I wrote last week about the initial reporting of an attack on French tourists in the Alps. The alleged perpetrator was said to be Moroccan-born and to have acted because his alleged victims – a woman and her daughter – were wearing skimpy clothes. Those details alone were enough to lead some to conclude an Islamist motive, though the claim about offence having been caused by the women’s attire was quickly dismissed.
After I wrote about the case, further information emerged that suggested the man might have taken offence at a gesture made by the victim’s husband. And it was said that when questioned by police, the suspect shouted “Allahu Akbar” – though his defence lawyer told local media that his client had used the words simply because he felt oppressed during his interrogation.Is there anything that Muslims don't feel 'oppressed' by..?
So will religion prove to be the underlying motivation in this case? Maybe. Maybe not.That's why they pay you the big bucks at the 'Indy', is it, Will?
Over the weekend, one Twitter user took me task, however, for being on the side of “Islamopsychotics”, and for defending them “to the end with the mantra of whoever complains is Islamophobic”. Putting to one side the modest overreaction, I was struck by the use of the term “Islamopsychotics”, which seemed to combine several stereotypes in one.Seems like pretty accurate shorthand to me...
This is dangerous because we run the risk of conflating religious devotion with mental illness (atheist jokes aside) and of simplifying and demonising both.I'm not too bothered by 'religious devotion' when it manifests itself in arranging flowers for church or providing food for the community.
But when it manifests as blowing up children, well, 'demonising' seems a damned good place to start.