An imam from the French city of Bordeaux has called for followers of the religion to protest the Paris shootings, describing the event as “tantamount to what September 11 meant to America”. Imam Tareq Oubrou referred to the massacre as “tantamount to an act of war”, and described the Charlie Hebdo shootings as a “red line” that “was breached that threatens civil peace.”
While certainly fuelled by outrage at the actions of the Islamic extremists, and empathy for their victims, it’s hard not to read another motivation for the statements.
Despite having no previous knowledge of the gun men, nor sharing their extreme beliefs, Muslims are increasingly being called on to condemn terrorists and other extremists despite the only thing they share in common is that they both label their beliefs “Islam”.
“Condemning attack is not enuf: unless U strongly endorse the right of anyone to make fun of any religion/ prophet, U r not a moderate Muslim” Bill Maher, or a 13 year old interning for the host of Real Time with Bill Maher, tweeted earlier this morning.
The stirring of anti-Islamic sentiment that occurs after these attacks seems anti-ethical to the goals of Islamic terrorists. Surely they’re bombing and shooting innocent people to improve Islam’s global reputation?
To get to the bottom of this paradox we managed to get in contact with Rahi Mohamed, star of the popular Funny And Die internet video series for the Islamic State, who has publicly encouraged Muslims to commit violent acts in Western countries. Mr Mohamed spoke to us while on a media tour for the new season of his series.
“I am perplexed as to why these attacks are giving a giant microphone to anti-Islamic sentiment,” the propagandist informed The (un)Australian via telephone interview.
“I guess you could say I’m [sound of what appears to be sniggering is audible] shocked that these things are happening. It’s certainly an unintended [more sniggering can be heard] consequence.
“When attacks like this foster anti-Islamic sentiment, it alienates moderate, peaceful Muslims from Western communities. This creates feelings of resentment and persecution among Muslims, who are then more able to find fraternity in the violent, extremist fringe.
“What could groups like the Islamic State possibly have to gain from something like that?”
The new season of Funny And Die begins February 2nd.
Matthew Farthing is the Terrorism Correspondent for The (un)Australian. He has advised Australia, the UK and the US on terrorism preparation. Always unsolicited. Follow him on Twitter.