There seems to be an impression held by some that fundamentalist followers of only one particular religion represent a threat to humanity.
But that does not take into consideration all the angles.
The simple fact is the fundamental practice of any religion or ideology can result in the oppression of people’s basic rights as well as lead to scientific stagnation ó or even worse, regression ó effectively laying huge hurdles on the path to progress.
From strict ultra-orthodox Jewish sects that refuse to allow their women to seek higher education, to creationist evangelicals throughout North America who want to teach children that the earth is 6,000 years old and that dinosaurs walked side by side with prehistoric humans, fundamentalism on all sides of the spectrum acts as a regressive force and should be of collective concern to civilization.
What’s important to remember, however, is that the fundamental fringe largely does not represent the moderate majority.
Yet whenever an individual of Middle Eastern heritage commits an atrocity, we don’t stop hearing about the attack on the news while some politicians beat the war drums, practically foaming at the mouth to justify giving themselves even more authoritarian powers as they prattle on about the need for increased security measures while civil rights continue to fade into shadows of their former selves.
But when a white, unhinged, violent ultranationalist fundamentalist like the British man who allegedly shouted “Britain first!” as he gunned down U.K. politician Jo Cox in cold blood last year, there seemed to be little to no noticeable public outrage or remotely exhaustive and ceaseless coverage of the attacker. Cox was known for championing many causes such as human rights.
Had, for example, Canadian-born accused multiple murderer Alexandre Bissonette instead been an Arab by the name of Osama Mohammad Hussein who executed Christians during a prayer session in church, chances are sky high that we would still be hearing about it every night on the news, with aspiring “leaders” like Kellie Leitch predictably rattling their sabres.
The fact of the matter is I’ve barely seen a headline about the brutal and horrific mass murder in the Quebec mosque since it happened not even a few months ago, back in January.
Almost as though we’d rather not even talk about it.
It simply does not fit the convenient rhetorical narrative that Conservatives such as Leitch bleat on about, that only immigrants from the Middle East are capable of perpetrating such terrible acts. But pretending that only one form of fundamentalism is a problem while giving the others a free pass is disingenuous.
Why confront the racism that bubbles and seethes within the fundamentalist fringe of our own society when unquestionably laying the blame on foreigners who are different from us is just so much easier.
In the end, fundamentalism of any kind should be considered a concern to humankind and thus challenged, regardless of whether it seeks to persecute and kill others deemed infidels, subvert centuries of scientific progress, or even to oppress a right as basic as a university education.