Paris, San Bernardino & Double Standards

Double Standard

In the wake of slaughters in Paris and San Bernardino, a wave of Islamophobia is sweeping our country. The killings have revived charges that Islam is an inherently violent religion.

Given their sources, the charges are obscene.

That’s because they are almost invariably made by “Christians” who are among the strongest supporters of spending $2 billion per day (!) on the military. They love holy wars that have (among others) specifically targeted Muslims for the last 60 years.

Back in 1954, the Christians’ government overthrew a democratically elected head of a Muslim state in favor of a brutal puppet, Reza Palavi. There followed a 25 year reign of terror in Iran, whose 1979 revolution inspired and empowered Muslim resisters across the planet.

Additionally the government of these Christians unconditionally supports Israel, a state which since 1948 has evicted Muslims from their ancestral homes in Palestine killing tens of thousands in the process. The majority of U.S. Christians not only support Israel in general (often on religious grounds), but even its possession of a vast arsenal of nuclear “weapons of mass destruction.”

In response, angered Muslims have used box cutters, stones, sling shots, primitive IEDs and rockets, (along, one day, with hijacked planes) to defend themselves and counter-attack against forces that have declared a perpetual war against them.

Why this condemnation of violence by impoverished Muslims alongside virtual worship of the “Gods of Metal” by rich Christians? The answer lies in Muhammad’s attitude towards war.

Like the vast majority of Christians since the 4th century, and along with virtually all the prophets of the Jewish Testament, Muhammad was not a pacifist. Instead he was a proponent of just war theory. In fact, he pioneered the theory’s development far ahead of its Christian proponents. Following its dictates and common sense, he insisted that the poor have the right to self-defense.

That’s what makes Islam so threatening to the West. It wants no part of people who defend themselves against western depredations. Meanwhile western powers themselves claim not only the right of self-defense but even the prerogative of “preemptive strikes.”

What the West expects in return on the part of those attacked – especially if the attacked are “religious” – is a pacifism that for more than seventeen hundred years has never been a major part of “Christendom’s” belief system. On the contrary, western Christians tend to ridicule pacifists as unrealistic, unpatriotic, even cowardly “bleeding hearts.”

No, the West wants an enemy that simply rolls over for colonialism (in Israel), wars of aggression (in Iraq), policies of torture and illegal imprisonment (in Guantanamo), drone strikes, mass killings of innocent civilians, support of unpopular dictators, rigged elections, and a host of other crimes. And when religious people defend themselves, westerners cry “foul” and consider themselves blameless victims.

Paris and San Bernardino should not surprise us. Barring mass conversion of blood thirsty “Christians,” more is on the way.

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Mike Rivage-Seul's Blog

Emeritus professor of Peace & Social Justice Studies. Liberation theologian. Activist. Former R.C. priest. Married for 45 years. Three grown children. Six grandchildren.

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