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A typical response by some what you might call ‘leftist’ types to Isis-inspired terrorist attacks on the West is, after the perfunctory expressions of condolences, ‘they (we) had it coming.’
There’s a modicum of truth to that. Both overt and covert military operations by Western forces have killed many innocents in the Middle East down through the years, while they have often been poorly planned and with the wrong focus/aim. Thus, to say that some people in those parts hold resentment towards ‘us’ is no grand revelation.
Yet, considering the beliefs of the fundamentalists behind the Isis attacks (and some others), no reasons other than we don’t subscribe to their way of thinking are needed to wage ‘holy war’ against the infidels. Follow the path of Muhammad or be damned, there is no middle ground. If they were to get their way, they would return us to the Dark Ages.
In our liberal world, people are entitled to believe in whatever they want to, but they are equally expected to allow others have the same freedom. It’s all about respect and tolerance. What’s more, and Western sympathisers of Islamic fundamentalism ought to bear this in mind, secular values, human rights and democracy are generally seen as pillars in progressive societies. For Muslim extremists — as it tends to be for other extremists, too — none of those pillars are given any consideration.
So while we may be cynical, as many are and with some reason, towards Western, nay US, intentions in taking control of the Middle East, it’s rather easy to be so from the comfort of a liberal, Western abode, even allowing for the odd terrorist attack and a few fundamentalists of some sort of creed in our own ‘camp’.
There was a time, when Christian Europe was in its Dark Ages, the Muslim world was leading the way in terms of mathematical, medical and scientific progress. However, instead of continued, enlightened progression, many Islamic states have been on a course of regression for the last few centuries – politically speaking if nothing else.
The hope must be that moderate, well-educated Muslims, those who align themselves with rational thought and scientific reasoning — that is to say not believing in some archaic warmongering rubbish in an old book — come to the fore.
Liberalism and what you might call Western values aren’t about to capitulate just yet. Despite the extremists’ efforts, the West is winning, so to put it. We must be careful, though, in such heightened times not to run to the extremes ourselves.
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