Victim Blaming

Christopher Harries

Earlier today, Politico published a tawdry opinion piece by Farhad Khosrokhavar which sought to pin the slaughter of Nice upon what he dubbed fundamentalist secularism.

Let us be under no illusion. Fundamentalist secularism did not inspire the decapitation of Samuel Paty or the slaughter of the Notre-Dame de l’Assomption Basilica in Nice. The inspiration for such slaughter was radical Islam.

Secularism did not force Abdoullakh Abouyedovich Anzorov to behead Paty, nor did fundamentalist secularism force the Kouachi brothers to storm the offices of the satirical newspaper Charlie Hebdo and commit murder.

Plain and simple, this is an attempt at victim-blaming. Indiscriminate violence or a death sentence is not a legitimate response to what some perceive as blasphemy. 

Rather than France’s supposed love of blasphemy stigmatising and humiliating moderate Muslims, the gratuitous violence by their fellow adherents in response to blasphemy profanes the faith of other Muslims. For those Muslims who quietly observe their faith, respect the law and live in peace to be seen as of the same faith as those who commit such atrocities is the real humiliation.

Let us stop trying to absolve perpetrators of such barbarism of responsibility. Would we try to excuse perpetrators of a crime like rape and instead try to blame the victim, on the basis that maybe their outfit or conduct encouraged such a crime to befall them? 

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