Perhaps it wasn't all that surprising that within a few minutes of hearing about the awful attacks in Norway, many people assumed it to be the work of Islamic terrorists. Of course, it has now transpired to be no such thing - indeed the culprit appears to be Islamophobic. What was interesting though was the response to those who had voiced such suspicions. There seemed to be a clamour to condemn people for thinking such things and most of that clamour came from the Left.
This isn't new. Whenever there is an attack (in the written or verbal sense) on Islam in any general terms, whether it be the religion as a whole or the extreme parts of it, you can be sure of a spirited defence from the left wing. Sometimes this defence is needed, and justified (say when people condemn all Muslims as terrorists). Mostly, I'm afraid, it isn't.
In can be said without exception that people across the political spectrum condemn Islamic terrorism outright so lets please at least acknowledge that there is a wider issue with Islam itself because there clearly is.
A little bit of brutal honesty is needed when it comes to Islam, I'm afraid: it is a highly corrupted force in the world. This is usually the part where people acknowledge that the vast majority of Muslims live in peace, respect other religions and wish no ill on others. Sorry, I won't do that. The vast majority of Muslims still believe homosexuality to be a terrible, awful sin. The vast majority still treat women as inferior people. They do this with the full protection of the law in many countries. I will not defend a faith such as this.
I would not, and do not, defend Christianity for much the same reason, though it should be noted that in countries where Christianity is the dominant religion there is nearly always express separation of church and state so at least they're doing something right.
Of course, there are many Muslims who simply don't care enough about their religion to adhere to these most abhorrent ideals but they present no kind of influence in Islam. Their view, once it conflicts with Islam, is irrelevant. They can make no headway in teaching other Muslims that their views are warped. It would be natural to localise this issue and reference all I'm writing to British Muslims but that's not what I'm doing.
I aim this piece at the Muslim states. The states that educate their children strictly in line with Muslim teachings, thus preventing free thought and perpetuating the oppression of gay people and women. States where questioning the validity of the proscribed religion is a crime. These states represent a danger to us all, regardless of our economic relationships with them. The idea that fellow left wingers can even begin to leap to the defence of a religion so inherently corrupted is beyond me.
I will defend the right of people to practice their religion but I won't do it unconditionally. When it starts to negatively impact on other peoples lives, then your religion will be opposed and I will have no part of it's defence.