Paris shooting: Leaving Islam behind

Paris shooting: Leaving Islam behind

With every terror attack, Islamic nations are further marginalized—becoming the world’s problems, not partners

Policemen inspect the scene after a shooting at the Paris offices of Charlie Hebdo, a satirical newspaper, January 7, 2015.  (Christian Hartmann, Reuters)

Policemen inspect the scene after a shooting at the Paris offices of Charlie Hebdo, a satirical newspaper, on Jan. 7 (Christian Hartmann, Reuters)

Today, Muslim gunmen walked through the offices of the satirical magazine Charlie Hebdo screaming, “the Prophet is avenged!” as they killed. At that very moment, by coincidence, 330 km above, the International Space Station (ISS) orbited silently over Paris.

Consider that for a moment.

Terrorists commit an act of tribal savagery in the name of a prophet who lived 1,400 years ago while right above them, gliding through space, was the most sophisticated example of mankind’s ability to transcend ignorance and fear with hope and reason.

There are 25 nations who have come together to build the space station. They include old enemies, cold-war rivals and countries who fought each other for centuries over God and gold. But there are no Islamic nations on the ISS.

Why? No one in the Muslim world has an advanced economy capable of supporting a competitive space program. Some argue it is due to a combination of “guns, germs and steel”—economic and geographic circumstances that have historically favoured some regions over others. This has left the Islamic world handicapped, unable to join the ranks of leading powers in the 21st century. Or, it could be due to historical injustices like those committed by diplomats such as François Georges-Picot and Sir Mark Sykes, who, infamously and arbitrarily, carved up the Middle East in 1917, condemning it to a cyclical hell of internecine war. Further east, colonial legacies can be faulted for the ragged states of Pakistan, Bangladesh and Indonesia. And, of course, the endless parade of self-interested dictators from Rabat to Jakarta must not be forgotten.

Related post: 12 dead after shooting at Charlie Hebdo in Paris

But those answers ignore the men, their faces covered with black masks, walking through the streets of Paris, killing in the name of their God. They might not be the reason the Islamic world has been left behind, but they are the reason it is staying there.

All faiths have their fanatics, and I won’t debate whether one desert creed is intrinsically more violent than another. But Islamist terror exists. It is endemic. It has reshaped the world over the last 20 years. And the world it created has, ironically, left Muslims further behind.

The twin towers. Subways in London. A nightclub in Bali. A memorial in Ottawa. A café in Sydney. A magazine in Paris. None of these attacks avenged the Prophet. They diminished him. None of these attacks defended Islam. They marginalized it. Incrementally, one after another, they have forced us to treat Islamic nations as problems, not partners. Governments around the world—Australia, China, Russia, France, the United States—now see Muslim nations as places that must be contained, sidelined and neutralized. Partners in a space program? No. Impossible.

We, and our governments, don’t say this. In fact, we do all we can to make it appear otherwise. U.S. President Barack Obama himself proposed using the NASA space program as a tool to reach out to the Islamic world, for example. Nonetheless, with every act of terror, we push the Muslim world further way. We accept fewer refugees. We send more drones. We watch more mosques. We close more embassies. We issue fewer visas. We leave them further behind.

Related post: Charlie Hebdo had a history of drawing ire 

This may be unfair and ultimately counterproductive, but it is true. Islamist terror has achieved nothing but to weaken and isolate Islam. Will these attacks eventually end, as the zealots realize what they have wrought? Or have we now passed the tipping point, where Islamic culture can only continue to self-destructively spiral inward? I can’t offer a prediction. But mankind is now in space, and we didn’t bring the Muslim world with us.


Paris shooting: Leaving Islam behind

  1. A couple of readers have pointed out that there has been a Malaysian astronaut on the ISS ( who was invited to visit via the Russian partners. Nonetheless, neither Malaysia nor any other Islamic nation is a member of the large multinational group which is cooperating to run the space station. A full list can be found here:

  2. It is not violence that left the Muslim world behind….it is the Quran.

    Islam and violence are two sides of the same coin. You can’t have one without the other. Only Islam demands its adherent slaughter non-muslim’s.

    By definition, a devout muslim must be violent to non-muslims.

    Stop ALL immigration from these backward nations.

    • What if these immigrants are non-Muslims? Not everyone from these nations is a Muslim you know.

      • If they are Christians (or secular) then let them in.

    • And you have read all Quran and understand it fluently to make this statement? Your ignorance is at the same level of the ignorance of the terrorist committing these crimes in the name of Islam. If you want to know what Quran says about blasphemy and how to react in that situation have the courage to watch this video by one of most eminent modern scholar of Quran:

      • this man’s speech is off topic. We know what the Koran says about killing infedils. Erase all of the hatefull verses and rewrite the Koran…then I would be impressed.

