Muslims in the UK are facing very difficult and dangerous times. Last week, Prime Minister David Cameron strongly implied that British Muslim communities are somehow complicit in the atrocious crimes committed by Islamic State, warning them against “quietly condoning” actions of these radical terrorists.
This morning, I read of this terrible act of animal cruelty in Dartmoor, in which a sheep had been slaughtered in what is suspected to be a “Satanic ritual” coinciding with the Summer Solstice.
I am pretty sure that there are those out there who will be associating this crime with the Pagan community – not only because of the timing of the crime, but also because of the confusion (and existing links) between the Pagan and Satanic communities. No doubt there will be those out there who will say that Pagans should speak out against this crime, and publicly condemn the perpetrators, and that if we do not do so, we too are “quietly condoning” such actions of animal cruelty.
So why would Pagans, and indeed some Satanists, be reluctant to “apologise and “remind” the members of our community that ritually killing animals in this way is unacceptable? Because the person, or people, who did this are nothing to do with us, no more than any other animal abuser. It should be obvious that Pagans, in addition to belonging to a different religion entirely to Satanists for the most part, are animal lovers. Life is sacred to us – killing an animal in this manner would be one of the most offensive acts a Pagan could commit. A very basic bit of research into Paganism will tell you this. And if you have not done this bit of research, you are not in a position to make dangerous, sweeping accusations on the “complicity” of the Pagan community at large regarding illegal ritual animal killings. The same applies to Satanists – you don’t have to do a lot of research to find out that the killing of animals goes against the principals of the majority of Satanists, and that true Satanists have nothing to do with the crazed minority who sacrifice animals for kicks. By compelling religious communities to “apologise” or otherwise take responsibility for the actions of extremists, we also effectively force them into a false confession that they are somehow in league with those extremists, those criminals. And that is not right.
Exactly the same thing applies to Islamic State and the Muslim community. The vast, vast majority of Muslims have no more to do with Islamic State than anyone else in the UK, just as the vast, vast majority of Christians have nothing to do with the recent hate crime against Pagans in Ireland involving the vandalism of a statue. In fact, what we forget is that Muslims are the biggest victims of all of the actions of Islamic State, Boko Haram and other terrorists cowardly hiding behind the guise of “religion.” Islamic State hates Muslims, just as much (or perhaps even more so) than it hates other groups that are not Islamic State. Islamic State wants the world to think that Muslims are complicit in their actions, so that Muslims become hated in their countries and therefore become much easier pickings for recruitment. So by implying that the Muslim community is “quietly condoning” terrorist actions, our government is in fact playing into the hands of Islamic State.
So let’s make things clear.
Pagans and Satanists are not “quietly condoning” the crimes of those who illegally sacrifice animals.
Christians are not “quietly condoning” the crimes of Protestant white supremacists, homophobes, or hate crimes against the Pagan community.
Shintoists are not “quietly condoning” the actions of the far-right in Japan.
And Muslims are not “quietly condoning” the actions of Islamic State or any other terrorist group.
We need to defeat all these crimes by uniting together and putting aside any perceptions of religious association. If we let these individuals and groups divide us, we will all be conquered.