It is simplistic and wrong to demonise Muslims for terror

Gary Spedding, founder of the Palestine Society at QUB
Gary Spedding, founder of the Palestine Society at QUB

A closer examination of Colin Nevin’s grotesque exploitation of the Leytonstone Tube station attack (Letters, December 8) exposes his transparent islamophobic agenda.

His attempt to spread group-blame, fear, mistrust, hatred and bigoted stereotyping of all Muslims, must be challenged.

Letter to the editor

Letter to the editor

Mr Nevin would have us ignore the nuance contained within the powerful words spoken by the onlooker who shouted “You ain’t no Muslim, bruv” as police detained the Leytonstone Tube station attacker.

He wants us to overlook the significance of Muslims rejecting violent actions and instead, follow Nevin’s own ridiculous logic that because “the attacker was a Muslim” that this somehow proves that the “common denominator in the majority of such terror attacks” must be Islam.

Essentially, Colin Nevin wants us to view all Muslims as potential threats to our society here in the UK and the rest of Europe.

His words are just a reworking of commonly used anti-semitic tropes that aim to make us view a person’s ethnicity or faith as a key factor to their actions, ideologies and radicalisation/extremism. In reality there are often far more relevant socio-political motivations which we mostly fail to discuss - usually because we, rather unfortunately, accept ignorance over nuance on most occasions.

According to the Chicago Project on Security and Terrorism (CPOST), as of mid-2015 three quarters of all suicide attacks have occurred in just three countries—Iraq, Afghanistan and Pakistan, and if one reads analyst Robert Pape’s works; Dying to Win (2004) and Cutting the Fuse (2009), we start to see that, according to his research, a great many socio-political factors – mainly driven by a desire to force out occupying forces – are far more relevant and could be the genuine common denominators in this whole terrible reality of suicide bombing.

Let us not overlook that Nevin is discussing a knife attack, where the individual shouts about Syria as opposed to anything overly Islamic in nature. Why is Nevin jumping from a knife attack to a discussion about suicide bombers? His logic is unravelling fast.

The claim that “every suicide bomber has proven to be a Muslim” is also totally at odds with the facts.

Whilst it is certainly true that since 2004 a far greater number of perpetrators have been Muslim, this does not mean we just ignore the socio-political factors or assume that Islam is the sole common factor in all of the instances.

We should also never overlook that the first suicide bomber was Russian, that some of the first victims of suicide bombing we in Russia and that others – such as the Chinese Suicide Squads, Japanese Kamikaze and even Christian groups – have utilised such despicable acts of violence.

What I am saying here is that Mr Nevin’s logic is highly simplistic, ignores much of the painstaking research in this field and is yet another example of demonising every day Muslims.

Gary Spedding, Belfast