2015-02-12 – It’s a sad coincidence. That’s all it is.
A couple of stories floating around the Internet and making people mad, but they had nothing to do with racial hatred. Three young Muslims murdered near the University of North Carolina—a parking dispute, nothing more. A few weeks ago in Paris, jihadists stopped in at a deli to get a sandwich and randomly began shooting the Jewish patrons there—a dispute over mustard, nothing more.
We’re civilized now. We don’t murder people over their race or religion anymore. We murder them over parking spaces or mustard. Why would you want to make it into something awful? . . .
Why would you want to make it into something awful?
There are folks who want you to think these things are about race and religion. They want you to think that there’s some sort of war going on between the West (whatever that is) and Islam. As I’ve said before, these folks can be found both in the West and in the Islamic world. They are distinct minorities and they have a weird sort of common cause between them.
The rest of us only murder people because of parking and mustard.
Okay. You probably think I’m joking here. But as a resident of Chicago, I have to say that parking and mustard are worth fighting for.
And, as far as I’m concerned, if they gods want to battle it out, they ought to have the decency to do what the ancient gods did: battle it out between themselves. Don’t get us mortals involved. We’re mortal enough. They don’t have to add to it.
I guess that’s a problem with monotheism. Once god X denies the existence of all other gods, he (or she) has no one to fight with—except us.
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So the authorities don’t want to say that the Chapel Hill murders were motivated by anti-Muslim hate. And the Internet is up in arms. And the Obama administration is denying that jihadists were looking to kill Jews when they went to a kosher deli.
I can understand not wanting to incite sectarian hatred. But sectarian violence has a tendency to do that—whether we acknowledge it or not. Maybe especially if we don’t acknowledge it.
The Paris deli murders were not about mustard.
If you want to take a principled stand against sectarian violence, you don’t do it by denying that it exists. You do the opposite. And realize that it is up to the nonviolent majorities (let’s hope) of all religions to join together to resist their own extremists, not just the extremists owned by the other guy.
The odd thing is that President Obama said pretty much that at the National Prayer Breakfast this week and got slammed for it by the extremists. And yet he is unwilling to apply his wisdom to his own foreign policy.
Maybe it’s not mustard. Maybe it’s oil.
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UPDATE: Apparently, Obama’s inconsistency was a misstatement and the staff was incompetent in making the correction. See this story. The fact remains that the Obama administration does often downplay the sectarian nature of this type of violence.