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Mohamed Merah Photo: AFP
Mohamed Merah Photo: AFP
 
 

Killer becomes a 'victim'

Op-ed: False notion of 'Muslim victimhood' raises its head in wake of Toulouse murders

Manfred Gerstenfeld
Published: 03.29.12, 12:34 / Israel Opinion

Politically correct European elites and many Muslims have jointly created the perception that all Muslims are victims of the West. Consistent flawed reasoning and false arguments have made this possible.

 

On the basis of the fake “victimhood” platforms created over the years, whitewashers of Toulouse murderer Mohamed Merah are constructing new false images. It is difficult to deny that the three French soldiers, a Jewish teacher and three children whom he killed are victims. Once having paid tribute to them, whitewashers began to turn the brutal murderer into a victim as well.

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Tale of 2 murderers  / Manfred Gerstenfeld
Op-ed: Unlike Norway’s Breivik, Toulouse killer Merah represents far wider phenomenon
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Among the most intelligent Merah apologists is Tariq Ramadan, a Geneva-born Professor of Contemporary Islamic Studies at Oxford. He first whitewashed Muslim anti-Semite Merah’s worldview. He eloquently wrote that “Merah was a misguided youngster in whose thought there were no values of Islam or racist and anti-Semitic ideas.”

 

The next step was to turn Merah into a victim. In Ramadan’s words, Merah was “a poor guy, guilty and to be condemned undoubtedly, even if he himself was a victim of a social order which had already condemned him and millions of others to a marginality and a non-recognition of his statute of citizen with equal rights and chances.” Ramadan thus transformed Merah into a non-racist, non- anti-Semitic victim of society, whose ideas had nothing to do with any Muslim current.

 

French philosopher Andre Glucksmann attacked Ramadan as well as the entire whitewashing process that blamed French authorities rather than Merah. This created a fallacy that “the executioner was a victim and the victims are executioners.”

 

Another whitewasher is Sergio Romano, former diplomat and one of Italy’s foremost mainstream historians. Fifteen years ago he claimed in a book that the Jews cause renewed anti-Semitism by emphasizing Holocaust remembrance. This was a new mutation of the old canard that anti-Semitism is the result of Jewish behavior.

 

While analyzing what caused the murders by Mohamed Merah, Romano took a very different turn. Major Italian blog Informazione Corretta quoted him mentioning a mix of factors starting with “the Palestinian question,” conflicts in Arab and Islamic societies, as well as Israeli “colonization.” He said that the conflicts of the Levant and the Middle East had been dumped onto France, which according to Romano should be judged by how it had dealt with these problems.

 

He apparently does not think that the many extreme Muslim hatemongers should be judged first.

 

Learn from Shoah survivors

At some lower level in France Merah became also a hero. One teacher in Rouen was suspended after asking her class to observe a minute of silence for the murderer. Her trade union then turned her into a victim, claiming she has psychological problems. A Facebook page glorifying Merah was taken down at the request of French authorities. In the meantime, the Jewish school in Toulouse where he murdered receives anti-Semitic phone calls and hate mail.

 

One can trace the origins of the “Muslims are victims” fallacy way back in the new century. Dutch journalist Elma Drayer recalls that after September 11th 2001, Moroccan youngsters threw stones at Jews who came out of a small Amsterdam synagogue. A police spokesman told her: “I would prefer if you don’t pay much attention to this. These people are already in an unfavorable position.”

 

Drayer said: “He wasn’t speaking about the Jews at whom the stones were thrown, but about the Muslims who threw the stones. Perpetrators thus became victims and victims became perpetrators.”

 

Somalian-born Ayaan Hirsi Ali is a former member of the Dutch Socialist party who became a liberal parliamentarian and now lives in the United States. She identified the false sentimental reasoning years ago: “In Socialist eyes, whoever isn’t white or Western is a victim, and this includes Muslims, Palestinians, and immigrants. My position is that I am not a victim. I am responsible for my acts like anybody else and so are all people.”

 

There were also those with a different attitude toward victimhood in Europe. After World War II, there were many real victims, among them those Jews who had survived concentration and extermination camps. Unlike Merah, they had faced death in gas chambers or from exhaustion. Jews were also discriminated against in European post-war societies to different degrees.

 

Yet among these Jews there were no calls to murder innocent compatriots. Many of these victims did not want to be called as such. They considered themselves “survivors.”

 

Those who promote the “Muslim are victims” characterization as well as “self-pitying Muslims” can learn much about dignity and self-reliance from these Holocaust survivors. And if they do so, they will become more realistic people for it.

 

Dr. Manfred Gerstenfeld is Chairman of the Jerusalem Center for Public Affairs. He has published 20 books. Several of these address anti-Semitism and anti-Israelism

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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