I want to quote Sarah Haider’s Twitter thread on the Quebec Mosque shooting at length here. She’s doing some amazing work as co-founder of Ex-Muslims of North America and I thought this was one of the best responses I’ve seen to a terror event and something we should all consider for following events.
Don’t know about the motives in the Quebec Mosque shooting yet, but I’ll say this
It is obscene how quickly both sides of the divide use violence to confirm their worldview, all are itching to be the “most right”
Which is silly, because the world is complicated, there can be many narratives true at once.
It *is* true that violence inspired by Islam is a menace to society, destroying nations abroad and weakening liberal values in the West
It *is* also true that there are disgusting xenophobic, bigoted attitudes which affect the lives of peaceful believers.
Over the short run, both of these are likely to get much worse before they get better.
As casualties in all directions mount, it gets harder and harder to resist “picking a side” – dishonest apologism or anti-Muslim bigotry.
However, it is VITAL we resist. The principle that differentiates how we treat people as opposed to their ideas is the KEY to progress.
We must challenge, scrutinize and ridicule the ideas of the white supremacists, the mullahs, the irrational, the bigoted.
But “bad think” (while occasionally revolting) is not a crime in itself and *no* physical retribution is justified in response to it.
People can change, people can adapt. Human beings have rights, their ideas do not.
It is vital we are true to liberal principles – to the idea that no belief is too sacred, but all life deserves dignity.
Vultures on all sides are cheerleading polarization – painting their opposition incapable of change, unworthy of honest discourse.
This places the very idea of liberal democracy in jeopardy, and can land us all in grave danger.
I see both the Left and the Right taking aim at the moderates in their camp as “traitors” to the cause. This is *highly* disturbing.
Far-right extremists are vilifying principled conservatives – exposing them to vicious (and often racist) abuse and threats
While the far-left is vilifying liberal critics of identity politics or Islam – disparaging their character and motives
As moderates fall silent, violence will amplify, which Eastern *and* Western extremists will use to further their agendas…
.…and justify targeting more moderates until we are left with only the cruelest among us, zealots prepared to do anything for their dogma.
We must resist this! We must maintain compassion, intellectual honesty, and hold ourselves to account as often as we do our opposition
In times of fear and chaos, it is easy and comforting to abandon principle – STAND ABOVE IT, DO THE HARD THING.