      • Nice Try Khalid, but it isn’t the folks who believe in the Bible or the Talmud that have become the head-hackers and murderers. It is those who follow the Quran.

        Therein lies the problem. Muslim’s are taught that murder and slaughter in the name of their God is not only justified…but Mandatory.

        Unfortuantely, once the Middle East was afflcited with Islam…..all progress stopped. Name even ONE MODERN THING that the Muslim world has today, that wasn’t provided by a Non-Muslim?

        Your civilization stopped progressing 1400 years ago. Do you think that is a coincidence? Every modern enjoyment you have (electricity, TV, phones, etc.) has been provided to you by those you hate.

  3. In WW II we had to bomb Germany citizens to end the war as they passively support Nazi.

    In WW II we had to nuke 2 Japanese cities to shorten a barbaric war killing many millions in Asia fostered by Imperial Japanese arrogance.

    It is going to come down to the same thing with Islam. While 75% are passively peaceful, they do in fact support the 25% professing fascist Islam radical rule of Sharia law, and barbarisms.

    At some point the world will turn on Islam, as it has so many other regimes of intolerance. And the sooner it does, the less will die.

    West ignored the slaughter of 10 million Asian and Chinese before Pearl Harbour.

    • Hmmm and have you even met any Muslim and asked him if they support these terrorists. Stop any Muslim that you meet in the street or place of work or a restuarant and ask him/her about what is their opinion on this tragedy and about terrorism in general.
      Also, when you have taken your head out of the sand take a moment to reflect on what the western civilization has done to the Islamic world in recent history with the killings in the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan. What was achieved by that? Nothing but turmoil in these regions. Where did ISIS get their weapons from? From US and Saudi Arabia who wanted the rebels to oust Syrian dictator. The same people who the west were supporting earlier have now become ISIS. You are complicit in the creation of this menace of terrorism in the world with this mindset to bomb everyone.

      • Khalid,

        the problem isn’t that we have a mindset to bomb everyone. The problem is that we haven’t the gonads to bomb more. It won’t take too many more attacks on the civilized world before that hestitation fades.

        Remember this, Khalid……the West could end ALL OF THE TROUBLE quite easily within about 30 minutes if we really wanted to. The powers that be would simply have to go back to the same mindset we had for Dresden, Hiroshima, or Nagasaki. Kill them all…and let their god sort it out.

  4. Scott Gilmore for Batman.

  5. Woah, wait a sec.. we’re blaming Islam for regions and cross-sections of society being left out of modern (AKA Western) initiatives? This seems a lot like victim blaming to me.

    Why are we calling out Islam for the rampant ignorance that leads to extremism? Shouldn’t we first acknowledge that extremism is not a factor of religion, but a factor of education? That extremism spreads to the uneducated and under-served societies of the world is not the fault of Islam.

    Since we’re so smart, If we’re going to blame Islam for the world’s problems, perhaps, we should be offering solutions as well. I don’t think the use of force against ignorance is a good long-term solution; it’s definitely not a solution to the perceived threat of Islam.

    You can’t just group 1.57 billion people with the actions of few of the most ignorant and desperate. With a world population of 7 billion people, do you not think that perhaps there may be a few loose nuts out there? I sure do. And they come from all religions. How many school shootings in the US have been carried out by Christians? what about the Oklahoma bombing? We find it so easy to group everything into hate against Islam, but they are not the sole source of terror.

    By spreading the belief that the world’s troubles are centered on islam, we are just spreading our own brand of ignorance, and the vicious cycle will continue…

    • Darkpuppet:

      If you are equating the shooting up of schools by lone nuts, to the organized, pervasive attacks by muslim’s, you are a complete idiot.

      Political correctness definition: The ability not to notice the obvious.

    • Those other sources of problems are allowed to be examined and criticised. You’ve just tried to enforce blasphemy laws here by saying islam cannot be criticised. By the way, your argument is weak. School shootings are not being done in the name of Christ, nor are they supported by millions of Christians, nor are we forbidden to talk about mental illness, bullying and other root causes of the violence afterwards.

    • Darkpuppet – look up the education levels of Bin Laden, the Toronto plot group, the 7/7 group, the Heathrow plot group, the Boston bombers, etc. Quite an impressive resume they’ve got, these poor outcast victims of our western society.

