Maajid Nawaz writes:
The anti-Muslim terrorist attack at two mosques in New Zealand marked perhaps the lowest point for Muslim communities in the West since the Bosnia genocide. It has left no doubt that far-right extremism is on the march once more.
But the sheer human tragedy of this attack against my Muslim communities has not deterred extremists from those other two ends of our political spectrum, the far left and the theocratic Islamists, from seeking to exploit it for their own nefarious purposes.
Just as a visibly pregnant Chelsea Clinton was accosted at an NYU vigil and faced unwarranted blame for the attack, others too have found themselves caught in the unforgiving crosshairs of ideologues seeking to settle scores. This was unsurprising. If the daughter of a Democratic president and a Democratic presidential candidate was fair game, what chance would those with lesser liberal bona fides have of being spared?
Some on the left seem to be in a competition as to who can blame the most people for it. You know it has got insane, when Chelsea Clinton is being blamed.
Last month I was racially attacked in the Soho area of London. I was punched in the face as my assailant shouted “f***ing Paki”, and my forehead was punctured with an unknown object. I will probably be scarred for life. So I know how tempting it can be to succumb to the forces of vengeance and division in times like these. In my youth, as an angry 15-year-old Muslim witnessing the Bosnia genocide, I once succumbed to this temptation and promoted extreme Islamism myself for a few years. I know what giving in to hate feels like, and I know the lasting damage it can cause. But that is exactly the reaction that extremists want, and exactly why it must be resisted with all our might.
Nawaz is a former Islamist.
Opportunistic Islamist and far-left extremists began calling for a purge of people whose politics they disagree with, and started publishing McCarthyite lists of personae non grata to target.
The interesting thing in NZ is that the usual suspects have gone for the easy targets but none of them have had the balls to go after the politician who has been the most strident and consistent opponent of immigration.
After the multiple jihadist terror attacks Western cities have faced to date, it has been these same far-left and Islamist voices resisting the call to name the ideology behind these attacks as “Islamism”, and to distinguish it from the religion of Islam. They have taken the view that talking about the Islamist ideology unfairly stigmatises all Muslims. They have preferred to beseech us all to understand the grievances that fuel the anger of jihadists, and have encouraged instead ‘hug a Muslim’ campaigns. Yet, after New Zealand, these same voices paradoxically insist on directly addressing white nationalist ideology; they hounded a pregnant Chelsea Clinton; they have taken to compiling blacklists of individuals they do not like; and they are calling for the deplatforming of “right-wing” pundits and protests against “right-wing” media. Consistency has been sorely missing. This is dangerous, despicable and disingenuous. Only the extremist seeks to erase all opposition.
Extremism comes in many forms.
Just as it would be wrong to blame critics of Western foreign policy generally for jihadist terror in the West, it should be unacceptable to use this latest attack to to blame critics of Islam or immigration, or to seek to silence the political right generally. Doing so will only make matters worse and is precisely what the accused New Zealand terrorist explicitly told us he wanted, in his diatribe commonly referred to as a manifesto. In fact, there is an entire section in which [deleted by DPF] muses over pitting the American left against the American right in order to sow chaos. Falling for this trap is to allow ourselves to be trolled by a terrorist
To confuse hating all Muslims with critiquing the doctrines of Islam, is akin to confusing anti-smoking campaigns with hating all smokers.
I will do a separate post on this issue in a week or so.
Mark Steyn’s column is also a good read.