Westminster Bridge, or Salman Ramadan Abedi to blow up children at a concert in Manchester, or Khuram Butt and his associates to carry out their disgusting attack on London Bridge, we should also ask what may have contributed to last night’s attack in Finsbury Park.
The key here is that the attacker is said to have shouted: “I want
to kill all Muslims.” He didn’t shout: “I want to kill Muslim
terrorists,” nor did he want to kill the perpetrators of the recent
spate of Islamist terrorist attacks. He said he wanted to kill “all”
Muslims. This is what happens when we foster a climate of collective
responsibility, when a whole community is held responsible for the
actions of an individual.
Despite Britain’s Muslim community being best understood as a
hugely diverse “community of communities,” all too-often anti-Muslim
activists and even mainstream media outlets homogenize the community
into a single monolithic block, often characterized by its most extreme
and violent elements.
Just as Islamists rationalize their murder by homogenizing “the
West” or non-Muslims as “the enemy,” anti-Muslim activists legitimize
their Islamophobia by holding a fictionalized and caricatured Muslim
“community” collectively responsible for the actions of a tiny minority