I would like to draw attention to certain phrases that are becoming increasingly loaded. Phrases such as “religious extremist” and “radical Muslim” and the unending “war on terror”. These phrases are increasingly misused to describe situations and events occurring around the world, even by respected news sources.
These phrases throw up barriers to discussion because they are loaded with fear and carry undertones of terrorism such as “extremist” and “radical”, and tie them directly to the religion of Islam. Sometimes the religion is not named specifically but people are demonised and made to be a monster that they are not. This only appears to divide people, and rather than overcome their differences.
From a Buddhist perspective, this is a case of applying the wrong name and concept to the basis. Based on mislabeling the basis, the concepts and narrative followed by respected news sources are incorrect. It is only if we apply a valid name and concept to the basis can we talk about conventional reality accurately.
This brief interview begins to change the narrative by talking about US foreign policy:
The 2004 task force report commissioned by the Rumsfeld Pentagon on the causes of terrorism made the statement below that only reinforces the point that looking at differences is inappropriate. Instead, many issues are about specific US foreign policies:
Muslims do not “hate our freedom,” but rather, they hate our policies. The overwhelming majority voice their objections to what they see as one-sided support in favor of Israel and against Palestinian rights, and the longstanding, even increasing support for what Muslims collectively see as tyrannies, most notably Egypt, Saudi Arabia, Jordan, Pakistan, and the Gulf states.
The following article phrases the situation in language taken from Star Wars. As it puts the “your terrorist is my rebel alliance”. Would the story have really escalated in Star Wars and IRL:
- What if Obi Wan Kenobi wasn’t forced into exile?
- What if Luke Skywalker and Princess Leia weren’t forced into hiding for their own protection?
- What if the Empire didn’t kill Luke Skywalker’s uncle Owen and aunt Beru?
- What if Darth Vader didn’t kill Obi Wan Kenobi, but talked to him instead?
From a Buddhist perspective, if we stop trying to demonise each other and instead relate to each other so that we are able to talk through US foreign policy.
This is not to say that there aren’t mad people in the world. But they are just mad, any association with being Islamic is incidental. A few days ago suicide bombers attacked in Balad in Iraq. The Muslim Najih Shakir held one mad suicide bomber, killing himself but saving the lives of many others.