In 2011 a deranged terrorist overseas used a car bomb to kill eight people before proceeding to kill an additional 69 with a gun. He was not a Muslim. And while the media reported the man was a fundamentalist Christian, absolutely nothing about this individual’s demented world view resembled the predominant themes of New Testament ideology. Nevertheless, such identifiers as Christian extremist, Christian fundamentalist, and anti-Muslim Christian extremist were repeatedly woven into news reports and commentary regarding one of the most heinous acts of terrorism ever.
It is important to note that the perpetrator (name intentionally omitted)of the aforementioned terrorist act in Oslo, Norway claimed to be “100 percent Christian,” and it is just as important to note that other self-proclaimed Christians, such as Fox News’ Bill O’Reilly, denounced the man’s faith, saying, “No one believing in Jesus commits mass murder.”
For the record, as a Christian, I agree with Bill O’Reilly’s assessment. O’Reilly clearly believes that perverted Christianity is not Christianity, and he is right. There are no such things as “Christian extremists” or “Christian terrorists.” Those are contradictory monikers; there are simply extremists and terrorists who falsely claim to be Christian.
So why are terrorists from the Middle East accepted by Western society as Islamic? There seems to be a hazardous double standard applied when the religion is no longer Judeo-Christian and skin pigmentation shifts a few shades darker than that of Bill O’Reilly’s.
I will grant that the terms “Islamism” and the related “Islamist” are generally accepted as referring to a specific brand of Islam that promotes violent jihad, but just because something becomes generally accepted doesn’t make it accurate or righteous. Labeling blacks in America with the n-word was generally accepted into the twentieth century. The term Islamism was not bequeathed graciously to extremists by mainstream Muslims. Instead, the term Islamism has been applied for decades by non-Muslim academics who seek to differentiate between non-militant Muslims and militant Middle Easterners.
Recently I spoke to Alan Hunt, host of the nationally syndicated Alan Hunt Show, and made the point that it is no more logical to call a suicide bomber in Iraq a “Muslim terrorist” than it is to call the Oslo terrorist a “Christian Terrorist.” Continue reading