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It didn’t take long for the shooting at a Planned Parenthood clinic in Colorado, Oklahoma on Friday to be exploited for cynical political ends. After three bodies were carted away to the morgue Colorado Springs, memes began to spring up everywhere (on facebook, twitter, reddit and other places) comparing the shooting to Islamic terrorism, and in doing so downplaying the suffering of its victims. A truly shocking exercise in cold, emotionless manipulation if ever there was one.
The memes, though multitudinous, differed from each other only very slightly. The most popular ‘Willy Wonka’ variant was typical: against the backdrop of a smiling Gene Wilder (taken from my favourite childhood movie), the text read as follows: “Christian extremist kills 3 people at an abortion clinic…Tell me again how Syrian refugees are a threat.”
You don’t need more than a few operational brain cells to perceive the startling un-worldliness of this sentiment. Indeed, many people on social networks have recoiled from the image in revulsion or responded to it with loud mockery. How on earth can one tragic, stupid action – the first of its kind in years – measure up to the daily bloodbath of Political Islam? How can one action – brutal, awful and yet discriminating – be placed in the same ethical category as the bombing of market-places, funeral parades, Parisian restaurants and concert venues?
Since the outrage in Colorado was committed, Christians across America have disowned the force behind it, branding him ‘psychopathic’, ‘crazed’, ‘lunatic’ and (most crucially) ‘un-Christian’. Compare that to the icy silence and tacit approval of Muslims communities after outrages in the West.
Let’s be clear – there has been no major Christian terror attack (that is, a terror attack committed explicitly for Christian theological motivations) in Europe or America for the last 100 years. There have been murders, random and cruel all, but nothing of the same malevolent grade as Islam manages to inspire on a daily basis.
The attacks in Norway in 2011 were not Christian. I don’t believe Anders Behring Breivik had a Christian bone in his body. The troubles of Northern Ireland don’t count either (despite the enthusiasm with which Islamic apologists bring them up). The Catholics of Ulster do not hate the Protestants of Ulster for religious reasons, but for ethnic and national reasons. Ulster Protestants are descendants of British colonisers and remain loyal to their imperial sponsors. The Catholics are native Irish who wish to have the northern corner of their island back under Irish control. Whichever way you lean on this, you can surely agree that religion plays no part (apart from the total coincidence of the religious divide between Scots-Irish and Irish which serves as an excuse).
Adherents of Christianity have certainly been violent at various points in history, but the period since they behaved in a way comparable to the adherents of Islam is measured in centuries. Let no one deny reality, or history, or seek to deform them into a reality or history synchronisable with their bigotries.
Islamic violence has no equivalent in other faiths.