Considering Ariana Grande’s Manchester Concert
The attack on Ariana Grande’s Manchester show last night was an assault on teenage dreams, enlightened values and secular culture. We have to fight for our rights and snuff out Islam’s radical undercurrents asap!
Last night a coward strapped with an “improvised” bomb murdered 22 people and injured 59 outside a concert venue filled with teenagers in central Manchester. It was the worst terrorism incident in the UK since 2005. Police said the bomber, who killed himself in the explosion, detonated the device shortly after the end of Ariana Grande’s show at about 10:30pm. The incident adds the northern English city to the growing list of recent western targets that includes London, Paris, Stockholm, Brussels and Berlin. By pinpointing a pop concert – a so-called ‘soft target’ (that has echoes of the Bataclan massacre in Paris or the Orlando nightclub hit in Florida) – the Islamic evildoers are going after what they regard as Western cultural decadence and political timidity.
The continued attacks by Islamic terrorists against the West – most recently, the horrific suicide bombing last night in Manchester claimed by Islamic State (IS) – have led many to ask, what is the motivation of the terrorist freaks? Commentators (like the BBC, Fareed Zakaria and Jeremy Corbyn) are eager to offer a range of pseudo-explanations – poverty, the Israeli-Palestinian conflict, Donald Trump, the far right, etc. – while ignoring the motivation the terrorists themselves openly proclaim: Islam.
The near silence about the true role of Islam in motivating Islamic terrorists has a few fundamental causes: multiculturalism, moral relativism and religion. Multiculturalism asserts that all cultures are equal and therefore none may criticize another; intellectuals and politicians are therefore reluctant to declare the obvious superiority of Western culture to Islamic culture. Ditto moral relativism. And the strong commitment to religion, especially conservatives, makes them reluctant to indict a religion as the cause of a massive evil. But if we are to identify the fundamental cause of the terrorists’ actions, we must understand at least two fundamental premises of the religion they indiscriminately kill for.
First, Islam, like all religions, rejects reason as a means of gaining knowledge and guiding action; it holds that all important truths are grasped by faith in supernatural beings and sacred texts. The Koran explicitly states that knowledge comes from revelation, not thinking or the use of logic. (Christianity in pure form entails a similar rejection of reason, but it has been heavily diluted and secularized since the Renaissance.) Islam advocates the subordination of every sphere of life to religious dogma, including the legal system, politics, economics, culture and family life; the word “Islam” means literally: submission. The individual is not supposed to think independently but to selflessly subordinate himself to the dictates of his religion and its theocratic representatives. We have seen this before in the West – it was called the Dark Ages.
Second, as with any religion that seeks converts, a derivative tenet of Islam is that it should be imposed by force (you cannot persuade someone of the non-rational). The Koran is replete with calls to take up arms in its name: “fight and slay the Pagans wherever you find them . . . those who reject our signs we shall soon cast into the fire . . . those who disbelieve, garments of fire will be cut out for them; boiling fluid will be poured down on their heads . . . as to the deviators, they are the fuel of hell,” etc.
These ideas easily lead to today’s fanaticism and terrorism. In fact, what is often referred to as the “fanaticism” of many Muslims is explicitly endorsed by their religion. Consider the following characteristics of religious fanatics. The fanatic demands unquestioning obedience to religious dogma – so does Islam. The fanatic cannot be reasoned with, because he rejects reason – so does Islam. The fanatic eagerly embraces any call to impose his dogma by force on those who will not adopt it voluntarily – so does Islam. The terrorists are not “un-Islamic” bandits who have “hijacked a great religion”; they are consistent and serious followers of their religion.
It is true that many Muslims who live in the West (like most Christians) reject religious fanaticism and are law-abiding and even loyal citizens, but this is because they have accepted some Western values, including respect for reason, a belief in individual rights, and the need for a separation between church and state. It is only to the extent that they depart from their religion – and from a culture that imposes it – that they achieve prosperity, freedom, and peace.
In the last few years, there has been more and more of a call for a “War of Ideas” and a “War against militant ideology” – an intellectual campaign (in Europe, the US, the UK and elsewhere) to win the “hearts and minds” of the Muslim world that will discourage and discredit Islamic terrorism. Unfortunately, the centerpiece of this campaign so far has been to appeal to Muslims with claims that Islam is perfectly consistent with Western ideals, and inconsistent with terrorism. The UK and Europe have groveled to so-called “moderate” Muslim leaders to strongly repudiate terrorism, with little success. (Those leaders have focused little energy on damning Islamic fanaticism, and much on the alleged sins of Western governments and “The war on terror.”). Such a campaign amounts to moral and cultural relativism/self-crippling ambivalence and cannot work, since insofar as these “moderates” accept Islam, they cannot convincingly oppose violence in its name. A true “War of Ideas” would be one in which we proclaim loudly and with moral certainty the secular values we stand for: reason, rights, freedom, fun, material prosperity, and personal happiness on this earth. Last night’s atrocious attack on Ariana’s concert and innocent fans was an attack on those same cherished values.
President Trump described the attack as the work of nihilistic “evil losers.” German Chancellor Angela Merkel said it “will only strengthen our resolve to…work together with our British friends against those who plan and carry out such inhumane deeds.” Prime Minister Theresa May said it was “an appalling and sickening act against civilized people and children.”
We are at war with militant Islamists who lust for our annihilation. Our survival depends, not only on having a more powerful military and intel services, but on the courage to use our might – to act on what is morally proper – to act on our urgent need of ferocious self-defense and to call out Islam for what it really is: a hostile political vehicle that uses a deity to advance its agenda of global conquest and masquerades as a moderate religion.”
VIVISXN stands in solidarity with the wonderful city of Manchester and encourages anyone concerned about loved ones to contact the helplines: 0161 856 9400 and 0161 856 9900
VIVISXN – Pop Culture + Politics