I wasn’t going to mention this, but some commenters on this blog have already done so, and in that case I would rather have my opinion registered than leave people guessing.
It is too early to tell why two men drove a car into a third – who is believed to have been a serving soldier – then got out and attacked him with machetes – or at the very least, large bladed objects – dragged him into the road, and then danced around shouting admittedly Muslim-style slogans or got passers-by to film speeches they made about why they did it.
However, a friend of mine – who has been a member of the armed forces in the past – was so affected by what happened that he posted a message on Facebook to the effect that he wanted all Muslims killed.
This is what such attacks achieve. They don’t solve anything; they just perpetuate the misery.
I do not sympathise with my friend’s point of view. Even if this was the work of Muslims, those two people do not speak for all of Islam. I have encountered many Muslims during what is still a relatively brief life; some I have been privileged to have been able to call friends. I’ve also known several Jewish people whose company was also a delight. And earlier this week I attended a Catholic religious ceremony (a funeral) and felt very welcome.
My point? All these faiths are about peace.
A man standing on the street with bloodstained hands, telling us that women in his country have had to witness worse than what he has just done, has nothing to do with peace – and therefore nothing to do with religion.
It’s a trick, you see – pointing you in one direction so you don’t see what’s been happening in the other. Politicians do it all the time – and if you don’t think so, consider the UK Statistics Authority and its assertions about the number of times Iain Duncan Smith has parted company with the facts.
What happened in Woolwich was not rooted in religion; it was about violent crime, which is something that all religions abhor.
But it seems to me that, until we can eliminate the religious rhetoric, from all versions of what is going on, we are all – Christian, Muslim, whatever denomination we may be – going to have the hardest time bringing the murderers, and the murderers who demand the murders, to justice.
That’s all I have to say about it.