More of the “it’s not religion; it’s anything else” nonsense from the UK

November 10, 2014 • 11:18 am
The loudest Western defenders of Islam and the biggest critics of “Islamophobia” are now the newspapers and radio stations in the UK, especially the Guardian and the Independent. But the BBC plays a role too. Here’s a BBC report with a three-minute must-watch video showing a 13-year-old Syrian boy (“Abbu Hattad,” now in Turkey) expressing his desire to become a jihadi and join ISIS. (Click on the screenshot to go to the piece, which is also here).
Screen shot 2014-11-10 at 6.37.38 AM
Besides noting the horror of such a young child brainwashed into wanting to “behead infidels”, and claiming that “Allah told us to fight for the next life—for Paradise,” we see his mother saying how happy she’d be if her son died as a martyr for ISIS.
To what does the BBC commentator attribute the child’s motivations, and that of other children bent on becoming jihadis? He concludes:
The Syrian children who join these militant groups grew up in war, and much of their motivation must come from that experience. Their formative years have been blackened by hatred, their mindset altered, their childhood stolen. The innocence of a generation is being destroyed—no longer seen as children, but as tools of war.
Notably absent is any mention of religion, except from the boy himself. Nope, it’s just “war:. And even though it’s a war in which kids like Abu explicitly ascribe their motivations to religion and to the Muslim promise of paradise, the BBC wants to stay miles away from that one. It’s the “anything-but-religion” psychology that permeates the British media.  It’s despicable. We can’t begin to effectively defeat the enemy under we understand what drives him. ~

72 thoughts on “More of the “it’s not religion; it’s anything else” nonsense from the UK

  1. The two fundamental problem with religion;

    1) Its dictats, proclamations and mandates are open to subjective iterpretation and there is no test of the validity of the interpretation.
    2) Religion lacks the ability to self-correct.

  2. I think you are right to call them out on this blatant, politically correct omission. I do think Islam makes things worse, and is an underlying factor behind the brain washing and the atrocities committed by people high on Islam. But war, atrocities, and child soldiers also happen without Islam, so, Islam is a significant factor, but not the only factor. It is complex – and understanding the complexities, including the significant role of Islam, and including the other factors that also apply, is important.

  3. I guess soon we will hear the Republicans and Democrats don’t want to implement their type of politics because they’re republican or democrats, but because of Something Else™.

    1. I guess soon we will hear the Republicans and Democrats don’t want to implement their type of politics because they’re republican or democrats, but because of Something Else™.

      The problem with that comment is I think it makes it easy for Islamophobes (those who fear offending Islam) to argue that you’re making their point. That it’s not the political party that makes people have certain beliefs, but that people gravitate to a certain party because they have, or were indoctrinated with those beliefs.

      That being said if they were to look a bit more closely they would understand that beliefs, and political party dogma feed off one another.

      For example you may find certain specific things about an ideology appealing, and then by default accept the rest of it’s dogma. For myself it was the anti-war position of Democrats in the late 60’s. At that point I identified as a Democrat, causing me to listen to, and embrace arguments that were part of the democratic ideology. This resulted in my holding beliefs I might never have held otherwise.

      This was a bit rambling, but I hope I made the point I was trying to make. I also wanted to add that eventually I learned to think for myself. 🙂

      1. That it’s not the political party that makes people have certain beliefs, but that people gravitate to a certain party because they have, or were indoctrinated with those beliefs.

        That’s more likely the easier it is for beliefs to be arrived at independently. I can see someone antecedently coming to believe that environmental protection is important, with no influence from the Greens party, and then joining the Greens for that reason. It’s harder to imagine someone antecedently coming to believe that Mohammed is a prophet of God, without influence from any Islamic group, and then rocking up to the local mosque as a result.

  4. You know, it’s a lot like how after WWII all those German and Japanese kids who had had the crap fire bombed out of them went on suicidal killing sprees. Oh, wait….

  5. Interesting to note that if the boy spoke about Communism or any other ideology as his motivator, you can bet people would notice & comment on that.

