f Humanisticus: Mohamed Merah: Radical Islam and the Scared Media

Friday, 23 March 2012

Mohamed Merah: Radical Islam and the Scared Media

Now unless you have been under a rock or somehow avoided every newspaper and news update in the last few days, you will have heard of the atrocities that have befallen the French city of Toulouse.  A self proclaimed Jihadist Mohamed Merah, has in the space of two weeks attacked and killed three soldiers before shooting up a school killing a Rabbi and three school children. Merah was a French citizen of Algerian origin and a Muslim  who visited Afghanistan and Pakistan and was trained by al-Qaeda.  He reportedly carried out these actions as an act of revenge for the deaths of Palestinian children, also to protest French army’s involvement in Afghanistan. The situation culminated in a 32 hour stand-off between French police and Merah, which ended in a shoot-out with 3 French soldiers injured and Merah dead. 

No sooner had his body hit the pavement before the media started pointing the finger and playing the blame game and the worrying thing is the liberal media pointed away from the issue of Islamic Radicalism. When reading the articles there seems to be an awareness of radical Islam’s role in the atrocities but the liberal media does not directly confront the issue. Instead it stands with its back to it, sweating nervously with one eye over its shoulder and the other eye watching every word that comes out of its mouth in case something that can be construed as racist or intolerant is uttered. Heaven forbid that the discussion of facts is interpreted the wrong way by the liberal professional moaners who have nothing better to do than sift through articles and videos to find something insignificant so they can brew their storm in a tea cup. The recent satirical comments made by Robert De Niro about a ‘white first lady’ and its aftermath being a perfect example. Another reason behind the timidity of the liberal media is quite ironic; they fear any stray comments could inflame radical Islamists.

So instead of dealing with the real issue the liberal media seeks secondary causes and discusses topics that would not attract controversy. The Huffington Post places responsibility on the French governmental agencies for not acting in time, stating that they had Merah under surveillance for a considerable time and were aware of his trips to Afghanistan and Pakistan. They also accuse Sarkozy and his policies as he ‘had alienated some Muslims with his push to ban Islamic veils and by fanning debate about halal meat, and his strict immigration policies’. The paper distances Merah’s actions from Islam by asserting that ‘Merah espoused a radical form of Islam’. The Toronto Star follows a similar formula, first focusing on how the French Government allowed it to happen given their knowledge of Merah, and questioning how the stand-off lasted 32 hours as if that is somehow relevant. Sarkozy’s policies also come into question as the presidential race is imbued ‘with identity politics and anti-immigrant rhetoric at its centre’. A comparable distancing method is also employed by stating Merah was operating under ‘his views of Islam’. Similarly The Guardian calls into question the culpability of the French authorities  but also query the condition of France’s social cohesion. The NY times’ article entirely focuses on the failure of France’s intelligence services. However, perhaps the biggest offender to detract away from the issue of radical Islamists was an article on ABC online. It must be noted that the author is Tariq Ramadan, Professor of Contemporary Islamic Studies at Oxford University, so he may have alternative motives for denying the influence of Islam. Ramadan, however, goes as far to say ‘religion was not Mohamed Merah’s problem’, he was ‘a French citizen frustrated at being unable to find his place’. Merah was ‘a victim of a social order that already doomed him’ and he lived a ‘marginal existence’. Ramadan suggests breaking down the barriers to allow more social integration, although agreeable, it completely ignores Islamic radicalism. There are unfortunately many sectors of society that are marginalised, to varying degrees and at different times, but they do not pose a threat to people’s lives. Radical Islam is refuge for these people and it often takes advantage of that fact. So to prevent this kind of atrocity from happening again both issues of socio-economic integration and radical Islamism must be discussed. But if the media is too afraid to broach the subject then the government may fail to act on it and if the media continues to maintain its overtly politically correct stance, it will cost lives in the long run.

1 comment:

  1. Well written article. There seems to be a rise in the persection complex of religions across the board. The phrase "militant secularism" is popping up more and more.
    The fear of confronting radical Islam in the press is as alarming as the lenghts the press will go to to find an auxiliary cause.

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