No doubt some of you have seen the disturbing video of a wounded Paris policeman lying in pain on the sidewalk. He had, it seems, been shot during the initial attack by the Kouachi brothers on the offices of Charlie Hebdo. When one of the brothers trots over toward him, he raises his hands defensively and appeals for his life. But the gunman casually shoots him in the head just before leaving the scene in a waiting car.
It was an unnecessary killing, even by the low standards of the two Islamist murderers; the policeman was incapacitated and posed no threat to them. This was simply one more gratuitous expression of contempt for France, the West, and human life.
As it happens, though, the policeman’s name was Ahmed Merabet. He was a Muslim:
Although the majority of the victims in Paris were of Christian or Jewish background, the case of Ahmed Merabet should remind us that, overall, most of the people massacred and directly threatened worldwide by such groups as the Taliban, al-Qa‘ida, and the so-called “Islamic State” or ISIS (think of the besieged Syrian town of Kobani and its heroic Kurdish defenders) are actually Muslims.
This isn’t, and shouldn’t be viewed as, a war between Islam and the West. It’s a war between a certain fascistic and extremist version of Islam and everybody else, including Muslims.