A follow-up to "Terror Has No Religion- Debunking the Regressive Left's Clichés."
Matt (name changed) is a brilliant directional driller in his early 50s. Born in Texas, he worked in the southern oil patch for most of his life. This is his first trip to India. Matt tells me that White Christian conservatives are the most oppressed group in the United States. Immigrants are stealing their jobs, liberals are violating their religious freedom by "forcing" (his word) same sex marriages down their throats, the Blacks are committing all the crime, and Obama -- who he's convinced is a devout Muslim -- wants to take away his guns. Matt claims he is ready for a fight if it comes to that. He only buys "NATO rounds" for his arsenal stashed back home (enough to arm half a platoon, he boasts). His rationale: "When Obama turns the army on us, we can scavenge ammo off the' enemy' if we have similar weapons."
Apologists who cite a terrorist's lack of observance as exculpatory evidence in favour of religion are missing the point.
In many ways, Matt's persecution complex resembles that of a few Savarnas (caste Hindus) on my crew. Every time Mohammed Akhlaq's mugshot (lynched by a Hindu mob for allegedly having beef in his house) comes up on TV in the rec-room, my Jatt roughneck boils over. "Why does the media sympathize with a cow killer?" he asks, visibly agitated. "By refusing to outlaw cow slaughter nationwide, the government is forcing us Hindus to take the law into our own hands," he fumes. His colleague, a Brahmin from Rajasthan, nods sympathetically. Even when a frail old man is beaten to death, the real victims are his privileged caste Hindu assailants and their religious sentiments.
If you mention the 2002 Gujarat pogrom, wherein Hindutva mobs armed with swords and voter-lists picked out and butchered thousands of Muslims across the state, the Hindutvawadi is quick to counter with: "But what about the train full of Hindu pilgrims burned at Godhra?" If you bring up the illegal demolition of the Babri mosque in 1992, a long list of Hindu temples plundered and destroyed by Muslim invaders since 900 CE, will be shoved in your face.
There is no denying the atrocities inflicted on Hindus by Islamic invaders in the Middle Ages. But only perverse identity politics entrenched in religion can make one rationalise the rape and murder of pregnant Muslim women, in a secular democratic republic in the 21st century, for crimes committed by their co-religionists ten centuries ago.
Victimhood rooted in religious identity is what drives young jihadists born and brought up in European cities to bomb their own infidel citizens...
These same Hindutva zealots seldom talk about how their forebears unleashed three thousand years of terror on untouchables (that occurs sporadically till date); they were allowed no other trade besides scavenging human faeces for generations, and subjected to atrocities that would make the Khmer Rouge look amateurish. Yet, if you listen to an over-privileged caste Hindu bigot rant about affirmative action for Dalits, it is as if hegemonic Savarnas are the greatest martyrs in human history.
In this, the Hindutvawadi is identical to an Islamist. Victimhood rooted in religious identity is what drives young jihadists born and brought up in European cities to bomb their own infidel citizens, as revenge for atrocities committed against their coreligionists, by another group of infidels on a different continent. Their persecution complex makes zealots feel that caricature of the prophet is an act of oppression against the Ummah, grave enough to justify murdering cartoonists; that when comparing an artist who was executed in cold blood, to the fragile probity of a medieval shaman, the latter is the more aggrieved victim. The home-team always finishes at the podium in this victim olympics.
Regressive Leftists who deny religion's complicity in Islamist terrorism are wilfully blind to the us vs. them narrative that is central to this victimhood complex, reinforced from the pulpits of Wahhabi mosques, and a holy book with a recurrent theme of vilifying infidels, idolaters and apostates throughout its 114 chapters.
The jihadi does not distinguish between kafir civilians in Belgium and kafir American troops in the Middle East. In the same way that a Hindutva death squad doesn't differentiate between arsonists who burned Hindu kar sevaks at Godhra, from the innocent Muslim women and children slaughtered as retribution.
The 'No True Believer' fallacy:
Apologists who cite a terrorist's lack of observance as exculpatory evidence in favour of religion are missing the point. Matt isn't a biblical scholar. Twice divorced, and now living-in with his girlfriend, he won't quite make it to the Pope's list for canonization. Yet, his homophobia and contempt for "pro-choicers" is deeply rooted in Christian dogma that was ubiquitous while growing up in the Bible belt.
Hyper-nationalism, ethnocentrism etc. have spawned vicious identity politics throughout history. However, religion (particularly Islam) is the only one that gets a free pass from Regressive Leftists...
My roughneck isn't a Sanskrit erudite. Most foot soldiers in Gau Rakshak (cow protection) lynch squads can't tell their Vedas from their Upanishads. However, in their warped minds, a beef-eater is "oppressing" them by wilfully trampling on their sacred beliefs. For them, the sanctity of the holy cow trumps the sanctity of human life.
Similarly, every jihadist doesn't have to be a Hafiz, in order to be motivated enough to murder infidels for perceived offences against the Ummah. To suggest that a jihadist who consumes alcohol and visits nightclubs is not inspired by religion, is as silly as saying those who don't denounce their Jewish and Christian friends as Quran 5:51 implores, are not true Muslims.
You may say various brands of identity politics are entrenched in victimhood. Why single out religion? It is true that hyper-nationalism, ethnocentrism etc. have spawned equally vicious identity politics throughout history. However, religion (particularly Islam) is the only one that gets a free pass from Regressive Leftists today.
Some folks think religious terrorism only goes back to the day they subscribed to CNN. Casually flipping through the Hadiths will show otherwise.
By denying the role of religion, and their continued self-flagellation over "Western foreign policy'"-- which deserves criticism for the innocent lives it has claimed and for causing a vacuum that was filled by 7th century hoards (but didn't create them) -- Regressive Leftists are complicit in perpetuating this victimhood complex, which fuels fascist ideologies such as Islamism and Hindutva.