    • Perhaps the leaders of the world religions need to stand up (ala the new Catholic Pope) and set down rules for what is acceptable for the membership of their churches. One cannot read a newspaper without reading about a new and progressive change the pope has announced for his followers. Let the other leaders hold news conferences and demand that the violence in the name of religion stop.

      • Gage, G.

        It isn’t the Catholic church that you need to worry about. When is the last time you heard a Catholic calling for the widespread slaughter and enslavement of Non-catholics?

        In Islam, it’s a daily occurrance.

  6. I agree; it is happening. But it is extremely unfair and hypocritical. Terror attacks do not represent religions; they represent the extremists’ twisted interpretation of religions and therefor fall outside any particular “Nation”. What marginalization are we generating towards “Christian” nations that continue to force female genital mutilation, jail & kill homosexuals, bomb abortion clinics and continue to enslave great portions of the population through racist and unbalanced imprisonment (forced labour)? We are simply allowing our inner ignorant side to make sweeping generalizations to judge others for the very same crimes we commit – and on a much larger scale.

    I am shocked at the blind and ignorant racism. The author puts us – history’s greatest murderers and slave-traders and, yes, terrorists (drones are the most widespread use of terror today) – on a pedestal based on our technological achievements!! The very same arguments we used to commit genocide upon First Nations peoples and use Africa as a slave factory….

    Many people feel that freedom of speech means they can soapbox about whatever they want. What is really means is that you are not allowed to just share any of your opinions; you are allowed to share your EDUCATED opinions.

    • Ouch, what a fractal wrongness comment! Usually it is not worth the time to pick apart all the erroneous claims, but it is mercifully short. Here is the major problems:

      “Terror attacks do not represent religions; they represent the extremists’ twisted interpretation of religions”.

      You are picking and choosing. Both the abrahamist basic text collection and the muhammedanist supplement collections are supporting and heroizing terrorism.

      What you need is a reformation that claims it _is_ okay and even preferable to pick and choose. (And after the text collections should be placed in a museum, so that children has less easy access. They are _vile_.)

      “What marginalization are we generating towards “Christian” nations that continue to force female genital mutilation, jail & kill homosexuals, bomb abortion clinics and continue to enslave great portions of the population through racist and unbalanced imprisonment (forced labour)?”

      Much the same economical marginalization. Those are among the world’s poorest nations.

      “I am shocked at the blind and ignorant racism.”

      Your “Islamophobia” is another man’s criticism of religion.

      “The author puts us – history’s greatest murderers and slave-traders and, yes, terrorists (drones are the most widespread use of terror today) – on a pedestal based on our technological achievements!!”

      None of that is a fact. Read Pinker’s book on the lowered incidence of wars to get the statistics correct.

      “What is really means is that you are not allowed to just share any of your opinions; you are allowed to share your EDUCATED opinions.”

      My EDUCATED knowledge is that that is untrue:

      “Freedom of speech is the political right to communicate one’s opinions and ideas using one’s body and property to anyone who is willing to receive them. … Every government restricts speech to some degree. Common limitations on speech relate to: libel, slander, obscenity, pornography, sedition, hate speech, incitement, fighting words, classified information, copyright violation, trade secrets, non-disclosure agreements, right to privacy, right to be forgotten, public security, public order, public nuisance, and campaign finance reform. Whether these limitations can be justified under the harm principle depends upon whether influencing a third party’s opinions or actions adversely to the second party constitutes such harm or not.”

      There is nothing about requiring informed opinions in there. Criticism of terror, terrorists or the religions that can be taken as support (i.e. all of the worlds large religions) are informed, by facts.

      Je suis Charles Hebdo.

      • I appreciate your reply.
        By “Christian nations” I was also referring to Canada, America, Britain…
        My point about “educated opinions” is philosophical, not literal.
        Are you accusing me of Islamophobia? If so I think you are not really understanding what I wrote or processing it properly.

        Steven Pinker is great but totally irrelevant to the point. “None of that is a fact. Read Pinker’s book on the lowered incidence of wars to get the statistics correct.” What do you even mean by that?

  7. “Terrorists commit an act of tribal savagery in the name of a prophet who lived 1,400 years ago while right above them, gliding through space, was the most sophisticated example of mankind’s ability to transcend ignorance and fear with hope and reason.”

    It is worse, it is an alleged ‘prophet’. Interestingly, none of the myth founders of the large religions seems to be a verifiable, historical person. (Like the rest of the myth, when it isn’t contradicted by historical or archaeological (and so on) evidence.)

    [And then such founders appear, after the print presses, they are to a man or woman scam artists that end up at a lucrative position. But I suspect that myths are just myths and later history is driven by that identification _is_ possible.]

