Stereotypes

Salvete, qui legentes —

The stereotype of the Muslim Terrorist is omnipresent, and, of course, all the more so now after the November attacks in Paris. 

But I myself would like to know more about the people who de facto share the supposed traits of such a Terrorist and yet are NOT themselves supporters of terrorism.  This is because of my desire to answer a question: Why is there no appreciable voice coming out of the more-or-less Islamic world generally that repudiates or better yet denounces Muslim absolutism?  Are there people of a Mid-Eastern background, a Muslim background, an Arab background, and so on, who can or will solidly denounce Islamic Terror?  If there are, they appear to be invisible or at best, timid. 

I see multiple possible reasons for the silence.
(a)  News is made by violence and extremism, and not by being reasonable. Tales of terrorism and its horrors sell more commercial spots than reason or decency would. 
(b)  The voices might be there, but have simply been ignored by the media as not news-worthy! 
(c)  The voices might be there, but the speakers lacking mutual knowledge, organization or motivation by which to amplify their arguments.
(d)  People who are not maniacs are often absorbed by living their lives, rather than debating foreign policy or inviting trouble. 
(e)  Where poverty and testosterone are prevalent, they strongly inform popular opinion.  This leads to manias and brutally simplistic — even “Final” — solutions.  This “legitimizes” violence for a lot of people. 
(f)  In popular opinion in all cultures, blame is assigned first to foreigners (e.g., “Mexicans are thieves”, etc.) or to fellow-citizens of an opposite political bent (e.g., “Liberals are traitors”, etc.).  Detachment and reason are not to be expected in popular culture, and blame will automatically be assigned to “the usual suspects”, “THOSE people”.  Many people, in other words, don’t know any better. 
(g)  In the modern cultural environment of the Middle East and quite probably in the world diaspora of Middle-Easterners, the anti-Western terrorists are often seen as heroes: to decry them would invite not only verbal retribution against the speaker but also physical assault and murder.  In a word, popular repression silences those who might speak up.
(h)  As in most cultures, “If you’re not with us, then you’re against us!” is very likely the political rule-of-thumb of many in Middle Eastern and Islamic communities.  This amplifies (e), (f) and (g) above; see also (i), following.
(i)  Any criticism of Arab or Muslim extremism will, following the fallacy in (h) above, be received popularly as support for Israel, and as disloyalty to the Palestinian cause.  This could be a problem not only of outward coercion, but of inward conscience as well. 
(j)  In Islamic culture generally, there has perhaps never been much of a dividing line between God, religion and the state.  As a basic and popular idea, then, law may mean religion more than society, and when push-comes-to-shove in debate, religion becomes (mentally, automatically) the constitutional foundation.  As a result, absolutism lies ever-ready in the mind, and God is already installed as the ultimate magistrate of things earthly.  This is a strait-jacket on the mind and not limited to Islamic culture, by any means.
(k)  Tit-for-tat:  It is believed that foreign soldiers and American drones are routinely killing the innocent along with the guilty all over the Middle East, and therefore that every massacre of Westerners (or even other Middle-Easterners) may be seen as justified on a kind of eye-for-an-eye basis. 

Given that some or all of this is accurate — I do NOT know that it is, I hasten to say, but some of it seems most likely to an outsider like myself — then it would be no wonder to me if Muslims tended to fall in line in silent support of terror, and to ignore their own consciences in favor of their over-zealous “heroes” out on the prowl, who have bagged yet more infidel victims. 

Vobis voluntatis bonae omnibus, bene valete.  To you of goodwill, all, be ye well. 

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This entry was posted in "Belief binds and blinds", Al-Qaeda, belief systems, communication, crime, evil, http://schemas.google.com/blogger/2008/kind#post, life, Middle East, murder, politics, racism and intolerance, religion, testosterone world, violence, war. Bookmark the permalink.

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