Sunday, 15 November 2015

Similarities Between Catholic Terrorist Group IRA and Muslim Terrorist Group ISIS

From 1969 to 1997, certain Irish-Catholic groups, under the banner of the Irish Republican Army (IRA), began targeting British military, royalty, and eventually, even the broader public. Throughout the 70s, 80s and early 90s, many dozens of bombs were detonated by the IRA, typically in public places, which resulted in the deaths of hundreds of civilians (at times even Royalty: a grandson of Queen Victoria, Lord Mountbatten of Indian fame, was also assassinated by the IRA).

The goal of the IRA was clear. They wanted political freedom from the United Kingdom, and viewed their land, Ireland, as having been illegally invaded, occupied, and illegitimately ruled by the British. They had a long list of grievances regarding how the British routinely mistreated the Irish (dating back to the 17th century!!). The British paid no head to their complaints, until finally the IRA felt that they had no option but to fight back, hence they launched these paramilitary campaigns.

During this period of violence, the IRA was labelled as a 'terrorist organization' (which it clearly was). And their Catholic heritage as well played a role in their anti-British sentiment, since the British were Anglicans. Nonetheless, no one of intelligence viewed ALL Catholics as somehow being a part of the IRA. Even being 'Irish' was not considered guilt by association (except of course by a handful of bigoted racists).

What is truly bizarre is that everyone knew that large segments of the Irish-Catholic population sympathized with the goals of the IRA, and shared the same grievances even while they disagreed with their tactics. In other words, the average person clearly understood that sympathizing with the grievances did not mean sympathizing with the terrorists' tactics. Eventually, political leaders realized that no matter how repugnant the tactics of the IRA, the grievances that they had were legitimate and would have to be dealt with if peace was desired. And that is exactly when the ruling party in 1997 managed to bring an end to the Irish conflict: by acknowledging that there was legitimate anger, and that a solution would have to be proposed that dealt with those political problems.

Sadly, when it comes to brown skin colors, and the very different religion of Islam, all of that sensibility seams to be lost.

Being 'Muslim' doesn't translate into support for ISIS. Having political grievances (e.g,. false invasions; legalizing Islamophobia, etc.) and sympathizing with oppressed people (e.g., the Palestinians, Iraqis, Afghans, etc.) doesn't translate into wanting to kill everyone else. Terrorism almost ALWAYS stems from political grievances, even if those who perpetrate them happen to follow another religion. And a genuine solution must take into account the causes for terrorism and then deal with those causes, even if all rational people oppose the irrational and inhumane tactics of the terrorists.

There are two segments of mankind who believe that 'the West' is at war with 'Islam': the Far Right, and ISIS. Each side wants to convince more and more people that that is the case. If we in the middle fall for that narrative instead of fighting the radicals on both sides, more and more violence will continue, and there will be no solution in sight.

Taken from Dr Yasir Qadhi's FB

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