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making people nervous

There have been plenty of reports recently about the harrassment of Muslims, which is one of the reasons why I loved this story.

Also, this column makes lots of very good points (and the author has written some excellent books on Islam), but she does express an astonishingly huge lack of understanding about Ireland when she says this:
We rarely, if ever, called the IRA bombings "Catholic" terrorism because we knew enough to realise that this was not essentially a religious campaign. Indeed, like the Irish republican movement, many fundamentalist movements worldwide are simply new forms of nationalism in a highly unorthodox religious guise.

What religious guise? Seriously, what news was she reading and watching for the last 35 years? The IRA had absolutely and utterly fuck all to do with Catholicism itself; it had everything to do with Catholicism as an ethnicity, and it never pretended otherwise. It's always frustrated me when non-Irish writers refered to the situation in the north as being some sort of "religious war" - Catholics against Protestants fighting over transubstantiation or papal infallibility. Could she possibly be suggesting that the IRA was ostensibly some sort of Catholic fundamentalist group? Is anyone that fucking stupid?

ETA: I know that she's saying that neither Al Quaeda and the IRA are really religious groups. That's the point of the article, after all. My point is that, with phrases like "not essentially [italics mine] a religious campaign", and "like the Irish republican movement, many fundamentalist movements worldwide are simply new forms of nationalism in a highly unorthodox religious guise", she implies that the 'Ra presented themselves as a religious group, that there was a religious guise at all, which is nonsense.

Comments

( 8 comments — Leave a comment )
tenderhooligan
Jul. 12th, 2005 12:05 am (UTC)
What religious guise? Seriously, what news was she reading and watching for the last 35 years? The IRA had absolutely and utterly fuck all to do with Catholicism itself; it had everything to do with Catholicism as an ethnicity, and it never pretended otherwise. It's always frustrated me when non-Irish writers refered to the situation in the north as being some sort of "religious war" - Catholics against Protestants fighting over transubstantiation or papal infallibility. Could she possibly be suggesting that the IRA was some sort of Catholic fundamentalist group? Is anyone that fucking stupid?

Well said. This is the point I've been trying to state for years to people who've asked; and you've just summed it up. I find it strange - although, I concede, not unforgivable - that it's still commonly thought that what has taken place in NI/ Ireland is about religion. This is all the more poignant right about this time of year, of course.

The author of that piece should have known better indeed, I would agree. Much of it is speaking from the same slate, after all.
stellanova
Jul. 12th, 2005 08:14 am (UTC)
David Trimble is on Radio 4 right now, and he's taking to John Humphrys about this very subject - I never thought I'd be listening to the radio thinking "you tell 'em, David Trimble!" Even Humphrys - a man who really should know better, or at least open a history book once in a while - admited that he thought of the situation in NI was "a religious divide". Gah!

That attitude has always really, really annoyed me too - the reason I first totally and utterly went off Michael Moore was when he wrote about the solution to the troubles being to "convert everyone to Catholicism". Now, obviously it was a joke, but it was ajoke based on a profound and patronising misunderstanding of pretty much everything.

Oooh, now Trimble is describing anti-Catholic discrimination in the '60s as "some small problems [with equality]." My brief moment of unity with him has gone.
pinguin
Jul. 12th, 2005 06:57 am (UTC)
The IRA had absolutely and utterly fuck all to do with Catholicism itself; it had everything to do with Catholicism as an ethnicity

That sounds about right to me, but isn't that what she's saying about the IRA *and* al-Quaeda? That their religion is an identity but not what they're fighting *about*?

Personally I think "nutjobs with bombs" would really cover it for all of them. I like the idea of that on the six o'clock news. "Today a bunch of nutjobs with bombs calling themselves the blah blah blah claimed responsibility for the bombings in London" etc...
barsine
Jul. 12th, 2005 08:38 am (UTC)
I think it sounds like she's saying 'the IRA weren't fighting a religious war, but neither are Al-Quaeda', I mean, there are parallels -- after Bloody Sunday more and more young (ethnic) Catholics turned towards militancy & terrorism, and now the West's 'War on Terror' and the news from Iraq seems to be radicalising more and more young (ethnic) Muslims. Even the way a lot of previously secular young people seem to be throwing themselves into their religion mirrors the way IRA prisoners did degrees in Irish & Irish history in prison. A community that feels under siege often seems to become more and more traditional and keen to emphasise its difference?
kulfuldi
Jul. 12th, 2005 09:32 am (UTC)
In the first sentence, she does acknowledge that the IRA's campaign was not a religious one. I haven't read the rest of the article, but it looks to me like she more-or-less agrees with you, even if she's phrased it badly.
stellanova
Jul. 12th, 2005 10:05 am (UTC)
I know she's saying that it's not religious - but she's saying that it's presented as if it is. And that's just inaccurate. I don't think it's a valid comparison, because although she's totally right in saying that neither campaign is really religious, but political, she's implying that the IRA was, like Al Quaeda, acting in the name of a religion, which they never claimed to be.
stellanova
Jul. 12th, 2005 10:02 am (UTC)
Oh yeah, I know she's saying it's not religious, but my point is that she seems to think that that's how the 'Ra are framing it. Which simply isn't true.
stellanova
Jul. 12th, 2005 10:08 am (UTC)
And also, I totally agree that there's a parallel, but there's still a difference between political identity and "God wants me to do this" religious identity.
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