On Monday night, after opening the “Late Show” with a genuinely moving speech, Stephen Colbert continued the Orlando discussion with Bill O’Reilly. Unsurprisingly, the political commentator had a lot to say. Surprisingly, a lot of it actually made sense.
O’Reilly, a man who believes the U.S. needs to declare “war against Islam,” spoke about the intimate relationship between recent mass shootings and radical Islamic beliefs.
Colbert hit back, questioning the gun culture and the ease of access to rapid fire weaponry. O’Reilly begrudgingly accepted, admitting that access has become too easy. The problem of extremism and gun access, they agreed, are not exclusive. As the interview drew to a conclusion, the two men discussed Trump, with O’Reilly making a great point: The presumptive Republican nominee used the recent attack in Orlando to bolster his own popularity.
Even for Trump, the human equivalent of an online comment section, his remarks about the recent tragedy weren’t just self-serving, they were unfiltered, unhinged, and totally unnecessary. Opportunistic by nature, Trump posted, “I said this was going to happen,” before resorting to his “temporary ban on Muslims” spiel. If Trump is this trigger-happy on social media, just imagine id the nuclear codes were in his tiny hands.
As more and more horrific details of the slaughter continue to circulate, Trump continues to preach dangerous, factually incorrect falsehoods. Hillary Clinton, on the other hand, is reluctant to denounce the atrocity with anything other than ambiguous terminology. The divide in American politics is obvious.
The two presidential candidates don’t just disagree on solutions to the “problem,” they disagree on what the problem actually is. According to the presumptive Democratic nominee, the U.S. must come together, unite, pray, show solidarity. For her, gun control is a bigger problem than Islamic extremism, and for Trump, who recently received a ringing endorsement from the NRA, guns aren’t the problem, immigration is.
Yes, Mrs. Clinton is right to discuss the unhealthy, systemic gun culture. Only a fool would argue otherwise, but only a fool would try and pray the problem away. Trump, as dogmatic as ever, knows what he knows. Though the shooter was born in New York, Trump is fixated upon this blanket ban idea, which is as illogical as it is irrational.
Political Correctness vs. Trumpian Ignorance
A braggadocios, maniacal, egotistical buffoon versus an overly cautious, totally predictable, politically correct veteran. The choice, however distasteful, seems pretty straightforward, folks. For all her faults, Hillary is a far more accomplished, competent politician. She’s also mentally sound, which is kind of important when you want to become the next president of the United States.
Nevertheless, Trump seems to echo the skewed sentiments of millions around the world. Although his assertions are both toxic and archaic, the recent surge of extremism proves that a corrupt, malevolent ideology exists within the Muslim world.
Having lived and worked as a lecturer in the Middle East, I am convinced that only one of the three major religions–namely Christianity, Judaism, and Islam–poses a direct threat to western civilization.
When thoroughly and objectively examined, Islam appears to embody more supremacist political ideologies than religious philosophies. Encompassing military, political, economic, and behavioral aspects, Islam is the only religion whose adherents are consistently involved in murderous acts around the world.
Christianity, for all its flaws, does at least hint at the idea of acceptance and tolerance, whereas Islam criticizes other religions, labeling their ideologies inferior and unsound.
By western standards, controversial as this may sound, Islam doesn’t just promote discrimination, it supports the subservience of and – in some cases – the physical abuse of women. The promotion or support of honor killings, the replacement of western law with Sharia law, the unforgiving, fascist legal system, intimidation, threats, and severe actions against transgressors; I could go on.
But Islam is a religion of love and peace, I hear you say. Not exactly; there’s little mention of love, especially in later Qur’anic writings. In fact, later scriptures encourage both intolerance and submission to Islam. How often do we read about Roman Catholics, Orthodox Jews, or Quakers walking into a nightclub with a gun?
But extremists interpret the Qur’an wrongly, I hear you say. Perhaps, but please answer this, how else would you interpret the following verses of the Qur’an?
Quran 3:85: “If anyone desires a religion other than Islam (submission to Allah), never will it be accepted of him; and in the Hereafter He will be in the ranks of those who have lost (All spiritual good).”
Quran 9:29: Fight those who believe neither in Allah nor the Last Day, nor hold that forbidden which hath been forbidden by Allah and His Messenger, nor acknowledge the religion of Truth, even if they are of the People of the Book.
**(referring to Christians and Jews), until they pay the Jizya with willing submission, and feel themselves subdued.
Quran 9:39: Unless ye go forth, (waging Jihad) He will punish you with a grievous penalty, and put others in your place; but Him ye would not harm in the least.
Quran 9:73: O Prophet! strive hard against the unbelievers and the Hypocrites, and be firm against them. Their abode is Hell,- an evil refuge indeed
At least the New Testament, for all its nonsensical babble, emphasizes some semblance of love and equality. Christianity’s desire to influence moral behavior is, depending on how you view it, either laughable or highly commendable. Islam, on the other hand, seeks to inflict a vise-like grip on society, governing everything from personal finances to legal proceedings. Good deeds, according to the Qur’an, are defined as anything that further the progress of Islam, even if these deeds involve acts of terror.
In the words of Binali Yildirim, the Prime Minister of Turkey, “The Muslim world is waiting for Turkish people to rise up. The mosques are our barracks, the domes our helmets, the minarets our bayonets, and the faithful our soldiers. This holy army guards my religion.”
It’s not as simple as labeling Islam evil, however. Why? Because the vast majority of Muslims are decent, law-abiding citizens. Millions of peace-loving Muslims dedicate themselves to living, working, and raising their families in the best way possible. A blanket ban on Muslim immigration is not the answer. After all, Omar Marteen was born in New York; he lived in the U.S. for almost 30 years before imploding. If he was radicalized, the internet played a major role in this transformation. The Islamic State’s tentacles are far-reaching; the group influenced the Paris attacks, the San Bernardino shooters, and the recent Beirut bombings.
The psychological nuances are far more intricate than Trump can ever fully comprehend, yet, as we already know, that does little to prevent him from making racist remarks.
However, Trump has tapped into a genuine sense of disillusionment, exploiting society’s fragility in the process. This is a time for change, this is a time to forego “political correctness,” but we must first admit that an evil ideology exists, an intangible force that consumes thousands and thousands of individuals on an annual basis.
It’s the Democrats’ refusal to utter the words “Islamic terrorism” that could breathe new life into Trump’s presidential push. For all his incoherent, idiotic ramblings, Trump recognizes that many Americans are disgusted by Islamic principles. Many are afraid to openly voice their distrust, but the hate is simmering beneath a shoddily veneered surface. Trump is forever talking about bombing ISIS, ‘taking them out’, killing the ‘bad guys.’ But tell me this, Donald, how do you kill an idea?
The answer does not lie in prolonging the violence. After all, a man bleeds, a man dies, but a dangerous idea can outlive us all.