Colonial Conflict and the Threat of Radical Islam (RELS 348)

After the recent attacks in Paris, questions emerged as to how big a threat the radical Islamic movement is to Canada. Conrad Black provides an answer to this question through his right leaning article “Radical Islam poses a real, direct threat to the West-including Canada”, National Post, January 24 2015 . It is best to point out Black’s Roman Catholic bias before any criticisms as this topic concerns a clash between western religions. He argues that the opposition is not recognizing the threat these radical movements are to the West and that there is a need for increased military action.

This appears to be the conflict of two colonialist movements brought about by contrasting ideologies. On the one hand there is the Islamic movement, here he quotes the associate publisher to the newspaper Le Figaro “Islamists massacre Christians in Egypt, Iraq, Philippines, Indonesia, Pakistan, Nigeria, all over, in fact.” Notice, there is the association with the West as being Christian, which I could argue is quite more convoluted than stated by increased globalization and immigration in Canada. Black states, “…that all Islam hates and wishes the destruction of the West” which is a very belligerent image that he places on all Islam. On the other hand, the West uses a neo-colonialist approach. Ideas are spread through business globalization or cultural imperialism instead of direct military force.

Black criticizes the thought that Western nations provoke attacks from the Muslim community. He condemns “…our pitiful Western leaders still imputing these incidents to a few malcontents, the pressing of ‘hot buttons’ of Muslim sensitivity”. It was not Charlie’s offending images that instigated the resulting attack; it was merely an opportunity for the radical movement to demonstrate their already existing hatred. I pose the question as to whether America would be so lenient if other nations printed similar images of their “idols”. It surely would not go without retaliation. He fails to mention the increase in anti-Muslim attacks in Paris after the incident. The fact that the Muslim police officer, Ahmed Merabet, died trying to stop the attack on Charlie also went unstated. I suggest further study of such stories that provide a more complex image of the event.

Another criticism was made in the article towards those that believe Israel is an apartheid state. Black attempts to shift the anger Arabs have towards Israel as being inconsequential compared to their animosity of the West. He elaborates by saying “the territory of Israel was always inhabited by some Jews and was previously governed by the British, Turks, Crusaders, Byzantines, Romans and Jews, and never by Arabs”. I will bring in the ideas of Edward Said to argue against this opinion. Said advocates the rights of the Palestine people whom the Zionist movement has misplaced. It is incorrect of Black to marginalize the issues Arab people have in Israel. In conclusion, the threat of radical Islam is not as easily determined as Black states, and should not be driven by stereotypes and one-sided facts.




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