In an article in Washington Times, Qasim Rashid claimed that America should be a lot more worried about toxic masculinity than Islamic terrorism.
The desire to blame religion detracts from the true root cause of these repeated acts of violence: toxic masculinity. Since the 2012 Sandy Hook Elementary School shooting, committed by a white male, there have been 220 other school shootings in the United States — virtually all by men. Since Sandy Hook, there have been about 1,100 mass shootings in the country; virtually every one committed by men. Of those, including the one Muhammad is accused of, Muslims have committed five.
There are many deeply problematic issues with shifting the focus from ideologically motivated violence to a larger and more general group of violence.
First of all, the left uses this form of argument as a strategy to defend a minority or a group they consider weak and in need of protection. For instance, After the Cologne mass sex attacks on New Year’s Eve in 2016 by migrants and immigrants, feminists rushed to their defense claiming that German rape culture was the true culprit.
Another example is the recent calls to ban plastic, in the wake of reports of oceans and sea animals polluted and choked by floating plastic garbage. The blame is pinned on the industrial world when it is mostly a third world problem. According to the report Stemming the Tide by Ocean Conservancy, half of the plastic in the ocean comes from only five emerging economies: China, Thailand, Philippines, Indonesia, and Vietnam.
A third example is Pope Francis, who last year declared that capitalism is the source of terrorism, not Islam. From Reuters:
“I know it dangerous to say this but terrorism grows when there is no other option and when money is made a god and it, instead of the person, is put at the centre of the world economy,” he said.
“That is the first form of terrorism. That is a basic terrorism against all humanity. Let’s talk about that,” he said.
The common factor of this kind of argument is that the left hides the primary source of a problem by diluting it in a larger group, which then receives the whole blame. Under other circumstances, the left flatly rejects this line of reasoning as abhorrent. Consider, for instance, if black gang members were caught for murder, and some political pundit declared that the “root cause” of their killing spree was “toxic blackness.” The left would rightfully explode in outrage.
But somehow they don’t think it is sexist to claim that toxic masculinity is the cause of Islamic terrorism and domestic violence. Or blaming peaceful people who engage in voluntary trade, as Pope Francis does.
The second major problem with Rashid’s article is that it pits against each other two problems which have some things in common, but which are fundamentally unrelated. Domestic violence is a big problem and so is terrorism. Both result in deaths, but they are still not the same. Terrorism is usually ideologically motivated and strikes randomly for the sake of causing terror in the population. Domestic violence is not arbitrary and rarely strikes out of the blue. Victims of domestic violence typically get forewarnings and usually have a chance to take action to prevent it.
Leftists made similar false conflations after the 9/11 terror attacks. One common argument during that time was that there was a far greater risk of death from driving a car than from terrorism. As if one problem somehow needs to be diminished by the other.
Again, the terror victims of September 11 did not have a choice in protecting themselves. Terror struck randomly. With car accidents, most people have a chance of taking precautions. And most importantly, road accidents – like heart disease – have a fundamentally different cause than terrorism, and nothing constructive comes from conflating them.
Sadly, Rashid’s article falls into the category of hiding the problem through dilution and conflation. Both terrorism and domestic violence deserve a proper discussion, but pitting them up against each other serves only to confuse.