Here’s the Daily show’s take on the Mumbai mess (at the end, don’t know why there’s so much space…)I think that’s hilarious, I really do. John basically summed up my feelings when I was watching that on the news, I was yelling along too. There’s only one little problem, this violence was not about establishing a world wide caliphate. This was about Kashmir.
Usually, when something big like this happens, there are political motives rather than religious ones at play. The Kashmir issue is a political one although the parties involved are split along religious lines. The same could be true of the day to day demands and goals of Al-Queda. They want foreigners to leave the Saudi peninsula, they want the US to get out of Iraq and Afghanistan, etc. Those are all political issues. They use religion to attract and recruit people for political ends. We shouldn’t fall into the same trap.
There is indeed religious violence in the world. Men killing woman because they aren’t wearing hijab, wackos blowing up abortion clinics, etc. are all examples. Perhaps the attackers in Mumbai were indeed personally motivated by religious extremism, but the aim of the operation was to try to cause a conflict in Kashmir.
Here’s my bet. I bet that if these people were referred to as Kashmiri separatists instead of Islamic extremists, we in the US would not have heard nearly as much about it. We’re more willing to stomach political violence than religious violence. That’s why Hitler is so universally reviled while Stalin, Pol Pot, Kim Jong-il and Mao are not thought about in the slightest.
Whenever we hear the media trumpet religious violence, we should take a step back and ask ourselves if the aim of that violence is actually political in nature. Violence should always be decried of course, but let’s blame the right problems, shall we?