Sans la logique, on a des opinions, on a pas de croyances.

Without logic, we have opinions, we have no beliefs.

Prosper-Olivier Lissagaray

Above: Joseph Kony and top officers from his “Lord’s Resistance Army”. Would the Christians who think Islam is a violent religion first like to apologize for unleashing these terrorists on innocent people in Uganda and the former Sudan?

Yesterday, I drafted an essay aiming to counter the intellectually suffocating and racist Islamophobia that leads right-wing pundits (including atheist celebrities Sam Harris and Bill Maher) in the US and Europe to label Islam as a terrorist religion incompatible with democracy. Their depiction of Muslims as inherently the most militant and Islamic doctrine as the most responsible for violence tacitly depicts Christians as less prone to violent extremism than Muslims, and is both fraudulent and racist for a multitude of reasons.

Since the 1990s, the world has indeed witnessed the horrors of self-proclaimed Christian terrorists and warlords, often on a larger and more horrifying scale than supposedly Islamic-inspired terrorism.

Because Christian terrorism and war crimes were confined mostly to Africa, they have gone sadly unnoticed among the public in the United States and Europe, whose closet racism leads them to not acknowledge African Christendom as part of Christendom or a region we should be concerned about. Sam Harris and Bill Maher can be counted among those racist, lazy intellectuals, as they are helping to suffocate chances of a helpful conversation on the true threat of the religious extremism within all faith communities. They speak as if they have an informed and cosmopolitan understanding of all the ideological threats in the world today, yet they offer nothing but bigotry and slander.

“Christian” terrorism is alive and well. In the Central African Republic, horrific war crimes committed by Christian extremists against Muslim civilians have taken place even this year. They have even been reported to include cannibalism. Is this cannibalism Christian, and is it my right to accuse Christianity of cannibalism and the use of child soldiers in the way people like Bill Maher and Sam Harris accuse Islam of terrorism and repression?

It would be offensive and lazy for an intellectual to really depict the people committing atrocities in the CAR as somehow demonstrating the danger of Christian doctrine, just as it is hurtful and inaccurate to depict rogue bands of extremists committing atrocities in Iraq or Syria as representatives of Islam. However, when faced with the continued false discourse against Islam, which depicts this particular theology as a source of terrorism, there lies shock value in giving Islamophobes in the Christian community a taste of their own medicine. If Christians want to challenge Muslims regarding the rise of groups like al Qaeda and ISIS, then Christians must also apologize for the mass murders and mutilations perpetrated by the Lord’s Resistance Army in Uganda. This is the true absurdity of accusing whole religious traditions of the crimes of specific warlords and armies.

It is my understanding that any attack on a whole religion simply for supplying theological ideas to a sect is a slippery slope. It is no harder to blame one religion for the crimes of a few fanatics than it is to blame another. Do not be misled by the anti-Islamic mainstream media, which is much too fast to label terrorism “Islamic”, and yet hesitant to point out the Christian faith of so many terrorists and warlords.

To actually discredit illegitimate and violently imposed religious movements, be they “jihad” groups like the so-called Islamic State (also known by the acronyms ISIS, ISIL and Da’ish) or “crusade” organizations like Uganda’s Lord’s Resistance Army, one must call attention to their reverence of illegitimate leaders and idols and their misrepresentations of their own religious doctrines. This is the shortest and most devastating way to expose these false movements and unite local populations against their lies and blasphemies.

By Harry J. Bentham

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