The Extremes of Woolwich


The horrendous murder of a British soldier – Lee Rigby – savaged on the streets of south east London yesterday, sparked an outcry across social media that I don’t think I’ve quite seen before in this country. A backlash that threatened to spill over into violent clashes on the streets. This is the dark side of social media. And it came from two extremes, with equally as repugnant statements.

The far right Nationalists used the attack, to highlight their hate for all Muslims, and in fact, anyone with slightly darker skin, as a group. They, in their ignorance, seem to be under the impression that a fringe Al-Shabaab supporting maniac, is somehow a perfect representation of British Muslims as a whole. They took to the streets, disgustingly attacking Mosques and shouting abuse at anyone who doesn’t fit their narrow band of what is deemed correct. Upon social media, they issued thinly veiled, as well as quite blatant threats, alongside vicious racism, that in my mind, can only be described as inflicting terror also:

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But it wasn’t just the far right Nationalists who vented their propaganda, and hate. Then came the apologists, and their predictable attempts to deflect blame from the guilty, onto the West in general. Unwilling to accept or even acknowledge that Al-Shabaab are responsible for murdering innocent Muslims also. They instead choose to over simplify the World, into two camps: Islam v Enemies of Islam – much the same way that the EDL do, only a little more subtle with their tactics. As if believing in the same God as people you’ve never met, in a country thousands of miles away, is some sort of justification for senseless murder. The victim mentality:

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Thankfully, the majority of social media remarks upon the murder in Woolwich, were both respectful and decent, from Muslims and non-Muslims alike, focusing on the murdered soldier. This marked the difference between moderates, and extremes quite intensely. The moderates seemed entirely focused on expressing shock and sorrow at the loss of a life in such a brutal manner. Those on the extremes, did not seem too interested in the loss of life, and the unthinkable tragedy his family have just had inflicted upon them, choosing instead to focus on either how much they dislike all Muslims, or how things like this only happen, because of British foreign policy. It seemed an easy way for the extremes to score very cheap and easy points.

No doubt the motives will be discussed, there will be those who claim Islamic extremism is fostered entirely by Western foreign policy, being as they tend to be, so naively unable to accept that negative and wholly unacceptable interpretations of their own faith might shoulder some blame. There will be those who claim to be “defending” England, without accepting that the terror they apparently deplore, they themselves are guilty of handing out, frightening decent Muslim men, women and children who have done nothing wrong. But it is important to remember that at the heart of this entire situation, is a family who have lost a loved one, in such a horrendous manner. I feel for the Muslim community of Woolwich over the next few days and weeks. The possible violent and completely unjustified retribution against an innocent community, is shocking to the rest of us, but terrifying to the people living it.

“An extremely popular and witty soldier, Drummer Rigby was a larger than life personality within the Corps of Drums and was well known, liked and respected across the Second Fusiliers”

– MoD statement.

I feel for the family of Lee Rigby, of 2nd Battalion the Royal Regiment of Fusiliers, who so heartbreakingly leaves behind a 2 year old son, and who, in the most tragic circumstances, lost his life yesterday.

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8 Responses to The Extremes of Woolwich

  1. Benji Popkid says:

    The problem is that with tragic events such as yesterdays heinous act, horrific emotions overtake the humanity within various elements of society.

  2. Carnun says:

    Reblogged this on The Ramblings of a Young Atheist and commented:
    I’ve been neglecting the blog for a short while now but, I assure you, I’m still around. I hate that I have had to ignore it, but writing time really is a luxury at the moment; what with it being exam season ‘n all.

    As soon it’s all over, I’ll be back ‘on schedule’ with this. I really miss it – but for now you’ll have to do with a repost.

    So, here’s “Futile Democracy’s” take on the backlash to the recent Woolwich attack… Cheery stuff, I know, but it’s something which has to be said, and the author expresses it far better than I ever could.

    Carnun 😛

  3. Sean says:

    You have many good points but calling everyone who sees a link between foreign policy and acts like the Woolwich murder ‘apologists’ is pretty disrespectful. There is a clear link and it was obvious that fighting fire with petrol was only going to strengthen the fundamentalists.

  4. I am not a fan at all of the apologist anti-war left. I find them to be despicable. So I have no problem being labelled “disrespectful” by them for this.

  5. tildeb says:

    naively unable to accept that negative and wholly unacceptable interpretations of their own faith might shoulder some blame.

    completely unjustified retribution against an innocent community

    You are showing a bias here that excuses the important, indeed, central role the doctrine of islam – and those who support it as the perfect word of god – continues to play in finding a sizable minority willing to act on what the doctrine promotes. This promotion of brutality, rape, and death against unbelievers is without question expressed repeatedly in the koran. And this is the point: the doctrine of islam IS a radical, fundamentalist, extremist religion incompatible with western liberal secular enlightenment values. You can’t wish this away. You can’t pretend it’s simply a matter of personal interpretation. You can’t pretend it doesn’t really matter. It’s here; it’s real; it matters.

    Fortunately, most muslims will not act on it as they are commanded to do, but by offering up their identity to it as a believer – a muslim – these ‘innocent’ folk are very much an important cover for the creation and development and exportation of this religiously inspired terrorism in our midst.

    To associate this act with foreign policy is a ruse. The excuses for run from being offended in the name of islam to being defensive in the name of islam, but the result is always the same: carrying out violence against unbelievers excused by obeying the doctrine of islam. Until all of us wake up to this danger, we are just as much a part of the problem as the communities that create these barbarians.

  6. Roz says:

    Theresa May, the British Home Secretary, has announced today that she will be cracking down on those who express anti-religious hatred through the internet very soon. This includes any offensive bigotry and blasphemous acts against any religion – not only Islam. This is to ensure harmony and cohesion in society and – in the light of certain recent issues – to counteract potentially libellous slanders on the Internet.

  7. “This includes any offensive bigotry and blasphemous acts against any religion”
    – Where has Theresa May called for anti-blasphemy laws? You have just made that up. She has not called for anti-blasphemy laws. And rightly so. We should all be free to criticise, satire, and mock all ideas, including religious.

  8. tildeb says:

    Roz, are you sure your claim is accurate? Cracking down on anti-religious hatred? That’s certainly not what she’s talking about here and this is the most recent I can find for anything ‘announced’ today by Theresa May. If you have a link, I would very much appreciate it.

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