As a consequence of being herded by a conservatively-driven generation that precedes and deceives us, many (including myself) have been forced to brush the idea that publicly disparaging Islam is ancillary to our cultural growth, safety, and the deified codename that many of our political representatives seem to obsessively worship – “security”.
As if desperately denouncing Islam as “a religion of hate” is the only way to elicit love within the un-flushed ethical toilet bowl of Western culture. As if categorizing Islam as a fascist theocracy is the only way to prove that we are not being victimised by one. It is for this reason that after the merciless butchering of Lee Rigby, the news cycle exploded with suggestions that the reflection from Michael Adebolajo’s meat cleaver shed an illuminating light on how “they” are unequivocally bent on the destruction of western culture. And subsequently, the ashes from such suggestions pervaded our Twitter feeds bearing demands for all Muslims who live within the duplicitous confounds of the United Kingdom to be “deported”, “burned” or “murdered”. But, it didn’t. The reflection was not illuminating – it was colourless.
What has been imprudently sensationalised as “the day Baghdad-styled violence came to South London”, seemed like an all too familiar advertisement for the continuation of ignorance; simply because the violent act itself was greeted with a negligent, callous and violent response.
The karmic belief: “Whomever does an atom’s weight of good or evil will see it” (Surat 99:7-8) is firmly upheld within the Middle East. Correspondingly, many in the West frequently familiarise themselves with an identical proverb: “Whatsoever a man sow, that shall he also reap” (Galatians 6:7). So it is unsurprising that when decadence and destruction come around and rear their deathly faces, many naturally do whatever it takes to force them to come back around, regardless of whether the initial sighting of moral deterioration was in London or Kabul. “In the name of justice” the pious patriots claim, but really it is unjustifiable vengeance they seek. To this group I ask: ‘Is the excuse for ignorance inexorable?’
Many love to insecurely convince themselves that the chasm between the glamourized society we currently live in, and the uncivilised civilisation that used to revolve around an unforgiving axis called The Old Testament, is so enormous it is immeasurable. But, how can that be the truth when so many immediately turned to the degenerative phrase: “An eye for an eye, a tooth for a tooth” (Exodus 21:24) in reaction to the Woolwich Attack? Even after Lee Rigby’s murderer bellowed out those exact words to justify the homicide he had carried out just moments before. The, as Russell Brand sympathetically, yet justly called him, “severely mentally ill” man did reveal a sane truth – as long as the cynical cords of the rabid, money-driven War on Terror continue to stretch across Afghanistan, Iraq, and now possibly Syria, the universal jaws of war will remain open, and consequently, the belly of terror will relentlessly rumble.
However, this truth does not snatch the response from our tongues before we can even make one. This truth only elevates the need for us to realise that after a lost man like Michael Adebolajo unearths a merciless, to echo Brand once more, “conduit for his insanity” and decides to barbarically behead another human being, the existence of choice does not abandon us. We have a choice – a choice to either hide in a fog of rage and support the ceaseless consequences of the War on Terror, or to empathise. To empathise for the loss of Lee Rigby’s life, to empathise for the loss of Michael Adebolajo’s soul, to empathise for one another when one of us turns to a poisoned antidote prescribed by hate as a reaction to tragedy.
Actions will always have reactions, and by no means am I asking you not react to these atrocities – we need to fucking react. React by empathising. React with the uncompromising words of Mahatma Gandhi and Dr Martin Luther King Junior restlessly residing in your conscience:
“An eye for an eye makes the whole world blind.”
“Darkness cannot drive out darkness; only light can do that. Hate cannot drive out hate; only love can do that.”