Tediously enough, every time a bunch of people commit a violent atrocity and proclaim they’ve done it in the name of Islam, two positions emerge on my various social, op-ed and news feeds.
1. The atrocity has got everything to do with Islam.
2. The atrocity has got nothing to do with Islam.
Both in their own way is claiming that Islam is somehow exceptional.
The first claims that Islam is exceptional in its ability to inspire violence and hence the religion and all its adherents must be specifically targeted.
The second claims that Islam is exceptional as the only religion incapable of inspiring violence and hence the perpetrator’s claims that they’ve been inspired by Islam must be immediately dismissed.
The sad and complex truth is that it is the combination of Islam, conspiracy-laden fundamentalism and the underlying violence-normalised, hyper-masculine and often sexist culture of its perpetrator that produces these atrocities. Neither position offers any starting point to addressing the problem.