    Je suis Charles Hebdo.

  8. “The twin towers. Subways in London. A nightclub in Bali. A memorial in Ottawa. A café in Sydney. A magazine in Paris.”

    Would like to see a list of hate crimes and killings at American abortion clinics? America is pretty educated the last I heard.

    Would you like to see a list of religion-based terror, slaughter, bombings, theft, war-crimes and attempts to commit genocide committed by Israel? Israel is also a pretty darn educated country in my understanding.

    • ALL religious leaders need to be held to account for violence that is perpetrated by their followers on their behalf. If the Catholic Pope can make progressive changes and announce them worldwide through the newspapers then these other leaders can as well. Perhaps we need to start prosecuting the world religious leaders for conspiracy to commit murder. We could hold the hearings at The Hague.

  9. “But mankind is now in space, and we didn’t bring the Muslim world with us.”


    Anousheh Ansari – the first space tourist and first Muslim woman in space, 2006.
    Muhammed Ahmed Faris – the first Syrian Muslim in space, 1987.
    Musa Khiramanovich Manarov – Azerbaijani Muslim, 541 days in space, 1987 – 1990.
    Abdul Ahad Momand – First Afghan Muslim in space, 1988.
    Toktar Aubakirov – First Kazakh Muslim in space, 1991.
    Talgat Amangeldyuly Musabayev – Kazakh Muslim, 341 days in space, 1994 – 2001.
    Salizhan Shakirovich Sharipov – Kyrgyz Muslim, 201 days in space, 1988 – 2004.
    Sheikh Muszaphar Shukor Al Masrie bin Sheikh Mustapha – first Malaysian Muslim in space, 2007.

    • A few Muslims in space is not the same thing as “didn’t bring the Muslim world with us”. Some apes went to space too. Does that mean then that the animal kingdom is in space? I don’t think so.

  10. Two, seemingly well-organized, terrorists on the run (At the time of writing). But, usually, every criminal makes a mistake, and it is likely that these two have also made a mistake (Assuming that the police have identified them correctly).

    Enough (almost) has been written about the fanatical belief of most Muslims to adhere to the assumed words of their Prophet. Therefore, it seems quite obvious to me that many (more than we imagine) know the two men concerned, but will sympathize with their terrible actions, and will not reveal their whereabouts.

    Yet, every time there is a murderous terrorist incident, most Muslims around the globe, from the Imams to the small man and woman in the street can be heard to say, “We do not condone these terrorist actions”. Yet, I repeat, many know the two men involved. Therefore, are they actually saying, “We do not condone these specific terrorist actions … but infidels must be eliminated somehow”.

    It will be interesting to discover, when (if) these men are caught, if it will be the result of information from the tight-knit Muslim community. Otherwise, the word hypocrite must be applied … in the form of satire, perhaps.

    • A couple of things. An imam in Britain did an interview with Fox News and while I give very little credence to Fox for it’s news I have to say I clapped after seeing this interview. This religious leader stated very clearly that the world should be following the Muslim rules. I am not against Muslims but some of their leaders have a lot of work to do to prove they are are a peaceful religion as they claim. This imam essentially stated they would be peaceful as long as the rest of us agreed to their conditions. The Fox anchor told him he would live his life, practice his religion and his his freedom of speech the way he saw fit and not the way this imam was trying to say he should. He also told this peaceful religious leader the truth.. that he was an evil SOB.

      As well, several neighbours of the two brothers told police and media that they saw an arsenal of weapons in their apartment weeks ago. They did and said nothing because they were threatened. So while I see comments here about 75% of the faith supporting the extreme 25%, can we adjust our thought from condone to cooperate in order to survive. Imagine living under Sharia law in some of these Muslim nations and trying to do anything that would change the extremist behaviour. How long do you think anyone other than a leader would survive if they criticized anything about their extreme ideas. In France, there are regions where Sharia Law is followed and French officials and police are not allowed to enter. People in those areas can’t stand up for change or try to stop anything. They will be killed. The leaders of these regions and of the faith need to get their big boy pants on and start doing something about this disease that it is spreading.

    • What an ignorant comment. Its as if you are a fly on the wall listening to the private conversations or a mind reader. Who was the person that identified and busted the Toronto 18 terrorist ring? Mubin Sheikh-a regular practicing muslim!

      • And for that we thank him.

        Now…..if only other Muslim’s in Canada would turn in the other few thousand Canadian imports who think the same way as the Toronto 18. that would go a long way to help ease the fears of Canadians that the Muslim community is not just a fifth column.

