Be a Critical Thinker

This morning I switched on the news, as I often do in the mornings, and I found myself particularly annoyed.

I’ve been talking about this with my baby brother a lot. He and I both took sociology at A-level, so sometimes when we’re talking about things that go in society we get to analysing them through a sociological lens (he’s really growing up).

Anywho, there I was watching the news when it began. Not ten minutes in to watching- and I found myself being informed of the terrorist threat. (If you follow me on twitter- you may have already seen my initial response to this.)

This post advocates being a critical thinker, and also reading your news rather than watching it.

I think a lot of people don’t think about the fact that even the news & media outlets have their own agendas, and sometimes (despite all the claims of unbiased news reporting & presenting the facts) that agenda shines through.

For example:

I was listening to the chief of police on the news this morning, explaining how the terrorist messages needed to be counter attacked.

Let me make it clear, I am not a terrorist. I am against those that lend themselves to terror. In all forms of the word.

I am not, however, under the impression that the only terrorists out there are ‘so-called’ muslims (not that the news calls them muslims- linguistically speaking what exactly is an Islamist? It’s not an arabic word, and to be honest it does not originate from latin. Sorry if you know me you know I always have gripes about grammar. Really though- yeah lets all go ahead and add the suffix ‘ist’ to any word we like because that’s totally how the english language works (note the heavy sarcasm)).

If you can’t call someone a Jewist or a Christianist, or even a Sikhist why is it okay to call someone Islamist? (The word for those who practice Judaism is Jew, those who practice Christianity are called Christians, and for those who practice Sikhism are called Sikhs. I mean sure there are Buddhists, but you’ll note that this is the established word for those who follow Buddhism.) The point I’m making here is that rebranding a subset of people who follow a certain faith, and making that new brand word synonymous with terrorism is just not on. But I digress.

Back to what the chief of police was talking about, he said that terrorist messages need to be counteracted (well he said counter- attacked, implying with that language that the messages out there are an attack that need to be met with an equal force of attack – as I understand him). That’s all well and good. But let’s think about this critically. The youth who are being so easily swayed by ‘terrorist’ messages- Who do you reckon they’re more likely to listen to? Their school and youth groups? If that was the case why would they be so susceptible to ‘radicalisation’ in the first place. The things is, those isolated youth, are more likely to listen to Muslim scholars & lecturers.

The same muslim scholars & lecturers who are teaching the true tenants of Islam, and who really work hard to countermand terrorism in our communities, are the same lecturers that all these ‘new measures’ are being drawn up against. During spring, I remember hearing & reading about several different politicians coming forward and calling for the ban of segregated lectures & lectures from certain known individuals. Britain has not been above restricting people’s movement, and banning people from entrance into the UK.

The premise of their arguments were that young female muslims students were somehow being forced or strongly persuaded to sit in segregated seating. That somehow their human rights were being trampled because of how they chose to sit.

Speaking as a young female muslim student, and someone who has in the past attended both segregated and non-segregated events, I can honestly say I prefer a segregated environment. No I haven’t been brain washed, and no I’m not an extremist. It’s simply easier to concentrate that way (let’s not lie to ourselves- if you’re sitting next to members of the opposite sex, chances are there’s going to be some checking out and/our flirting going on). If I’m attending a lecture or a debate, or whatever it is, the point isn’t to make sure i’m sitting next to some guy I don’t know it’s to make sure i’m getting the most out of that lecture/debate/event.

My preferences aside, politicians shouldn’t feel so proud to stand up, and be hypocritical. Look at the houses of Parliament (& the house of lords before it became the Supreme court). Members of the opposition, and Members of the governing party don’t sit on the same side do they? That’s the point, it serves a purpose, in the same way that segregation in lectures does.

On the 26th May A Christopher Hope of ‘The Telegraph” reported the mayor of London as having said:

“It is utterly wrong to have segregated meetings in a state-funded centre of learning. If visiting speakers start some Islamist schtick – and seek either to call for or justify violence – then the authorities need to summon the police.”

If we apply his statement to parliament… Are political parties not segregated as well in the house of commons? Have politicians not ever started a political shtick where they’ve called to acts of violence during Prime ministers question time? (The Iraq war anyone?)

There have been countless justifications of violence made by politicians, and supposed organisations in authority, made under the guise of ‘for the good of Britain & Britons’. To name just a few stop & search legislation, Operation Kratos policy, let’s not even delve into the quagmire of legislation on disability, education, and employment (that, as I understand it, is in someways it’s very own quiet act of terrorism, as it targets some of our most vulnerable members of society, and does not protect, and?or enable them).

I’m not saying that authorities should be called to take away our politicians, although it’s not a bad thing to think the government could do with facing greater scrutiny. What I am saying is that segregation in lectures is not where the focus should be. If people choose to sit in gender segregated seating, and the message being delivered by lecturers, or a debate or whatever it may be, actually critically holds up terrorism and what Islam actually says about it then is that not a good thing?

The people who profess to be against terrorism need to consider, where exactly do you think those youth who are (according to them) vulnerable to being radicalised going to head. Do you really think they are going to head to their teachers, or youth group leaders, or wherever else it is, when many of these youth feel they are victimised, and treated unfairly? Or do you think they’ll head to the mosques, and those lecturers & scholars & such that are available to them- who they may look up to and want to emulate? Does it then make sense to ban the lectures & lecturers & scholars etc who are actually presenting Islam in it’s original format- a religion of ease, peace, moderation, and submission to the creator. A way of life that’s teachings state that to take one human life, is equivalent to taking the life of the whole of humanity.

Surah (Chapter) 5: Ayah (verse) 32- (Which is translated to mean):

Because of that, We decreed upon the Children of Israel that whoever kills a soul unless for a soul or for corruption [done] in the land – it is as if he had slain mankind entirely. And whoever saves one – it is as if he had saved mankind entirely. And our messengers had certainly come to them with clear proofs. Then indeed many of them, [even] after that, throughout the land, were transgressors.

It’s annoying, because the one sided views presented as ‘the news’ does not do much to actually change things. Don’t get me wrong it does a lot to incite fear, hysteria, and suspicion, but I’ve yet to see this so called news actually have a positive affect for change on those that they seek to corral.

All I’m really asking is that you think about it critically.

(Also as I said on my twitter- I really recommend reading your news rather than watching it. Look at the sources. Who is reporting this? What are their motives? Is it possible they have another agenda? What kind of language is used? Is this an opinion, or a fact? Is this objective reporting, or is it subjective? Read around, don’t be afraid to read from a variety of sources, and use your brain. Utilise it to analyse, don’t be afraid to scrutinise, and question what you’re reading. I mean what good’s a brain when you don’t use it?)

TL;DR – be a critical thinker, don’t trust everything you hear, employ your brain, and think about hidden agendas.

One thought on “Be a Critical Thinker

Leave a Reply

Please log in using one of these methods to post your comment: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s