In the aftermath of the horrific bombing in Manchester, it is appearing increasingly certain that the suicide bomber was either acting on behalf of ISIS or at a minimum following its anti-Western, anti-modernity religious based jihad. While shocking, the atrocity is in keeping with what religion has unleashed throughout history: hatred and violence against those with different beliefs and those who have cast off Medieval ignorance and myths. Be it Catholic versus Protestant, Hindu versus Muslim, or Christian versus Muslim, religion and the tribalism that it needs to survive are the common threads. The religious tenets of ISIS, like those of fundamentalist Christians in America, are threatened by science, knowledge and modernity and those who through there lives demonstrate that there is another way of believing and living become hated an targeted. ISIS uses murder and violence. Here in America, at least to date, Christofascists push for passage of anti-LGBT laws and special rights to discriminate against others. Differing responses, yet both reactions to perceived threats to fairy tale based beliefs, or, in the case of Islam, the delusional writings of an individual who would likely be in a mental institution nowadays. An editorial in the New York Times looks at the horrible situation. Here are excerpts:
By Tuesday, 22 people had died, and 59 others had been hospitalized, some with life-threatening injuries. The dead included 8-year-old Saffie Rose Roussos, who had come with her mother and older sister, and 18-year-old Georgina Bethany Callander, who had posted an image of her brand new driver’s license on Instagram.
The Islamic State said one of its “soldiers” had carried out the bombing, which took the life of the man British police officials believe was behind it, Salman Abedi, a 22-year-old whose parents emigrated from Libya. It is still unclear whether Mr. Abedi acted alone or as part of a network. No one yet knows what motivated him to commit such a horrific deed. It is also unclear whether the Islamic State’s claim is legitimate. Only further investigation can answer these questions.
Meanwhile, as hard as it is amid the shock and the mourning, it is important to recognize this attack for what it is: an attempt to shake Britain — and, by extension, the rest of Europe and the West — to its core, and to provoke a thirst for vengeance and a desire for absolute safety so intense, it will sweep away the most cherished democratic values and the inclusiveness of diverse societies.
The Islamic State wants nothing more than to watch Western democracies embrace its mad version of a holy war pitting Muslims against Christians, the newly arrived against others. This has been the goal of other attacks in Europe. With cold calculation, extremists have ripped apart the lives of people simply out enjoying themselves — whether at a concert or sitting around cafe tables in Paris in November 2015, or gathering for Bastille Day fireworks in Nice last year, or shopping at a Christmas market in Berlin in December.
Maximum vigilance is needed, and Britain raised its threat level from severe to critical. Public spaces must be made as safe as possible, even as people recognize that more attacks will very likely occur, despite our best defenses. In Britain, as in the rest of Europe and in the United States, it is critical that immigrants, especially Muslims, are not stigmatized. As Richard Barrett, former director of global counterterrorism operations at MI6, Britain’s foreign intelligence agency, said, “engaging the community and letting the community inform us” is one way “to understand why people do this” and to prevent future attacks.
The quickest way for open societies to lose the freedoms they enjoy and the Islamic State seeks to destroy would be to whip up divisive ethnic, racist and religious hatreds. But there will be those who try. The Daily Telegraph columnist Allison Pearson tweeted on Tuesday: “We need a State of Emergency as France has. We need internment of thousands of terror suspects now to protect our children.” Then there was the unbelievably vile tweet by Katie Hopkins, a British commentator: “We need a final solution.” She later changed “final” to “true” in a new tweet after her original was widely condemned.
Throughout history religion has needed an "us versus them" mentality to survive just like any cult or gang. It is easy to reflexively blame Islam, but the real driving force is the rejection of knowledge and the embrace of ignorance and antiquated, myth based beliefs. Religion is the real enemy of humankind be it Islam or Christianity. Both have destroyed countless lives through the centuries and brought death and destruction.