      1. Irrelevant? Not likely. Less of a factor? Debateable, possibly. I don’t think it is even always clear which comes first. In a given set of circumstances, is tribalism being caused by ideologies / theologies, or is it the other way around? Probably more likely that both are true at the same time, i.e. they are “entangled.”

          1. I agree, you can easily come up with secular reasons for murder, war and any other kind of hurting other people.

            There is no getting away from ideology. Everybody that is not dead has an ideology. The word is a label for a basic inherent feature of human cognition. People often use the term as if it is distasteful, and it very often is, but also seemingly as if it is something bad that other people are afflicted with but not me/us. And that is incorrect.

            The trick is to create a good ideology for yourself as opposed to a bad one, and to try and encourage / influence others to do so as well. The real trick is figuring out just what “good” means in concrete terms. I don’t criticize religious people because they may be ideologically driven, I criticize them because their ideology sucks.

            1. “The content of ideology is irrelevant” is such a broad statement, and is almost obviously false.

              What if the ideology that this boy was indoctrinated with was pacifism?

              1. Is this a reply to Petrushka? If not I have been unclear. I’d go so far as to remove “almost” from your first sentence.

              2. Sorry darrelle, I was replying to Petrushka.

                For some reason in Chrome, I only see about half of the “reply” links.

      2. The content of ideology or theology determines both the boundaries of the tribe and its attitude towards those outside of it.

        To claim that the content of ideology doesn’t determine the behavior of people subscribing to it is nothing short of absurd.

  6. Until it is acknowledged that religion is part of the problem, there won’t be a solution.

    There is, for example, a strong correlation throughout history of Christianity teaching hatred towards Jews, which resulted in multiple attacks against them in many countries. Now, in Western countries at least, such diatribes are unacceptable and such attacks are rare in Western countries.

    The way Islam is taught by some imams means violence is a likely consequence. Religious leaders need to take responsibility for the influence they have on others. Islam as a whole needs to sideline those who teach extremist views and celebrate those who teach peace and acceptance.

    1. They are immunised from responsibility. After all, it’s the perfect word of god. How could he be wrong? If you even suggest it’s wrong, I am instructed to kill you.

      It’s like a computer program in a loop.

    1. Unfortunately, Pat Condell *is* one of Britain’s cultural problems – he moved on from being a critic of religion and Islam to being a full on, right wing xenophobe.

      I feel a bit guilty for enjoying some of his earlier YouTube rants…

      1. he moved on from being a critic of religion and Islam to being a full on, right wing xenophobe.

        I think that characterization is a bit extreme, though I do see where you’re coming from.

        That being said the video mentioned by Jonathan Smith specifically references the case in a British town where authorities admittedly ignored cases of sexual abuse, and sex slavery of children by gangs of Pakistani Muslims because they were both afraid of being labeled racists, and of

        giving oxygen’ to racist perspectives that might in turn attract extremist political groups and threaten community cohesion

        As a result 1400 cases of sexual exploitation took place over 12 years.

        Sadly, and not surprisingly Condells video was the first I’d heard of this.

        1. There is no link to Pat Condell, so I can’t comment on that.
          The link provided to the CNN post I find somewhat unsatisfactory.
          Sexual exploitation of children, particularly children of ‘broken homes’ and in difficult situations, is not uniquely Muslim (that is the scraping of the throat I want to start with). Possibly Muslims involvement might not even be present in the majority of cases, but there can be some doubt there.
          However, the rings perpetrating this ‘grooming’ and rape of young children is -at least in Western Europe- perpetrated *disproportionally* by Muslims, be they Pakistanis in in England, Moroccans in Belgium, or Albanians in France.
          I’m not posing the following 2 points as a fact, but more like a kind of hypothesis:
          1- The Islamic teaching which regards the Kufar as fair game for rape,
          2 – The notion of a 9 year old as able to consent to sex.
          Is this not playing a role here? (note I do not even want to contest point 2, just that it might have to do with ‘grooming’ and raping *very* young girls).
          I think the Rotherham story is but the tip of the iceberg.

