“Muslim problem” – the fairy tale that never was

In reply to France’s problems are in plain sight written by Margaret Wente, Globe and Mail

“France has a serious Muslim problem, a serious immigration problem and a serious terrorism problem…” Margaret Wente, The Globe and Mail

Ms. Wente, it is a shame on you for being in a position of responsibility and being an open bigot, and more so just being plain inaccurate and wrong. Your analysis attributing the Paris attacks as a “Muslim problem” is appalling, racist and lacks meaningful analysis. Your analysis only serves to create a delusional, dangerous and distorted view. The two, the murder of civilians and Muslims/Islam are mutually exclusive just as much as any other faith would be. Your attempt to unite the Paris crimes with all French Muslims (and Islam) as a “Muslim problem” is troubling, unfounded and racist. It’s only a problem for those criminals who decided to kill. Undoubtedly reasonable security measures must be taken. But yet it’s a “Muslim problem?”

There are over 6.5 million French citizens of the Islamic faith, two of which are hailed as hero’s in the attacks for putting their lives on the line to save those around them. It is a shame that in these times, those with journalistic responsibility like yourself can get away with making vile racist comments by laying collective blame on the entire Islamic French community, a “Muslim problem,” when Muslims like other French citizens, are trying to seek a better life. It is reductive of you to slap two statistic numbers together to try to somehow show how Muslims are really a problem for France. Yes “Muslims” as if we somehow are one living being. You cite unemployment being up to forty percent in immigrant areas. Unemployment as a whole is high in Europe. There have been riots in Greece and Italy in the recent past and the overall European economy is not exactly spectacular, being in recovery mode. Further, to say that half the inmates in French prisons are Muslim as if now declaring the “Aha!” moment is equivalent to saying forty percent of inmates in the U.S. are Black, and now officially declaring America having a “Black” problem. Again a reductionist view without looking at “The Why” behind these numbers, the systemic issues, the issues of true equal opportunities afforded to all citizens and understanding if and how discrimination can be a factor.

Christian problem

Hundreds of White Christian criminals (and that of other races with a Christian faith) commit crimes on a daily basis in Western nations yet it is not a “Christian problem.” And when Christians commit crimes in the name of Christianity, like Anders Breivik, Right Wing Christian militias, The IRA, David Koresh, The KKK, and other domestic Christian terrorism occurrences documented in Western nations, it’s still not a “Christian problem.”

It’s high time people like you who hold the keys to the narrative, be held to a very high ethical standard for every word you write and speak. To those viewing your article, by saying this is a “Muslim problem,” you have unapologetically and openly promoted hatred either through your ignorance and lack of genuine understanding of the Paris matter by making hasty and gross generalizations OR you have dutifully distorted the story on the ground. Either way, your article deserves no publication merit and should be revoked. Every statement must be founded on fact and explained, especially those that are ambiguous. “Muslim problem” is not explained by you. Rather, your article has sensationalized an illusion, the “Muslim problem” stating that all Muslims in Paris (and France) are collectively guilty. Is Zinedine Zidane, the former French soccer player, a national hero of France, and of Muslim background part of the ‘Muslim problem?” How about Rachida Dati who ran for mayor of Paris in 2013? And the many hard working Muslim families contributing to France, are they a problem too?

What exactly is a “Muslim problem” anyway? The irony is such a statement cannot be clarified because there is no such thing as a “Muslim problem,” not unless you are a Nazi and believe that Muslims must be exterminated. If this is the case, then I will award you the sole consequence to the still unexplained phrase. On that token, there must also be a Jewish problem? And a Hindu problem? Perhaps a Sikh problem? Can there even be a Christian problem lurking in your understanding? Probably not, Christians do not do terrible things in the name of God right?

I am a Muslim, yes, but I do not answer for no ones crimes, you must try to understand (must you actually be told this?) How in the world am I associated with someone who is a Muslim or not if they commit a crime, even if they say it’s in the name of God? I refuse to be guilty by association, that only by some remote link. That is got to be one of the most ignorant and foolish stretches of the imagination I have seen in recent times. The sensationalism of it all has gone to new frenzied heights yet it is just that, a frenzy. There is no real collective threat. Any threat at best is contained. Any threat at best knows no religion even when appearing to be fueled by one. Muslims in fact have been the greatest recipients of losses due to terrorism across the board in more then one way. The only thing collective is the untold Muslim narrative of contemporary times, all of us held hostage by the actions of a few, not only popularly dubbed as from the East, but also the West.

And how about the over one million civilians dead in Iraq by Western forces, a conservative number by far, is this a “Christian problem” or does this mean collective Christian guilt? The nearly daily drone strikes against so many innocent civilians in Afghanistan or Pakistan that have died at the hands of Western majority Christian nations isn’t obviously a “Christian problem” for you. It’s also certainly not an issue of bad democracy or a foreign policy problem either I’m sure. No, it’s just a war on terror and innocent civilians who’s lives have been destroyed are nameless, voiceless and rightless, but again, this is not framed a “Christian problem.”

“it crystallizes what everybody knows.”

Really? So 6.5 millions French Muslims are at war with France? Again sensational and a plain lie. This is horrid problematic journalism. Why have you decided to cherry pick which acts are trying to have more weight than other acts? Terrorism is terrorism, injustice is injustice and war is war. Some people regardless of background have involvement with terrorism in particular. It doesn’t matter where it is and who does it, if it is done, there should be a stoppage to it. In that stoppage, it is important root causes and grievances must be understood. Solutions should be pluralistic and encompassing, not narrow and unwilling. Nor can you keep killing and suppressing one, and not expecting a response from the other. We must look at ourselves honestly.

When innocent civilians die, it should be a problem for all of us. Case and point, there were 130 children slaughtered in Pakistan in December 2014 but no world outcry. No real over-arching condemnation and certainly no lasting media story. Alas, thanks to your article, it is true, justice is unfair.

Finally, you have failed to be balanced and informative. You are neither insightful and your bigotry should have you removed from your position at the Globe and Mail immediately. You should not get away with making a statement of open bigotry, a “Muslim problem” (that you can never back up anyway) and be employed unless you make a public apology. Your remarks are slander on a whole community of people and are not in the least helpful to those looking for answers. You have in fact put lives at risk where some crazy person may commit a hate crime against a Muslim. Such crimes have already in fact begun happening as a result of the Paris incident. This is disgusting and alarming. A pregnant Muslim woman was recently attacked by white French men that punched her stomach repeatedly. She lost her child. Countering your position, is this a “Christian problem?” By using “Muslim problem” as a way to offer substance in your article, you have in fact done what you are taught not to do in journalism, generalize and not be openly racist (for a mainstream paper in Canada I would think). It is only in today’s times where you may try to use such a phrase, “Muslim problem” and not face immediate consequences. Sighting “Black problem” or “Jewish problem” will be journalistic suicide no doubt. But there in fact lies the problem. Using “Muslim problem” is the problem. It closes any discourse for progress for there is no such thing as a “Muslim problem.” It only exists in the minds of extremist thinkers like you who must resort to such illusions to create a distorted world view of the fairy tale that never was.

The Murder of Civilians – a poem by studentasim

Yet isn’t that OK?
The differences that we have,
Is what makes us PRAY.
Whether there is GOD,
Or whether YOU think there isn’t.
We have our BELIEFS,
The sun has still risen.
Can never be the MISSION.
My FAITH doesn’t BLIND me,
Neither does my VISION…