Mehdi Hasan argues that the way we react to the atrocities like the Manchester bombing is exactly the goal of ISIS.
IF YOU WANT to defeat ISIS, listen to former ISIS hostage Nicolas Henin. The group is “heartened by every sign of overreaction, of division, of fear, of racism, of xenophobia … [and] drawn to any examples of ugliness on social media,” the French journalist wrote in November 2015 in the wake of the Paris attacks. “Central to their world view is the belief that communities cannot live together with Muslims, and every day their antennae will be tuned towards finding supporting evidence.”
Get that? Islamophobia plays right into the hands of ISIS. Wittingly or unwittingly, anti-Muslim bigots have become recruiting sergeants for a group they profess to hate and claim to want to destroy. The Islamophobes, to borrow a line from Lenin, are ISIS’s useful idiots.
He went on to give the knee-jerk reactions of some people whom he said exemplified this erroneous response.
You can almost hear them cheering in Raqqa. ISIS wants to drive a wedge between Muslim communities and wider Western society; it wants to pit Muslims against non-Muslims. Nor is this a secret: The group’s leaders have admitted as much in their own publications. More than two years ago, in February 2015, the ISIS online magazine, Dabiq, made clear that one of the main goals of the group’s brutal attacks in the West was to destroy the “gray zone”— of peaceful co-existence between Muslims and non-Muslims — and provoke a backlash. “The Muslims in the West will quickly find themselves between one of two choices, they either apostatize and adopt the [infidel] religion … or they … [emigrate] to the Islamic State and thereby escape persecution from the crusader governments and citizens.”
The Islamophobes see themselves as politically incorrect truth-tellers; as bold and blunt opponents of the radicals and the extremists. The reality is that they are the accomplices, the unpaid agents, of those very same radicals and extremists.
But unfortunately there is a constituency in the west for that kind of talk and no shortage of people willing to cater to it.