A very good friend, a Welsh convert to Islam, whom I can also vouch to be a very good man, has written in his Facebook feed:
Manchester.......death, mayhem and destruction. The suicide bomber's goal was pain and terror, twisted reason borne from hatred and a need for retribution.However, mass slaughter of innocents solves nothing. Ordinary UK citizens (or anyone) going about their lives harming no one, are not responsible for the catalogue of brutalities meted out by western armies in foreign lands. And the same people who died yesterday may well be those who in their daily lives oppose such interventionism and who have kindly supported their victims and refugees....Today in spite of how it might appear, millions of Muslims across the world are not celebrating and gloating in triumph. We are all feeling the same outrage and disgust. We are also distraught and perplexed by the kind of thinking that causes a Muslim to end his/her own life and that of others in such a dramatic and unforgivable fashion.More, it is fruit of perverted reason clothed in Islamic rationale. It is outrage unresolved, unfettered poisoning of beliefs and idealism turned evil. It is a dramatic and insane logic. It is so far out, we Muslims hardly recognize it....Clearly, though it is the cause, we must not blame the millions of innocent European citizens for paying taxes to fund their governments' acts of foreign aggression and slaughter of innocents such as we have witnessed so often in Afghanistan, Iraq, Syria, Palestine etc.Recognizing and opposing it is one thing, but acting out violent personal revenge is quite another.Likewise, we must not hold millions of ordinary Muslims worldwide responsible for the horrific perversions perpetuated by the tiny few. On the contrary, it is equally abhorrent to us and must be hotly and unreservedly condemned for the evil that it really is.
It is good, on the one hand, to hear an ordinary Muslim condemn Islamist terrorism.
On the other hand, it is troubling to hear him say, as if a given, that the Muslim world has a legitimate grievance against “the West” for aggression.
He refers specifically to a “slaughter of innocents” in “Afghanistan, Iraq, Syria,” and “Palestine.”
I can’t see it.
Consider Syria: there is indeed a slaughter of innocents going on, but other than air strikes, the West has stayed out. So how can you blame it on the West?
In Iraq, too, there was also a slaughter of innocents: Saddam’s invasion of Kuwait, and his use of chemical weapons on the Kurds. Both, of course, were Muslim. The West went in to overthrow him.
Here they took the opposite approach. Yet this too was blameworthy.
Starts to look like scapegoating, surely.
In Palestine, again, the West has not been involved. If innocent Palestinians and innocent Israelis are nevertheless killed, how is this the West’s fault?
In Afghanistan, the West went in. But who struck first? This was in reaction to Afghanistan sheltering Bin Laden, who had killed over 3,000 innocent Americans in a surprise attack. How is the West, and not the Afghans, blameworthy for that conflict? Don’t the deaths of innocent non-Muslims matter?
And why not also mention Kosovo, and Bosnia, where the West intervened to protect Muslim minorities from Christian majorities? Surely "the West" was equally guilty, by the same logic, for all the deaths there?
Yet my friends views are not unusual. He is not the only Muslim I know. His opinion seems to be the standard one.
This means, sadly, that there is simply nothing the West can do to appease Muslims and Islam. As they are being used as a scapegoat to preserve local solidarity, no action on their part can make things better. If they say yes, they are at fault. If they say no, they are at fault. If they intervene to end the violence, they are at fault. If they stay out, they are at fault. If they ignore the Muslim world, they are at fault. I they listen to the Muslim world, they are at fault.
The problem, I’m afraid, is within Islam.
And not just within a small faction called "radical Islam," "jihadism, or "Islamism." It is a problem even among the very best of Muslims.
There is, in the end, an impenetrable "us versus them" mentality. Non-Muslims are evil.