          1. The point I wanted to make is that fear of being considered ‘racist’ or ‘Islamophobic’ undeniably played a role in denying and downplaying the Rotherham horror story.
            Despite some official denials (admittedly it is not all denial), there are Hundreds of these grisly Rotherhams….
            Hence I think that the PC brigade, from ill informed film stars (Affleck and consorts) to radical feminists and others who have ‘racist’ at the tip of their tongues, should take at least take part of the blame .
            They should, but somehow I think they won’t.

            1. Jerry, I hope I’m not derailing the thread again, but this Rotherham horror story brought to us by Mike Paps is IMMO somehow linked to indoctrinating young teenagers, methinks.

      2. Why would you feel guilty for having agreed with some of his rants even if you vehemently disagree with other views he holds? If anything, this should be indisputable evidence for the religion folks that play the “atheism is a religion” card. It isn’t, and we can agree with an idea regardless of the source. It stands on its own merits. I enjoy many of his videos too. Being in the U.S., I’m not as up to speed on many of his political videos, I’ve largely watched his critiques of religion and find them very entertaining and poignant.

        1. I mean, to refer to a comment or article behind a paywall is somewhat useless, since very few will jump that wall, methinks. Does that not deserve some stress?

  7. Is creationism motivated by religion, or is it motivated by one’s cultural convictions and the degree to which they have been oppressed by the West?

    Not even the most stubborn anything-buts would argue that creationism, particularly the young-Earth variety, is motivated by anything other than the religious belief. Why is it so hard to see the influence of religious belief in other types of behavior by the religious?

  8. Yes, the children grew up with war and this is the motivation. Now, what’s the motivator used by the adults that these children trust in order to help the children overcome their fear of pain and death?

    ….DRUM ROLL….

    It’s R…the remaining letters will be left as an exercise for the reader.

  9. It’s rather telling that the BBC and the Guardian, in addition to being full time apologists for Islamic fundamentalism are also the biggest Israel bashers in Great Britain. There seems to be a strong correlation between Islamic fundamentalism apologetics among non-Muslims and Israel bashing. The attitude seems to be that if only Israel would disappear, Islamic fundamentalism would also disappear.

  10. While not wishing to defend the people being soft on extremist Islam, I think part of our (I’m English myself) problem with this kind of thing is that religion is such a non-issue in Britain that we find it hard to take it seriously as a motivation. In England, it’s safe to assume that whomever you meet will not be religious, and it’s difficult to adjust to the idea that there are places where it’s actually important.

  11. To say Islam is the most violent, intolerant, misogynistic religion on the face of the Earth would be outright bigotry..
    If it wasn’t true

  12. There’s no point in the news screaming “It’s Religion! Blame Religion!”… it was blindingly obvious what the childs motives were… do you really want it spelling out to you by the news reader?

    The point that the news reader was making was one a little more thought out, in a subtle way it basically sets an environment that would ultimately effect the way people think… people accept the world around them to be the definative reality… regardless of how crazy it may be to our way of life, it’s still accepted as reality non the less to those that live there! Growing up with twisted words, war, hate, religious propagander – is going to “nurture” you into believing that all those things are acceptable and a solid part of reality: just a part of life – it’s no wonder this child believes in what he says – it all fits with the world he sees and makes sense of every single day (psychologically)… that is why it is becoming easier and easier to twist the words of religion to fascilitate such evil goals. If war was not a normal part of every day life for you… if hate was not normal… if killing, beheading, fighting, was not normal… and not seen with your young eyes each and every day, then not even religion would be able to brainwash you into thinking that those things were OK… and anyone that tried to twist it this way would be met with some serious sceptisism, as it would conflict with the way you already see the world and, if you’re religious, the god that made it.

    Therefor, the BBC’s comments that tried to identify the root problem (why people are becoming so easily led astray – rather than the “tool” that’s used to do it) was perfectly valid and appropriate!

    1. “If war was not a normal part of every day life for you… if hate was not normal… if killing, beheading, fighting, was not normal…”

      Do you really think that all the killing and beheading of the enemies of Islam would be going on today, if Islam hadn’t been created???