    • Actually, the idiots who committed the deed, left their ID’s in the geteway car.

      the French police deserve credit for shooting the fanatics dead….but they got lucky.

  11. One thing we know for sure about Muslims is that they do not integrate. Their “religion” forbids intermarrying and having friends who are non-Muslim. Therefore they keep to themselves like a sect. That also means they lack in the gene pool and DNA. This is probably what produces the terrorists in conjunction with constant 1400 years of listening to repetitive hate being preached by Imams. Religious and historical scholars have also shown that the Koran is not a holy bible but a work in progress of hate preaching and control especially control over women. This is a cult, not a religion. The solution is to dismantle their “religious structure” and ban them from preaching hate. Maintain control and do not allow them to have control. This is not islamophobia…this is self preservation. Recent events including events over the centuries demonstrate that there is no place for theocracy.

  12. When ever I read or hear any news like this, I always think what type of Muslims are these who think that they are God and they have every right to take life of any one. I don’t have any idea which Islam they are following because they killed Muslim innocent children, they killed a Canadian soldier in Ottawa, they attacked Imam Bargahs and killed Shias, they also attacked Mosques and killed Muslims. The Holy Quran says killing an innocent life is like killing all mankind.

    The Islam I know and proudly follow shows me so many examples of the Prophet of Islam (peace be upon him). When wars were imposed upon Muslim, he told them not to kill women,children, old people even animals and trees.

    The Prophet of Islam (pbh)was attacked and tortured by non believers many times in his life but he never took revenge or let his followers to take revenge., instead he forgave his enemies and prayed for them.

    In fact these extremist who think they have the license to kill they have no religion, they are not even human.

    • NI…..

      If only there were more muslim’s like you….and less like the “other” variety you condemn.

      You, and others’ like you need to take back your religion from the nutcases. Start by “turning in” the imported preachers of hate. (Imam’s).

  13. Thank you Scott Gilmore for this article.

    When I read this article I really could relate,
    because for the last 3 or 4 years I have been lamenting that all of these
    conflicts have sucked trillions of dollars from many nations, and what positive has
    come of all this money spent ? Not much. A lot of weapons sales maybe.
    I also lament that all this money could have been put forth to the space program
    and helping us all ( Humankind ) further our advancement into space.
    Why is advancement into space so important ? Well one only needs to look at the lesson learned from the dinosaurs. They lacked the ability of abstract thought and the use of tools in order to protect themselves from terrestrial impacts from space. That was there down fall.
    The force of life ( God ) ( Life Force ) what ever you would like to label it, has provided us the solution.
    Life version 2.0 , with the ability of abstract thought and the use of tools. ( In order to protect from terrestrial impacts from space.) If you can look at this life evolution with an open mind, you may see that we have been granted a gift, an opportunity. After all we are simply just an advanced breed of monkeys on a minor planet of a very average star. But we can understand the Universe. That makes us something very special. Recognize that the Earth acts as a magnet to the millions of celestial bodies in our vicinity. IMO life’s ( Life Force ) _ Star Wars – ( The Force )_ _ plan, is for us to be ready to protect LIFE
    on Earth, when the next terrestrial impact comes. It is not a matter of IF, it is a matter of WHEN.
    In the last 2 years the number of Fireball’s ( Large Meteor’s ) observed has increased 400 %.
    We need to be advancing Humankind in to space. But instead we are dragged down by this ball and chain of ideologies. If we will ever achieve Gene Roddenberry’s vision of Humankind as a space faring species, we need to quickly reconsider our priorities. I sometimes selfishly lament that the Islamic world would either hurry up and come of age or fade away and be done with it. It has mitigated Humankind’s push to advance in to space. To be fair I should not single out the Islamic world as being the only ball and chain. Global warming is also an increasingly ( exponentially ) dire matter that needs to be addressed and will slow our progress. It has and will continue ( exponentially ) to curtail the growth of economies and mitigating Global Warmings effects will cost trillions of
    dollars globally ( exponentially ). I enjoyed Mr. Scott Gilmore’s article and agreed with almost every point that he brought up. The only points I have an issue with is the very last sentences.

    “” As the Muslim world is further contained, it becomes further alienated from the global community, and it falls further behind. This trend must change. We must recognize that as mankind moves further into space, some of us are being left behind. “”

    You say ” This trend must change. ” . Should it ? Should we continue to muck around in this quagmire of ideologies ? Or, should we recognize and accept that as mankind moves further into space, some of us are and will be left behind. Lets move quickly into Space and whom ever wants to join, are welcome.
    Whom ever wants to continue to muck around in ideologies, then farewell.

    Live long and prosper . V