Today Sir John Sawyers, ex-head of MI6 said he agreed with the Pope in that we in the West should avoid insulting Islam or expect a reaction such as the Paris terror attacks.
Frankly – it is no wonder Islamism feels itself so invincible as to keep attacking the West and taking over weaker countries (Nigeria, Syria, Iraq – now Yemen too is seeing an uprising). If our leaders pander to their 7th century sensibilities of hate and retribution, then it simply grows the support for Islamism and weakens our right to feel safe within our own supposedly ‘civilised’ nation.
The fact is – Islamist ideology is rampant world wide and has as an avowed objective a worldwide caliphate. It is an ideology which already believes itself to be the divinely ordained word of their god – so when the leader of the Catholic Church and MI6 join in in this way it upholds and gives legitimacy to ideas which would destroy us, given a chance.
The Pope giving it to this outdated spirit of retribution for blasphemy is bad enough to put the final nails in the coffin of any support I had for the institution as a lapsed Catholic. Jesus taught forgiveness and peace – not punching people – so the Pope should not be condoning violence. Yet because he is the head of itself an aged religion, one almost can’t expect much better from him. Religion itself is a hotbed of naivety, gullibility, superstition and irrationality.
But the ex-head of MI6? One would expect that he would understand the weight of his words – Islamists pounce on any suggestion from outsiders that what they do is in any way legitimate. Our leaders should be standing up for our rights to criticise any and all religions – for the superstitious drivel they are. At least Christianity seems to have put much of its past violence behind it, but one would have to be purposely blind to ignore the fact that Islam is not a benign religion. It is intent on domination wherever it exists – and has been throughout its history.
Pandering to this only makes it worse. Our leaders should be unequivocally standing up for our belief in the importance of free speech, democracy, liberty but also civilised behaviour such as refraining from chopping people’s heads off and perhaps debating like adults. We have developed a very civilised world here in the West – we should not allow Islam to attack it based on frivolous complaints.
It is bad enough when Islam is behind the mistreatment and killing of Humanity outside of our Western Civilisation. The outrage after the Iraq war showed us we tend to not be wanted nor welcome butting in to the disputes far away from us. But when the same Islam is behind the beheading and massacre of individuals within our world, we expect our leaders to act – not pander to the falsehoods which allow such hysteria to breed into violence. We have free speech, so anyone if they wish, can feel offended and say so, but we do not need leaders which tell us to change our behaviour for fear of offending.
Rather, as in during the Cold War we should promote our best values of freedom, democracy, tolerance, free speech and Human Rights.
Clearly, it would not be very sensible for any Westerner to go to Syria or Iraq right now – or into the midst of Boko Haram for that matter. BUT we have the right to expect to live in peace in our lands without threat of being killed simply for being Western, criticising Islam or being a Jew. Our leaders should forcefully stand up for these values. Whatever the West has done in its past is acknowledged – but in the past. Today we are a bastion for freedom and democracy. Those values need to be trumpeted, promoted and spread, not apologised for or repressed in case we upset un-democratic, un-free, despotic and backwards religions.
If people want to believe in such irrational superstition – that’s their right. It is NOT their right to demand that we change our culture and repress our freedoms to fit in with them – and certainly not at the point of a gun or knife.
An Iraqi friend has told me he does wish the West would help Iraq now (from threats from Turkey as well as Syria and Iran), but that he holds it responsible for the chaos which reigns there, and which allowed Isis to erupt. ‘At least Saddam kept Christians safe,’ he told me. It is a sad state of affairs when a dictator such as Saddam or Assad is preferred by locals to the crazed mob of Islamists.
The sad fact is no amount of action from the West can help the rest of the world to live in peace if it doesn’t want our help. Any help we give is interpreted by Jihadis as a ‘conquest’ and leads to more violence meted out on us. The ideology of Islam is a bloody one, and it should be combated, but it’s a tragic game of Whack-a-mole trying to deal with it every time it causes violence in a different place.
What we expect our leaders to do however is protect us in the West – and that means not only working hard to identify and remove Islamic terrorists – but also standing up for the values and morality which makes the West a better place to live than, say, Baghdad or Damascus. It is the values and morality of the West alone which can act as a beacon to the rest of the world – and denigrating them as the Pope and Sir John have is to create a common ground between us and the terrorists. We should be above that, and show it in everything we do – especially the comments made by our leaders.