      1. yes.. absolutely.. do you think during the times of the crusades people were focussing on such things as “love thy neighbor” to get people to swing swords at the “enemy”? no of course not… in order to get everyone on board that believes in a higher power, you have to make out that you’re doing it FOR or in the name of that higher power… those that lived a life of peace and learnt peace from their religion would never accept war and destruction in the name of their god, however those that have been subjected to hate and war etc etc, no ned to repeat the previous point.

        You really think that if I waved a magic wand and Islam disapeared from history, all would be good? no ofcourse not.. if not Islam, then something else would be used to pursuade a following.. be it threats, lies, propaganda etc

          1. That sounds very familiar. All those three mainstream religions stem from the exact same origins, first concieved by the jews… and all three were at one point similar in their aggressive nature.

            They were so due to the nature of the times they were in… epic war and conquest.

            2 of the mainstream religions have evolved, but under the extent of war, neglect and violence Islam has held on to it’s origins… the people, the environment, is what needs to be targetted… the Islamic religion will follow.. it’s the people that are keeping it this way

      2. “Do you really think that all the killing and beheading of the enemies of Islam would be going on today, if Islam hadn’t been created???”

        It’s also worth noting that, under the presumtion that you do not believe in Islam, you would agree that the religion was written by people?

        … PEOPLE! …

        Anything bad you can say about a religion, you should be directing at the people that write and abuse it.

        Religions don’t kill people, people kill people.

        1. This is silly.

          People motivated by religion (often) kill people.

          Reminds me of the trope that guns don’t kill people.

          1. Agreed.

            How and why are more important than who.

            Conflict may be the stressor, but how people individually or en masse respond to that depends on their world view and life stance. Any ideology might lead to an aggressive response and make it easier to provoke such a response from others; religion as such and some religions in particular are terribly effective in that respect.

            And looking at some of the targets of *Islamic* violence, how can violence against apostates or heretics be caused by anything other than religion?


            1. that’s a catch 22 kinda question… you need religion to have heretics in the first place.

              The reason why they are inherently aggresive towards heretics is down to the aggtressive nature theu addopt to win followers and become mainstream in the first place… but again, these are “rules” writen by people.

              The nasty intent exhists inside us, not inside a book of written words.. and the more violence and hatred you are subjected to is naturally going to enforce this – then sombody comes along and says god told me to kill.. you’re more likely to follow and join in than if you’ve led a life of peace.

              1. “The nasty intent exhists inside us, not inside a book of written words…”

                I think this is nonsense. If it was true then there would be no variation among human beings for violent behavior. That is clearly not true. There is a clear difference in motivated violence between highly religious societies and more secular societies. There is a huge difference between the level of out-group violence from followers of Islam than there is by Jehovah’s Witnesses. The difference in behavior is expressing different religious ideologies. The differences matter.

              2. most followers of islam are PERFECTLY peaceful… we are looking at very small percentage of those that are not… the boy in this article is showing us that with a war torn background, witnesing extreme acts of violence in his country, town, village, has made him accept the twisted words of those MEN that say they act in the name of Islam.

                How can that be soley down to the religion, or religious ideologies of Islam? there are a fair few sects of islam.. why? becuase somebody decided it wasnt good enough and decided to rewrite the book for war and preach to those that would be broken enough to listen to it… that’s what we’re dealing with… it will never be a simple case of one religion is more peaceful than another.

              3. “most followers of islam are PERFECTLY peaceful…”

                Until you happen to offend their fundamentalist sensibilities…

          2. very true. it is the best tool for manipulation on mass scale.

            Genghis Khan’s success is a great example, the Roman conquest accross Europe another… to name 2 off the top of my head.

            It’s still all human doing though, and if not with religin, then certainly something else.

            1. “very true. it is the best tool for manipulation on mass scale.”

              Religion is not only the best tool for manipulating people on mass scale, but also the most dangerous one, as its supposed source is creator of the universe! Couple the lunacies written in religious texts with our species’ soft spot for the supernatural, and you end up creating a horrible societal mess that’s devilishly hard to rectify.

