‘So sick of the sound of people giving up. You can’t stop me giving a fuck.’
– Sam Carter
Close your eyes and imagine the most beautiful building you have ever seen. Imagine its towering spires hand carved from the finest of stone; picture the complexity its architects faced in producing such intricate patterns with nothing more than chisel, hammer and hand. Envision its beautiful entranceway. Can you see yourself moving slowly across marble floors? It’s majestic isn’t it? Oh, and what about the meticulousness with which the walls have been attended to. And the murals adorning the ceiling are divine! Every brush stroke of the paintings completed with a precise perfection that causes a breath to catch in the back of your throat. My, it’s stunning.
Now conjure up an image of the windows. They’re stained glass; exquisite and breathtaking. You’ve never seen anything quite like it. The windows are divinity incarnate. They take an already flawless building and give it a heavenly aesthetic.
Now imagine if someone within that beautiful building started smashing those stained glass windows that you had come to love. Suddenly that wondrous marvel of architecture would seem tainted. The glorious feat of man would become a dilapidated carcass left to rot on a street corner. The beautiful spires that rose to the heavens would begin to look like bent and broken spines of creatures succumbing to the brutal whim of man. The entrance would look eerie, the beautiful marble floors suddenly taking on the appearance of a swollen tongue rolling away from the doorway. The mural on the roof would look tacky in the irregular light shining through those busted stained glass windows. You’d be outraged. You’d be pissed off. Fuck, if it was me and someone was breaking windows to my sacred castle I’d want their blood.
Now imagine if that building was your religion; and that the son of a bitch breaking windows was a radical or extremist. Imagine how heartbroken you would be to learn that someone who loves your religion just as much as you has decided to cause damage to its image in a bizarre plot to protect it. You’d be devastated as you watched people ridicule what you love simply because a minority of fanatical believers have tarnished the name of what you hold so dear. You’d be forced to watch your beautiful building decay until it became a laughing stock and members of the general public started collecting stones and smashing in whatever glass remained.
Ah, social disorder. It’s a fickle beast. While we preach love and unity many of us truly believe that ruin and woe make the world spin round. And when we see broken window we can’t help but pick up a rock.
What I’m talking about here is a sociological mashup of religious prejudice and the criminological Broken Windows theory. Sounds like a mouthful, but when you break it down it’s really quite simple. We live in a highly intolerant and destructive society and we spend our lives moving through the streets with pockets full of stones just waiting for the opportunity to destroy someone’s windows, face or faith. All it takes is a little self-inflicted damage by the likes of an extremist and we the general public begin tearing down a faith, mocking its followers and degrading its teachings.
That beautiful building you were imagining, the one that I asked you to then picture as your religion: that’s modern day Islam. A faith so engrained in the history of mankind that to call it anything other than beautiful would be an affront to our forefathers. Yet because a minute portion of the Islamic faith have started breaking their own windows and trying to kick down our doors as of late we suddenly view any Muslim as a terrorist or an outsider. I’m not trying to say that the religion is infallible; I don’t believe any religious creed can claim that mantle. Blood has been shed in the name of gods and deities since the concept of religion first came to fruition. But what I am saying is that to degrade an entire religion based on the actions of a select few is idiotic. Besides, I’ve met plenty of hate fuelled Christians, Atheists, and Jews in my time too.
Hate breeds hate.
When we as a community, or a nation, or a world divide and segregate the Islamic faith and label its followers as terrorists, or dogs, or fucking whatever, we drive a wedge of hate between their faith and our own narrow minded intolerance.
Just recently here in Australia we experienced a siege that was staged by one man of Islamic decent that tragically ended the lives of two innocent civilians. Since the incident there has been a great outpouring of support for the Islamic community through the hashtag #illridewithyou, however there has also been the inevitable rise of racism directed at the faith. Men and women across the country have started preaching their own ignorance and intolerance, belittling Islamic people due to the actions of one man.
It’s really got to stop. How can we live in a world so advanced yet be restricted by such prehistoric views and prejudices? How can anyone anywhere truly believe that someone is an evil or bad person based on their belief structure? If you’re a fuckwit, you’re a fuckwit regardless of what faith you follow. Likewise if you’re a beautiful soul than what religion you practise should have nil effect on how you are judged within our social structure. We live in a world where we believe it’s our God-given right to express ourselves and we fight venomously for those rights when they are threatened. Yet when a member of the Islamic faith or indeed any creed alternate to our own tries to express themselves we slander, we condemn, and we seek to silence by force.
This is hypocrisy at its best. And unfortunately we are becoming known as a highly racist, highly hypocritical nation overflowing with intolerant blowhards.
So next time you see someone hurling stones at the beautiful stained glass windows of the Islamic faith resist that yearning for destruction in your soul. Take the stones from your pockets and drop them on the roadway, you don’t need them anymore. Society doesn’t need them anymore. Instead try helping to clean up the mess. Scoop up the shards of glass and help your fellow man repair the once majestic windows of his damaged faith through love, compassion and understanding. Just as hate breeds hate, so too does love breed love. Turn upon your brethren casting stones and ask why they want to destroy something simply because they fail to understand it. I guarantee there is no sound reasoning behind their willingness to degrade and vilify.
#illridewithyou is a wonderful initiative. But sadly as with most social media fads it will die quickly and many who claimed tolerance will return to their bigoted ways and ideology. This in turn with further divide society and create more disharmony and repeat events like we saw in Sydney’s Martin Place. If we want to make a change we need to look within ourselves and denounce the hate that divides us.
As a man of the world I am honoured to stand alongside any faith and help rebuild their shattered windows. I will stand before masses that advance with stones in hand and protect the wondrous stained glass of a holy building or faith. Fuck riding with you, I’ll die alongside you in the name of social acceptance.