In wake of the recent Boston Bombings, Americans have once again returned to asking the question of why it happened. Instead of addressing the root causes of fundamentalism, like normal much of the American main stream media and right wing independent media have returned to pointing the finger at Islam. With the investigation still in its early stages and with far too many unanswered questions, it’s irresponsible to point the figure at Islam, which only helps to add fuel to growing Islamophobia in the West.
As a staunch atheist, socialist and anti-imperialist I tend to take a hugely critical position on anything related to religion, for this reason I also tend to look at Islam from a rational perspective. Moreover that here is no doubt over the religious violence caused by Islam, yet this violence is caused by every religion. Even more so at the heart of every religion, is an element of fundamentalism, which is normally heightened by what the religious community sees as a religious subjugation and an infringement on their beliefs. This element can also be seen in Western Christianity, when Christians carry out terrorist attacks on abortion clinics in opposition of what they see as an infringement on their religious doctrine. Christian fundamentalists also tend not to view these acts as terrorism, because they view Planned Parenthood as an act to subjugate their religious beliefs. This same view can be applied to Islamic fundamentalism, which is reacting to U.S imperialism, through which they perceive as an act to infringe and subjugate Islam. Nonetheless, there is far more related to the causes of radical Islam than just U.S imperialism, even though U.S imperialism seems to be the core reason for radicalization.
Islamophobia is nothing new in Western media, consistently spinning the fear of terrorism and a demonization of Islam. For this reason there should be no surprise that following a terrorist attack the Western media goes into anti-Muslim overdrive. However, this consistent media spin and demonization attempts to void from the core causes of fundamentalism and unanswered question, while helping to create further Islamophobia and radical fundamentalism. The same kind of focus on religion is hardly applied to Christian terrorists as seen when Anders Breivik, who killed 77 people in Norway. Despite his Christian beliefs and his opposition to what he viewed as “Muslim immigration into Christian societies,” we hardly saw a demonization of Christianity, but instead an attempt to distance him from his religious believes.
Stoking the fires of racism and religious violence is not only dangerous and highly provocative, but is also a poor quality of journalism. What people have to realize is Islam is not the problem, as it’s no different from any other religion. However, Islamic fundamentalism is the problem, which is a direct result of certain elements of Islam, becoming radicalized through U.S imperialism and Western Islamophobia. The only way to stop Islamic fundamentalism is by addressing the core reasons for Islamic extremism, and insuring the same religious tolerance promoted in the West, is applied to Islam when reported in the media, just like any other religion.