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Are Moderates Looking the Wrong Way?

We have all seen the posts and pictures on social media, reassuring the general public that not all people of faith share the same poisonous view and ideology. There has been a surge in such uploads after the horrific Paris massacres as there are immediately after any major terror attack. Most people (at least I am hoping) understand that only a very small percentage are to blame, although the severity and scale of devastation and loss of life can make it appear that these numbers are much higher. Others are going around spreading a ‘close the borders!’ style message in Europe at least, feeling that by that locking the door and standing behind it this will be enough to stop the pressure applied from refugees.

I am not one to agree with the more radical of the two, ‘closing borders’ will  not prevent the problem those fleeing conflicts are enduring. It simply buries our heads in the sand further.

So I will talk about the more peaceful protesters, the moderates, the ‘good’ side if you will. I do not believe that one side is good nor bad however many far right groups adopt the idea that stopping immigration will be the solution. It isn’t. Like sticking your finger into a bucket of water full of holes it is only a temporary fix and won’t last very long.

I do not know the answer, which I am sure would be demanded if this post was presented in the form of conversation. If anything I’m asking the question used as my title. 

The reaction I find most common and very self confident is that we should not paint all believers with the same extremist brush. Rightly so. But with the decision to show support to the moderate, I find religion receives a get out of jail free card.
Like a great big pair of puppy dog eyes religion gets off the hook, despite it being the key ingredient. Is the need to defend fellow moderates against those outside of the religion greater than the need to aim arguments toward the extremists? If hate crimes rise, maybe so. Until then, it is a waste of breath. Atheists and those of a seperate belief aren’t as dangerous and should not be prioritised as such. 

The danger comes from the belief moderates try to defend, not those questioning it.

I’d like to ask readers, what do you think of the reaction to recent attacks? Are you pleased with the response, or feel that reactions are misguided? There are so many angles to take there is no definitive right answer, however conversation helps and should be encouraged over violence.

14 replies »

  1. Honestly, there needs to be a delay on reaction. Let the facts get marshaled, and then make a judgment based on that. I’ve been waiting to do my own piece on Paris because right now the victims need to grieve, and the city needs to come together. Beyond that, we need information to make an informed decision as voters. Putting crap up on FB doesn’t count.

    Liked by 2 people

    • I always see a trend in how people react after such attacks, so I kind of expected to read the kind of FB posts that were put out there. There are so many conspiracies and media bias that I never know how to view news coverage without my doubts or conflicting thoughts, hopefully this event will be different and straight forward in its investigation.

      Liked by 1 person

  2. I’m not watching much news coverage and I’m definitely not looking around social media to see what awful things are being said. We never learn and it’s kind of depressing. I imagine historians looking back at these decades in 100 years time and wondering how on earth we the people could have been so foolish as to consistently support our governments in their pointless bombing campaigns that only generate more of the problem – extremist, embittered opponents.

    I like your holes in a bucket analogy. We’re not living in a bubble of thought dependent on geographical borders. There are enough angry people of multiple origins long established within our borders – and the anger isn’t dependent on ethnic origin, look at Samantha Lewthwaite.

    Turning away people in dire need in panic-fuelled, misdirected fear is horrific. We might stop 10 people with dire intentions for every 10,000 we let in – but who’s to say that those 10 people might not benefit from exposure to kindness from the other side. And who’s to say that by stopping 10,000 needy people coming in we might not covert another 500 within our borders to the extremist cause ….

    Liked by 1 person

    • Very well said. The only thing I would say is that I do not believe the extremists mentality can be swayed by any level of kindness. But yes there are repercussions regardless of the choice we make as a nation, so the most humane choice isn’t going to do much more harm… so let’s not stop ourselves acting compassionately.


      • I don’t know. Thinking hypothetically, if someone is swayed by the extremist cause from their home country and hates the ‘others’ in a tribalistic and simplistic fashion based on isolated propaganda, the very act of coming into contact with the humans on the other side, humans seeking to help the vulnerable, could certainly have an neutralising effect.

        Liked by 1 person

      • I hope you are right. I’m just going off the idea that British born Muslims can live here their whole lives, and still have the urge to travel to the Middle East and fight against our values.


      • I find the notion of ‘our’ values odd. I understand the urge to want to get involved and fight for justice. I think it strikes it hardest in our teens and 20s, when some parts of life and the accompanying injustices are coming into sharp focus. I understand the passion and the rage. It’s helping them past this and seeing where the useful avenues for channeling these valid responses to what happens as a result of our misguided (perhaps on some level well intended) foreign policy. It’s rage and frustration, and probably feeling disempowered and overlooked here at home too. Lots of things that can be tackled. But taking the existence of gods for granted only makes it more difficult to bring them back on track. (excuse the ramble)

        Liked by 1 person

  3. Chiming in from the U.S. – I think being in Europe is entirely different, because as you noted in a previous entry, when it happens close to home, it impacts you differently. Which I get, because I was only 20 miles away from the World Trade Center on 9-11-01. I watched the first tower fall. That kind of thing never leaves you.

    That said, since then, I’ve watched conservative politics in the U.S. systematically scapegoat entire religions and groups of people for the actions of a few, and I’ve seen liberal politicians do little to fight against it. Since Paris, I’ve seen lots of posts on social media, as above commentors have, reminding people that we cannot blame an entire population of people for a small subset of them. That discriminating against all Muslim people is wrong and bad and not the right way to deal with the problem.

    But unfortunately, that’s a really easy way to channel rage and fear – to identify a tangible enemy that you can “fight” back against in whatever misguided way you see fit. The racism in the U.S. is unbelievable, and even though we’re nowhere near Paris, it’s being highly politicized over here in sickening, tone deaf, and completely misguided ways. And what’s worse is that there are a lot of people applauding that “close the borders” mentality. And, EVEN WORSE – gun-happy Americans are absolutely swooning over any politician who suggests that arming citizens is the way to make this country (or any country) safer – despite lots of evidence to the contrary.

    Because who wants to look at evidence or be logical or try to understand the true narrative of such extremist groups? Clearly not a lot of the white American public…who, incidentally, are usually Christian as well. *sigh*

    Liked by 1 person

  4. I feel that too many American’s over react in a negative way. Close the borders. Deport everyone. I have even seen thoughts about deporting refugees who are already here.

    I agree that not all people of a certain faith (Islam in this case) are to blame. You say “Like a great big pair of puppy dog eyes religion gets off the hook, despite it being the key ingredient. Is the need to defend fellow moderates against those outside of the religion greater than the need to aim arguments toward the extremists?” I didn’t quite understand the question, but here’s my thought. I believe that moderates need to start standing up to their extremists – and they should do it LONG before it gets as radical as ISIS. If the moderates of the faith speak up, it packs a greater punch than if non-believers or people of other faiths speak up. But those of us who are non believers or of a different faith can add our voices as support to moderates of the faith in question.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Although you didn’t quite understand the question I fully support your answer. Apologies, I was just wondering who should be targeted in the public reaction to attacks. Stand up to extremists, or show support to the moderates? I feel standing up to extremists should take priority after such an event.


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