We don’t know how the Sydney siege is going to end yet but of one thing we can be pretty sure: the main concern of Australia’s national broadcaster ABC will not be the suffering and fear experienced by those innocent people who have been held hostage; rather it will be that there might be some anti-Muslim backlash.
How do we know this? First, because ABC is so left wing it makes the BBC look like Fox News. Second, because this is how sensitive, progressive types always respond to incidents of this kind. (One of the BBC’s first reactions after the 7/7 bus and tube bombings was to despatch various reporters to Muslim “communities” to canvas them for evidence of growing Islamophobia).
Thirdly, because it has already started with a Twitter hashtag campaign called #Illridewithyou.
The story of how the campaign started is, admittedly, quite touching. An Australian woman called Rachael Jacobs saw a Muslim woman commuter on the train looking “isolated and fearful” and apparently trying to remove her headscarf so as to avoid attracting attention. Ms Jacobs approached her and said: “Leave it on. I’ll walk with you.”
Individual acts of kindness like this are lovely. But when they mutate into Twitter hashtag campaigns they acquire a smug, bullying sanctimoniousness which not only demeans the original act but which, worse, skews the debate about Islamism in a very unhelpful, self-defeating way.
One of the more notable facts about Islamist terror incidents in the West, be they 9/11 and the Boston marathon bombings or the 7/7 tube and bus bombings or the Bali bomb which killed so many young Australians, is how very little they have changed public attitudes to Muslims in general.
Which is to say that – despite the best efforts of organisations like Tell Mama to prove otherwise with dodgy stastistics – there has been NO significant anti-Muslim backlash and NO outbreak of “Islamophobia” in the West. People are more than capable of distinguishing between Islamist extremists and the broader Muslim community and – so far at any rate – have behaved towards the latter with just the sort of tolerance, sympathy and generosity of spirit displayed by Ms Jacobs towards that commuter.
What that Twitter hashtag campaign does is subtly to imply otherwise: “There are loads of bigots out there who’d like to take it out on innocent Muslims. But I’m not one of them. I’m lovely and caring and I’m bloody great,” it says.
Well I’m sure you are lovely and caring and bloody great, all you “Illridewithyou” luvvies. But you’re also – in my experience – so delighted by your own sensitivity, so certain that you hold the moral high ground that you feel it enables you to duck all responsibility for engaging with the Islamism problem seriously.
Being nice to peace-loving, law-abiding Muslims is a necessary condition for putting an end to Islamist extremism – but it is definitely not a sufficient one. You can perform as many random acts of kindness as you like – but it ain’t going to cut much ice with the girl-kidnappers of Boko Haram or the decapitators of Islamic State or the rogue operators like the Sydney cafe hostage-taker. They’ll just take you for a sap. Or, as Osama once put it, for a “weak horse.”
This hashtag idiocy just gives dripping wet progressive types a sense of self-worth they don’t merit and gives needless succour to the enemy.
Still, it could be worse. Here’s another Twitter response to the Sydney hostage crisis, which shows the left at its ignorant, self-hating, morally purblind, culturally relativist worst:
— Slash #theirABC (@DuchyofHate) December 15, 2014
These people: they really don’t deserve to live in a Western democracy, do they?