Waleed Aly’s to camera monologue, went viral last night. At 7 o’clock this morning it had over 9 million views and around 300,000 shares on Facebook, as well as generating over 25,000 comments and dozens of media reports. Those number jump with every refresh.
In just under 5 minutes, Aly tore apart any rationale for shifting the blame for ISIL attacks onto Muslims living outside ISIL control.
He explained, in the clearest of terms, that ISIL wants western countries to blame peaceful Muslims for ISIL’s activities, it wants us to see all Muslims as ISIL terrorists.
They want you to fear them. They want you to get angry.
They want to start World War III; a global war between Muslims and everyone else.
The inevitable backlash will almost certainly include jealously irritable rumblings that what Waleed said is not new, other people have said it, have been saying it for a long time, and been ignored.
That may well be true, but it’s irrelevant.
It is also true that hundreds of thousands have died in other ISIL attacks, that around 90% of victims of terrorism are Muslim, and that Australia has not responded to those deaths as we have to the deaths in Paris last week. The reasons for this are complex, personal and global, the outcome painful and dangerous.
But in the wake of all the rage, grief, fear, guilt, blame and resentment, and despite the loud minority preaching hate, Australia responded overwhelmingly to Waleed Aly’s plea for understanding.
After attacks designed to stir up hatred and fear of Muslims, the most popular voice speaking to us and for us was a Muslim man advocating peace and love.
And we listened.
Fear did not take nearly as much from us as ISIL hoped.
If you are a Member of Parliament – or has-been Member of Parliament – preaching hate at a time when what we actually need is more love, you’re helping ISIL.
They’ve told us that.
If you’re a Muslim leader telling your community they have no place here, or a non-Muslim basically saying the same thing, you’re helping ISIL.
They have told us that.
Or if you’re just someone with a Facebook or Twitter account firing off misguided missives of hate, you’re just helping ISIL.
They’ve told us that.
And I’m pretty sure that, right now, none of us wants to help these bastards.