The mainstream media would never, ever say that a Muslim murdered 130 people in Paris or 14 people in San Bernardino or 13 people in Fort Hood “because of his religious beliefs,” even if that Muslim was screaming “Allahu akbar” during his attack and explained and justified it by reference to the teachings of the Qur’an. Our governing authorities play the same game. Even when a Muslim in Philadelphia shot and seriously wounded a police officer, and then explained: “I follow Allah. I pledge my allegiance to the Islamic state. That is why I did what I did,” Philadelphia Mayor Jim Kenney said: “In no way shape or form does anyone in this room believe that Islam or the teaching of Islam has anything to do with what you’ve seen on the screen….It is abhorrent. It is terrible and it does not represent the religion or any of its teachings. This is a criminal with a stolen gun who tried to kill one of our officers. It has nothing to do with being a Muslim or following the Islamic faith.”
That was just the latest and most absurd manifestation of what has become a familiar denial. The Fort Hood jihad massacre was “workplace violence,” and after every new jihad plot or massacre Western leaders take to the airwaves to remind us that all the bloodshed had nothing to do with Islam.
So here is the Daily Mail saying that someone committed acts of violence “because of his religious beliefs.” Are they saying that about the Muslims who plotted to murder police and soldiers in drive-by London shootings for the Islamic State? No. Maybe about the hijab-wearing Muslima who tried to stab a random teen on a bus? Not a chance. Could it be about the “I am Muslim, do you trust me enough for a hug?” guy, who was jailed for threatening to bomb an MP’s house? Nope. They’re saying it about a Buddhist monk who “slashed the wheels of 162 cars after he became angry when he accidentally squashed an insect.”
He did this because of his religious beliefs? Really? Did the Buddha say, “Slash the tires wherever you find them”? Do the Mahayana Sutras say, “He who accidentally squashes an insect must slash the tires of the non-Buddhists”?
The Daily Mail is an excruciatingly bad paper, an embarrassment to journalism. But in this it just reflects the zeitgeist: one may write about any religious beliefs in a way that reflects negatively upon them, even when one’s writing is inaccurate and fanciful. The only exception is Islam, about which a negative word must never be written, however accurate; when writing about Muslims who commit crimes in the name of Islam and in accord with its teachings, one must cover up the motive and posit some other reason for the violence, however fanciful.
“That’s not very zen! Buddhist monk is jailed for 162-car tyre-slashing rampage after he accidentally stepped on an insect,” by Thomas Burrows, MailOnline, January 21, 2016:
A Buddhist monk slashed the wheels of 162 cars after he became angry when he accidentally squashed an insect.
Julian Glew, 45, who lives in a tent in the woodlands, went on the three-day barefoot rampage because of his religious beliefs.
He has now been jailed for 11 weeks after the judge said his actions were ‘not those of a person who lives for a peaceful co-existence.’…
Glew became frustrated and upset after inadvertently squashing the insect in September last year….
He described Glew’s excuse as ‘drivel’, adding: ‘His is not a particularly coherent theological view and I don’t think adherents of Buddhism would share the view that it was OK to inconvenience hundreds of people on account of an accident.’