture and traditions.
Until I was old enough to know better , I hated all Catholics with equal measure. And many Catholics in Northern Ireland hated all Protestants with equal measure. In my childhood ignorance I assumed all Catholics were members of the IRA and other republican terrorist groups and I wished them all dead or at least “kicked ” down South were they rightly belonged.
In my world they were responsible for the savage conflict that was tearing Northern Ireland apart and they were drenched in the blood of innocent.
I hated them all with a passion
I grew up surrounded by loyalist paramilitaries and some of the most dangerous men that have ever walked the streets of the UK were my neighbours and members and associates of my wider family. Like the vast majority of the community I lived in my day to day life was governed by the men of violence and they both policed the local population and protected us from the IRA and other republican terrorists.
When news came through of the assassination of a republican or one of their supporters , I celebrated with the rest of the community and we mourned collectively when one of our own died whilst “fighting” for queen and country. Although in truth they were probably more likely to die as a result of the ever present internal feuds that littered the history of loyalist paramilitaries.
Although on the whole the local community supported and harboured the paramilitaries that lived and operated among us , universal support was never achieved and many in the loyalist community wanted nothing to do with the men of violence and their brutal tit for tat killings of innocent Catholics, each other and anyone else that got in their way.
But they were part of our daily lives and although we could ignore them and sometimes disagree with their methods, we were inextricable linked to them and sadly judge guilty through association.
But not all loyalists and republicans were blood thirsty psychopaths and despite the bad press the majority were law abiding citizens that wanted nothing more than to live in peace and make the best of what life threw at them.
In many ways the mainstream Muslim community of the UK & wider world are also being judge guilty through association , for the heinous crimes of IS and other Islamic extremists. Regardless of how may times we are reminded that Islam is a religion of peace , Islamic extremists mock this concept with their daily slaughter and all carried out in the name of Islam and the quest for a single Islamic state.
The fact of the matter is that Islamic State’s ideology is based on a version of Islam and the reported sayings of the prophet Muhammad . Their twisted interpretation of the Qur’an is wide open to misinterpretation and is fuelled by violent verses & the call for the death of all none believers and the establishment of a..err , an Islamic Sate.
Mainstream Muslim’s are quick to defend Islam and label all negative references to their religion as prejudice and racist. They are quick to protest if their faith is under attack and in our country that is their democratic right.
And yet they have done too little in public to express solidarity with the victims in Paris and others slaughtered in recent days in the name of Islam.
All British Muslims are under the spotlight at the moment and the religion of Islam is being dragged through the dirt by extremist and their twisted ideology. The Muslim community needs to stand up and be counted and show the rest of the UK that they stand with us against the merchants of death and hate.
They need to show us that mainstream Islam REALLY is a religion of peace and they need to route out the hate preachers and others in their communities that wish to bring death and destruction to the streets of the UK and mainland Europe.
Until then they may find themselves isolated and ostracized by large parts of the UK public and that is sadly a fact of life in the maelstrom of religious violence that is currently sweeping the globe and slaughtering the innocent.
This post was originally published on the author’s personal blog on 22 November 2015 https://belfastchildis.wordpress.com/2015/11/22/muslims-nned-to/