Is Islam a threat? The word propaganda comes to mind here…
In the West, we generally asociate propaganda with state-controlled media in the old Soviet Union or Red China. We rarely train the same microscope on ourselves, as we assume that such a mass exercise in conditioning does not happen in Western society. Case and point: our leaders have told us that ‘The War on Terror’ may last 100 years or more.
But propaganda does live and breathe in the West too. Since 2001, our collective media and national conversation has been centred on the insidious threat we seem to be facing by co-existing with Islam. It was not so long ago that the German government employed the same strategy to mobilize suspicion of their Jewish population which led to an appauling and well-documented Holocaust in that region during the Second World War.
Framing the Islamic faith as a ‘threat’ will eventually isolate Muslims who live in the West, divding communities, rather than integrating them.
Islam, like Christianity, contains a doctrine of peace within its holy book and, like Christianity, this is embodied by most Muslims worldwide. Islam, Judaism and Christianity share a common history, culture, as well as many prophets too. Those who know this common ground have celebrated it for centuries in the form of trade, hospitality, cultural exchange and friendships. But there are those who are oblivious to this and choose to follow down the road of ignorance instead.
Fear has led to paranoia, and this paranoia has manifested in all manner of legislation and police state measures in the West. If there are, as we are led to believe, totally independent terrorist cells working in the shadows, they most certainly number in the very few and cannot pose a credible threat to the military super powers of America, NATO and Israel.
What is the end game to this conversation? Would the West like to ethnically cleanse the world of Islam, or will they renew the dark days of the Spanish Iquisition where Muslims and Jews were converted to Christianity under force?
Where is the threat? Many educated observers believe that this campaign of demonizing Islam is in fact a political smokescreen designed to further foreign policy overseas and implement tighter controls at home.
In view of this, the greatest threat we are facing today is certainly not Islam, nor is it ‘Islamic terrorism’, or ‘Islamo-fascists’. Both those terms are simple propaganda devices. Rather, the single greatest threat we face in the West today is the very threat we are imposing on ourselves- in our need to feel hyper-secure.
In the end, we can choose which world we want to live in. Any way you cut it, the conversation is thin and the propaganda is losing its point of reference by the day. We live in an integrated world where diversity is celebrated- not scorned upon.
Perhaps the real question for Western society should be, “Which world do you want to see your children grow up in?”