              1. I agree. As somebody that personally despises all mainstream religion, i think the only way forward is to banish all religion, and promote personal, AND UNIQUE, spiriuality and development.

                but that will NEVER happen any time soon – I think it’s pointless to go head strong into thinking we can beat a mainstream religion from the outside.. it has to be beat from the inside.. by educating people and trying to promote a peaceful environment of which children can be correctly nurtured

              2. In what sense “by educating people” not an example of “beat a mainstream religion from the outside”?

              3. I didnt mean educate, as in tell them their beliefs are rediculous.. I mean educate as simply, educate.

                With the power of thought, analytical skills, logic, and an appreciation for life and learning, it will help… they will have the thinking power to come to their own conclusions.

                Knowledge is power, more so the power to protect yourself from being led astray.

                and by finding a way to promote a peaceful environment, you help subject the next generation to a more peaceful midset.. not including bitter parents of course, it wont get fixed in one generation, but it will take time.. but it does need effort

              4. “I didnt mean educate, as in tell them their beliefs are rediculous.. I mean educate as simply, educate.”

                This sentence doesn’t express much of an answer to my question.

                How to you educate someone whose beliefs are ridiculous without saying that the ideas are ridiculous? How is speaking honestly about something to another person not form of educating them? And in what way is it not “from outside”?

              5. “With the power of thought, analytical skills, logic, and an appreciation for life and learning, it will help… they will have the thinking power to come to their own conclusions.”

                Education, well funded education available and accessable. not talking about preaching to people… simply talking about making education available to everyone – just normal, extensive education – like maths and biology and history etc.

                By giving them an education, you are giving them tools to protect themselves from gullibility.

                If the children had this available to them in a peaceful environment, you would over a fair few generations watch the problems fix themselves.

              6. I sound like a broken record: education, education, education!! The only way to prevent even mothers, for CC’s sake, from sending their kids off to suicide bomb…This mother can absolutely NOT imagine what that would take.

              7. The difference you see is nothing more than that between “telling them” things you approve of vs. “telling them” things you don’t.

                How do you distinguish “educating them” vs. “beating them from the outside”? Please answer without repeating attributes of education. We’re all familiar with that. What is in dispute is the nature of “beating them from the outside” that you oppose.

              8. if you are an outsider, and the problem that you’re trying to have overcome is hostility towards outsiders, what could you possibly do as an outsider?
                Tell them otherwise? they wont believe you or trust you.
                Try to get it out of them by force, violence? that would only make things worse.

                They have to come to a realisation themselves, on their own and of their own free will… if they’ve not got the thinking power to be self aware enough and reject those that try to play mind games and manipulate them, then start making the next generations brighter thinkers by providing a well funded budget for accessable education.

                Tell me how else do you change an almost archaic mindset that automatically hates you just becuase you’re not one of them?

    1. Not exactly self correction since it took strong outside forces to change it and that still took centuries.

      1. Some of my historic ancestors were involved in that Munster Anabaptist movement, I sadly have to admit. I agree with Diana that it took ‘strong outside forces’ -and a lot of blood- to ‘tame’ them. .

  13. I’m not sure this is as bad as it is (but I might be mistaken).
    As a young child I gathered all kinds of weapons like axes and knives in case the ‘Arabs’ would come, (I think it was the Yom Kippour war). Little did I know then that there was really a kind of Jihad, to destroy our Enlightenment civilisation from within. I hardly had a notion of the Enlightenment anyway, since I was raised in an attenuated kind of Calvinism.
    Point is I am not sure this 13 year old is beyond redemption. (Must add I’m considered as a beyond hope optimist in my professional sphere).

  14. To me it’s sort of the outgrowth of our cultural tendency to adhere to the old adage: “Don’t talk politics or religion.”

    We’ve spent so many generations venerating adherence to religion that turning the corner to treating religion for what it is, a set of ideas about the world that informs how we treat the world and those who live in it, is very difficult and met with intense opposition. This opposition may be well-meaning, but in the end it does nothing but enable the perpetuation of bad behavior in service to bad ideas.

  15. I don’t agree.

    I watched the report and it was blindingly obvious to me that the problem was a murderous religiously inspired group. The reporter doesn’t explicitly say so but he does allow the child to make the point for him.

    Perhaps I’m overestimating the awareness of my fellow British citizens but I would assume that most of us have a reasonable understanding of what Islamic State stands for and what Jihad is.

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