I’m reading on the couch and my phone buzzes with this disheartening news: “2 Killed in Texas After Firing on Anti-Islamist Group’s Event.”
My first reaction, shadowed in gloom, is that if this comes up in conversations I’m going to have to defend Islam.
I’m already preparing arguments, jogging facts in my mind, assembling anecdotes about the loving and wonderful Muslim refugees I work with.
I realize then that thoughts such as these are trapped in the same dangerous paradigm that ignites so much intolerance: that individual actions are an indictment of the group. I don’t have to defend Islam because two ostensibly-Muslim assholes attempted murder. No, I condemn them freely! To hell with anybody who uses deadly violence to stifle freedom of speech!
Likewise, to hell with anybody who uses their freedom of speech so smugly – so cheaply. Parading your disregard for Islam is not a celebration of your freedom, it is merely instigation.
It is not always wrong to offend people, but to turn offense into a celebration is alarming. These AFDI idiots would kick a dog until it bites at them and then call it a savage and say they kicked it because it bites people.
It is a weakness of human psychology that, in witnessing conflict, we’re always looking for who’s right and who’s wrong. Identifying sides allows us to take a position, to order the world around us and know our place.
But there are no good guys here.