Waleed Aly has gone viral over his plea that we unite with the Islamic community in the wake of the Paris terrorist attack.
I suppose this is something that we should talk about.
But here’s the rub.
He also said that we can’t talk about it. Specifically, Waleed’s video criticised calls for us to look at the teachings of Koran as ‘vilification’. As such, Waleed is asking us to unite with a group defined by their religious ideas. And he doesn’t want us to know what those ideas are.
Unfortunately, unity with Islam in the face of a threat associated with Islam (at least by name) is easier said than done, especially when we all have questions about this belief system and he is telling us that asking for answers is just being mean and nasty.
So if Waleed is seriously interested in uniting society rather than just churning out sentimental, feel good but completely useless calls to action to defeat the Islamic State with nothing more than more love, he owes it to himself and the rest of us to answer some questions.
In fact, just three questions.
In your video Waleed, you quoted from an Islamic State publication to make it sound like it was taking advantage of random ‘lone wolf’ terrorist attacks, as if these kind of atrocities have always occurred, and as if the Islamic State plays no part in influencing or inciting locally-based Muslims to take violent actions against us.
What did the sentences before and after the one you quoted say and do you think they change the message that you presented to us?
Jesus Christ never sent an army into battle and he never ordered anyone to be killed. Did Mohammad?
Why does the Islamic State quote from the Islamic texts more often than the Grand Mufti?
The first question goes to Waleed Aly’s credibility. It will determine whether we can trust what he says.
The second question gets to the heart of the problem. It is simple and easily answered. There is no wriggle room to argue that answering this question relies on a careful understanding of the nuances of Arabic language.
The answer will tell us what type of prophet the Islamic community follows and what type of society will be made in his image.
The third question gets to the heart of the solution. If Islamic violence is a result of misguided Muslims misinterpreting peaceful Islamic texts, then let’s see what those peaceful texts are. And if they’re that hard to understand that ‘save a life’ is interpreted as ‘grab your knife’, then maybe, just maybe, the problem still lies with Islam.
Maybe, just maybe, it’s time for Waleed to acknowledge that as well.
It would probably go a lot more to achieving ‘unity’ than by having a go at people like me.
So Waleed, we’re finished talking here. It’s over and out and back to you. I’ve sent this off to the Project. If you really think this is something we should talk about in more than clichés, you know what to do.