Manchester. Another city added to the list of horrific attacks by individuals, usually men, who have been misguided into thinking their actions are somehow a salve for whatever torments them, or helpful to those suffering occupation and the terror of non-distinguishing “smart bombs” dropped in the tens of thousands on the homes of innocents. Also bewildering is the tenuous allegiance paid by attackers such as Salman Abedi to groups like ISIS and AlQaeda; whose bastardized modernist twisting of theology and law is no solution to grievances but only compounds and entrenches the multi-dimensional challenges and problems faced by Muslims. It takes God out of the center of din (way of life) and replaces it with jihad. When the hoped for victory is not achieved it often results in greater resentment, extremism and blind victimhood.
We have known that attacks of this kind do not end the vicious cycle of bloodletting but only feed it. The explosive growth industry of the field of “terror studies” and its ties to power, both governmental and non-governmental means that there is little incentive or effort to truly understand what causes “extremism” (aside from a handful of scholars and specialists) beyond the problematic radicalization models that lead to programs such as PREVENT and CVE. Statistics highlighting that the nebulously defined category of so-called “Islamic terrorism” is less of a threat than dying in car accidents, or of an allergic reaction to peanuts is of no comfort, since Islamophobia is tied to existential and emotional concerns about the decline of Christianity, challenge to white supremacy and rise of minority groups, especially Muslim populations. Rational thinking doesn’t enter the equation.
This is not to say that imperialism cannot and should not be resisted but that the contemporary movements that are wreaking havoc are clearly not the way to respond to the challenge. Any resistance and liberation from the dominant paradigms however must be rooted not only in socio-economic terms but foremost in an authentic and spiritually grounded ethos.
Despite the hysteria and exploitation by the usual fear merchants: Katie Hopkins who tweeted for a “Final Solution,” the never-reconstructed EDL bigot Tommy Robinson claim that the mayor of Manchester is in cahoots with “Islamic radicals,” the laughable stupidity of a UKIP politician whose brilliant response was to demand the return of the death penalty for suicide bombers, or Israeli PM Netanyahu’s shameless attempt to milk the tragedy by analogizing the Manchester attacker to Palestinian resistance, the overwhelming response of Britons and the City of Manchester has been to reject hate and the politics of division.
Take the message by Islamic scholar Abu Eesa from Manchester that has gone viral.
The comments are heartwarmingly refreshing in their solidarity and the expression of united grief for the victims. The message is clear we will not be divided, we will be stronger.
Also take Aarron Lambo’s viral video:
There’s many more such instances of togetherness and we hope that these attempts to divide us and subvert our democracy whether by terrorists and their Islamophobic dopplegangers will come to naught.