Facebook is an interesting beast. Even though I live in China, I am connected with friends, family, and people I have met a couple of times. I can post a picture of whatever junk food I am eating for supper, and laugh about my lack of healthy lifestyle choices. I can also see what is going on with these people, at least whatever they are willing to share. The world is a smaller place than it would have been 100, 50, or 25 years ago coming to China.
The point of this post isn’t technology though. Rather a specific trend I see on my Facebook News Feed. Whenever something terrible happens which involves the word Muslim [perpetrator], my News Feed is jam packed with some the most hateful, vile, filthy, racist (and/or) bigoted trash the internet can host. “Can you believe what these such and suches are doing now,” “They are all monsters,” “Hateful words contained within, because the writer of this post has hate dwelling deep in their heart,” and so forth.
Whenever the exact same thing happens, but doesn’t include above buzz word, my News Feed remains (relatively) silent on the topic. It is almost as if the mindset is, “Well, if the same thing is happening without my favourite hated group being responsible, then it hurts my argument. I’d better not share this.”
Now, there are several examples I could jump to for this, but the one I will use as a reference point is the most recent which showed up in my News Feed a single time:
“It’s here… http://www.theblaze.com/stories/2014/10/29/report-man-brutally-beheads-woman-in-new-york-before-jumping-in-front-of-train/”
I just went to the story, and the comment section (You will never find a more wretched hive of scum and villainy than a comment section) is full of jihad, and anti-muslim rhetoric, for about 2 days. Then when the story turns out to be not extremist related, the comments stop.
The short form of the story is this. Derek Ward was mentally unstable. He was in need of meds, but could not get a refill. He had been off the meds for 4 days, and was 2 days away from seeing the doctor who would give him an appointment. He snapped, killed his mother brutally, desecrated her remains in the street after beheading her (kicked her decapitated head across the street), and then committed suicide by train. It was so gruesome, people who saw the aftermath assumed anything this bad had to be a Halloween decoration which crossed a line. It wasn’t. It was dirty, disgusting, and a downright shame. A shame it happened, a shame he wasn’t able to get his meds back in time, a shame there is not a stronger mental health care system in place to help people who need it.
I cannot say how much coverage this story received in North America (Once again, I’m in China), but I do know the people who love to post about beheadings, and paint an entire group of people with a wide brush based on the actions of a few, let this one fall between the cracks. I am sure it is because it doesn’t fit the narrative they want to paint with these actions. To put it crudely, they don’t want to water down the brand.
You cannot paint any group of people based on the actions of the fringe element. It isn’t fair. The vast majority of Islamic people are peaceful, loving, caring, kind, giving, and all manner of niceness. Are there people who do terrible things in the religion’s name, certainly. Does it mean the religion itself is to blame, certainly not.
Christianity for example (I will pick on us, because it is my home) certainly has fringe elements. I am not going back to the terror days of Middle Ages, I am talking modern terms here. Christians, if they are in the right place are loving, giving, kind, generous, wonderful, Love God, love others sort of people (Greatest commandments are these, Love God, love others). It would be a crying shame for those who put their time and effort into following Jesus by doing all these things, if they were painted with the same brush as Christianity’s crazy cousins, who go by the same name.
– There are guerrilla groups around the globe who claim Christian roots/morals/right for their fight, they of course ignore the parts to not kill, pillage, plunder, loot, and rape though.
– Christians against abortions went pretty down and dirty with bombings, murder, attempted murder, kidnapping, and other methods of violence.
– KKK’d like to call themselves Christian, and they certainly like to kill, beat, and put the fear of god into people, if those people aren’t white, and think they can live in their neighbourhoods.
(Google Christian violence/terrorism and you will find many ancient, and modern examples. Just like with any topic, be sure your source isn’t bigoted)
Christianity has been used in the name of power, control, and all manners of terrible things over the years. Most people recognize these are exceptions, and not the rule of Christianity. They are ignoring the core of Jesus’ teaching, and instead have latched onto hate, and murder/violence. If you expect (and rightly so) people differentiate fringe elements from the core elements of your religion, then you need to extend the same courtesy. Get off the fear mongering train, and see the situation for what it is, a dangerous element separate from the larger group.
“We feel ashamed to call our Christian and Yazidi friends, and I feel I cannot even phone them any more, as if it was me or one of my family or friends that committed those heinous crimes against them.
I decided not to talk or salute any IS member who occupies a Christian house near me, and I cannot bear to look at their evil faces.” ~ Islamic State: Diary of life in Mosul