Do we belittle the concerns of others?

In the aftermath of the horrific Manchester attack there have been two dominant stories on the social media feeds of those in our echo chamber. The first is naming those murdered and the testimonies of those directly affected. The second is ensuring that Muslims are not associated with this kind of extremism, that hate speech and animosity towards these people is minimised.

However, as many of us know, there have been different reactions to the attack. This has occurred in communities that care deeply about their security. They want to protect their children and ensure their families are safe. On this level, it’s a view that we can all empathise with.

This is not where we are having a debate when it comes to terrorism. From the reading I’ve done, it seems like we are divided on whether we believe Islam is inherently a peaceful religion or not. We have acknowledged and championed the moderate, peaceful and loving Muslims who care about their country. The difference lies here: where we believe extremists subvert Islam, others believe that moderate Muslims do not have a large enough majority in their community.

As an agnostic who is not a particular fan of any religion, I find it very difficult to engage in this kind of conversation. I would similarly find it difficult to discuss whether Christianity is an inherently peaceful religion. But it seems that this refusal to engage with the question itself is upsetting for those who want to ensure an attack like Manchester never happens again. And that it certainly never happens when the perpetrator is known to the authorities for having extreme jihadist links and tendencies.

Here are some articles that I’ve seen spread on social media on the other side. I have no idea what your reaction will be, so please do email me your comments. Please remember, I don’t try and show a ‘better’ perspective, but simply a different one.

Articles and statuses shared

Islamists are very clear about what they want — we just aren’t listening

“For their part, the Islamists are amazingly clear about what they want and the reasons why they act accordingly. You never have to read between the lines. Listen to Jawad Akbar, recorded in the UK in 2004 as he discussed the soft targets he and his al Qaeda-linked cell were planning to hit. The targets included the Ministry of Sound nightclub in London. What was the appeal? As Akbar said to his colleague, Omar Khyam, no one could ‘turn round and say “Oh they are innocent”, those slags dancing around.’

Do people think this stuff comes from thin air? It was always there. Because it’s at the religion’s origins and, unlike the women–suspecting stuff in the other monotheisms (mild though they are by comparison), too few people are willing to admit it or reform this hatred, disdain and of course fear of women that is inherent in Islam.”

Read more in the Spectator

Brendan O’Neill on Facebook

“Cognitive Dissonance

Leftist: ISIS attacks in the West are fuelled by anger at Western foreign policy.

ISIS: Nah, we’re sectarians who hate you for refusing to bow before our religious diktats.

Leftist: Come now, you’re better than that.

ISIS: We really aren’t.

Leftist: It’s political anger you’re feeling. At some level. You’re kind of anti-war!

ISIS: I’m pretty sure we love war.

Leftist: But if our nations didn’t attack your nations, you wouldn’t attack ours.

ISIS: We would. We have. Sweden. Belgium. They didn’t attack us and they still got it.

Leftist: But Trump. And Bush. And Blair. Such awful people! They made you like this, they made you do this.

ISIS: I’m pretty sure it was Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi giving me orders, not Tony Blair.

Leftist: But we are so Islamophobic and you hate us for that. We should respect Islam more.

ISIS: We don’t want you to respect Islam, we want you to convert to it. Have you read anything we’ve written?

Leftist: Look, once we leave your lands, you will leave us alone, I just know it!

ISIS: We won’t.

Leftist: You will.

ISIS: We won’t.

Leftist: You will.

ISIS: Okay, we will. *quiet maniacal laugh*”

Access O’Neill’s feed here (though it updates every few hours, so this post may be down the page)

Why Salmon Abedi grew to hate us – a British Libyan on the poison of Islamism

“Manchester and Birmingham are home to some of the most militant Islamists in the UK. They mingle and operate throughout local Muslim communities with relative impunity, and maintain networks up and down the M1 motorway to London. They also have a significant presence online with which they extend their influence globally. At the level of propaganda, at least, they’re not an underground movement. They are out in the open.”

Openly discussing Islamism is not an attack on me or any other British Muslim. We are the hostages of Islamism and its vampire preachers who weaponised Salman Abedi and used him to slaughter 22 innocents, in the midst of their joy, out of sheer spite. Speaking frankly and honestly about this horror is the only hope we have of emerging from it as anything resembling a cohesive British family.”

Read more in Spiked Online

Future Concerns

The Rochdale horror goes on

“Nearly 50 under-age girls were groomed, raped and in some cases gang-raped at the Tasty Bites takeaway.

The victims were white, working class and predominantly from broken or chaotic homes.

All but one of the perpetrators were originally from Pakistan. Most were married with children, respected in their community…

‘The bottom line is that this is still going on,’ said Liz Thirsk [former Liberal Democrat councillor and a campaigner behind the Rochdale-based group Parents Against Grooming].

‘It hasn’t stopped and in my opinion it is not going to be stopped as long as we choose to be politically correct and refuse to admit that we have got a cultural issue here with some Pakistani men.’ …

They are not the only predators at large in the town, says former detective Maggie Oliver, who was instrumental in bringing Shabir Ahmed and his paedophile ring to justice.

Many of the alleged offenders named by victims were not officially recorded by detectives.

‘They are still out there right now in Rochdale,’ she says. ‘I still support many of the girls and they tell me they’ve seen them.”

Read more in the Daily Mail

Political Correctness let grooming gangs prosper

“Mr Singh founded the Sikh Awareness Society to encourage Sikh families to act against sexual abuse.

And he said that political correctness had let the gangs succeed.

He told Katie [Hopkins]: “I think it is due to political correctness, but it’s also down to nobody wants to be called a racist. Nobody wants to call a spade a spade. Nobody’s really grabbing the bull by the horns and saying “No, abuse is abuse”.

“But they don’t want to be labelled that we’re after one community, we’re targeting one community.”

Watch the video on LBC

The Libyan terror network extending across Greater Manchester and beyond

“Since the attack anti-terror officials have been examining Salman Abedi’s links to Libyan dissidents within the city and the country as a whole, including other young people in Manchester who have become radicalised by ISIS and fled the country.

Manchester has the biggest Libyan community in the country, many brought to the city in the 1980s and 1990s when fleeing the Gaddafi regime.

Members of the community – which has been rocked by the horrors of Monday night – say they have been warning the authorities for years of terrorist recruiters targeting their young men, with bomber Abedi simply the most deadly and high profile result of their tactics.”

Read more in Manchester Evening News

Wrapping it up…

Right now, there is an overwhelming feeling that those who have influence are more concerned about political correctness than national security. The ‘metropolitan elite’ care more about the freedom of extremists than the lives of their children. That we are quicker to condemn Katie Hopkins than condemn the actions of Salman Abedi.

In our echo chamber we talk a lot about the societal divisions that occur as a result of hate speech towards Muslims. I believe this to be true. However, there are many divisions in society, and this is just one that needs repairing. We also need to regain trust with those who are very concerned about our security, whilst keeping our own integrity and morals intact.

Alice Thwaite

Alice Thwaite is Founder and Editor-in-Chief of The Echo Chamber Club. Her twitter is @alicelthwaite. She reads as many independent blogs as she can find, and uses social media monitoring to identify common opinions that liberal metropolitans hold, or where they need a little extra information.