In an opinion piece titled “Radical Islam and going forward in the wake of Charlie Hebdo” Alex Ellis was purporting to discuss how we can deal with terrorism and Radical Islam in the 21st Century, however, I think the reckless disregard of the reality of terrorism in the world today deserved a written response.
Before I do that I first must declare my friendship and deep respect of Alex. I didn’t tell him I was writing this and I feel as though I owe a certain… adulation of sorts. I usually enjoy and appreciate his candid and unbarred approach to the particular topic within his pieces; regrettably this was not the case here.
While I do not deny the very real threat of radical Islam, I only ask that we are honest about it. According to data compiled from the FBI, US State Department and Europol, the majority of terrorism around the world are committed or motivated by Separatists; so then why this almost exclusive obsession with only Islamist Extremists? Media, in its unrelenting quest of sensationalism, is part to blame and perhaps the fact that the four single largest terrorist organizations in the world are Islamic Extremist groups, a fact correctly cited by Alex, could also play part; but is there something else that I am missing?
Alex stated that the Charlie Hebdo terrorist attack was the “worst terrorist attack in Europe since 1995” and I was hoping he could clarify why he failed to take into account the tragic Norwegian terrorist attack of 2011, which left 77 dead and well over 300 injured (mostly youth); this being far more deadly than Charlie Hebdo I can’t possibly imagine how he could have simply forgotten it. Does he fail to mention it because the perpetrator, Anders Breivik a Norwegian Separatist, was described as a right-wing Christian extremist with a hatred towards Muslims? I have far too much respect for Alex to believe that, but it does beg the question; why the apparent error?
What about the claim that “Christianity was able to reform, secularize, and end its violent ways” I know it’s a highly sensitive dialogue to have, especially here, but why go as far as to claim the outlandish? Did you again forget the aforementioned terrorist attack? What about other Christian right-wing extremist terrorist acts including the Wisconsin Sikh Temple massacre of 2012, the murder of Dr. George Tiller in 2012, the Centennial Olympic Park bombing in ’96, I could go one but one simply can’t list them all. It appears to me that there is seemingly a disturbing pattern here; are these brash omissions and claims deliberate? Again I have too much respect for Alex to believe that, so then again why the error? I honestly don’t know the answers, these are questions only Alex can answer (and I hope he will). While I’ll admit that these may be harsh words, I think you’ll agree that it’s a warranted call for dialogue.
In closing, if we wish to garner understanding and peace, then we must all stand in solidarity with those affected by terrorism and other crimes against Humanity, in whatever shape and form that it may present itself. We must work with our fellow beings and spread ideals common to our Humanity; those of liberty, equality, dignity, fairness, tolerance, freedom of speech, freedom of expression, social accountability and social cohesion. If we do these things, we may well be on our way to a better world for us all.