This is a very special translation of the news, being as it is translated from several almost identical opinion columns in Danish newspapers.
Muslims are not just folks
In recent weeks, it has been almost impossible to avoid the news that some clearly disturbed individuals had killed a group of unarmed civilians. Clearly, enough column inches have been expended on Boko Haram’s massacre of over 2000 people, we need to talk about the events in Paris.
Of course, we know that two out of 1.6 billion is a very small minority. Still, those 1.6 billion people are sort of responsible, if you think about it. If it wasn’t their responsibility, then whose would it be? Ours? What?
You can’t say that every Danish person is responsible for foreign policies that disenfranchise and enrage, contributing to disturbed people snapping and committing mass murder. That is preposterous. Some of those Danish people actually disagree with their politicians or haven’t given the policies much thought. Some of these Danish people would deny that there is any link between radicalisation and the way power is kept in the hands of the Western world, of which Denmark is a part. How can it be the fault of moderate Danish people that radicalisation happens in the modern world? We’re just folks.
No, it’s the Muslims that are the problem. While we agree they are not a homogenous bloc, that is because they have two sorts. The peaceful ones who we are pretty sure we’d like if we ever met any and the radical ones who cut your head off soon as look at you. The peaceful ones should prove to us, once and for all, that we definitely would get on with them, if only we met socially, by stopping all extremism and bad behaviour of the second group.
We know that the Muslims (both groups, so all Muslims ever), might now claim “Well, Danes, you have not succeeded in stopping murder, extremism, violence etc in your ranks”. The very simple answer to that is “That is impossible to do because we are all individuals and the reasons for violent conduct are as numerous as the violent individuals themselves and are usually very complicated, difficult to unpick and even harder to solve.” We are folks, remember, and the members of our group that behave badly can no way reflect on us and we are absolutely not responsible for their actions. Anyway, back to the main point, good Muslims should really make sure that bad Muslims never happen.
Who do they think they are, anyway, having a different religion and really caring about it? If a good Muslim comments on being provoked or disrespected, they are really saying that bad Muslims are acceptable. Bad Muslims do not like being disrespected either, so it makes it harder and harder to tell the difference. Why can’t Good Muslims just let massive provocation go? We certainly do whenever people provoke us about things we care about, like Danishness. Every time a foreigner says anything critical or in jest about Denmark, we just shrug and laugh. “Interesting point!” or “Hahah, foreigner, good one,” we always say.
This is not like it is a new policy, this one of telling entire groups what to do when a couple of exceptional individuals from a related group do something horrific.
Remember when Breivik killed all those people? We really held the Norwegian people’s feet to the fire. “Rein in your far right, you’re the only ones who can, moderate Norwegians,” we advised. We even got on to people who spoke languages similar to Norwegian, such as Swedish and Danish, and told them pretty much the same thing. We are only doing the same thing now by telling moderate Muslims that they need to do something about their fringe elements. Fair is fair. Remember all that child abuse in the Catholic Church? We told that group to get it sorted and fair do’s, child abuse by priests is completely at an end now. All the moderate Catholics took responsibility for their fringe elements and sorted the problem out easily by telling them to stop it in a clear, firm voice.
In conclusion, there is no point looking at the complex interplay of power distribution in foreign policy and immigration politics to figure out what exactly is driving a tiny minority to violence.
Let’s just tell the Muslims it’s their problem for being different.