On this day in 1983, the IRA exploded a car bomb at Harrods department store in London. Six people were killed and 90 others were injured. I wouldn’t bring it up, but I am constantly amazed at how many people are unfamiliar with the Troubles and the fact that it was largely a Catholic movement. Now I’m sure that intellects as great as Bill Maher would tell me that I’m wrong about it being a religious conflict — that it was much more complex than that.
The things is: I agree! It was more complex than that. It was a political fight based as much on Irish nationalism than anything else. It was also explicitly a reaction to UK rule and some bad policy. And I’m sure I would agree with Maher and his ilk about most other conflicts the world has ever seen. Where we disagree is regarding Muslim terrorism. In that regard, Maher has a convenient exception for our current official enemies. For that, it is all about the religion!
According to the Report of the Defense Science Board Task Force on Strategic Communication (pdf) in 2004, it ain’t about religion, “The overwhelming majority voice their objections to what they see as one-sided support in favor of Israel and against Palestinian rights, and the longstanding, even increasing support for what Muslims collectively see as tyrannies, most notably Egypt, Saudi Arabia, Jordan, Pakistan, and the Gulf states.”
I think the reason I find this so annoying is because what is said about the Muslims today is what was said about the Soviets when I was growing up. The point seems to be that I was growing up. Over time, I got to see that the Soviets had certain interests that they were pursuing. It wasn’t that they wanted worldwide domination. They were just another country pursuing what they thought was their best interests. And so we see the very same thing with Muslims. You could go point by point and compare.
My question for the Bill Mahers and Sam Harrises of the world is why they haven’t managed to learn this basic fact about people. But notice: I’m interested in why they haven’t learned this. I’m not interested in yet another apologist to explain why they are right to not have learned this lesson. I’ve heard it all before and it is exhausting without a hint of illumination.