Equality

Do we need special terms such as “Anti-Semitism” and “Islamophobia”? Should we not have laws which protect all people, whoever and wherever they are?

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Are any of these claims true?

A friend posts conspiratorial claims on the Internet. I am surprised, because he is a student of knowledge who knows all about the importance of verification in our deen. So I ask, “Are any of these claims true?” A friendly exchange follows, for we each have a different take on these matters. Perhaps we just have to agree to disagree.

But, alas, my disputations are not appreciated. Somehow I must be convinced, even if it means sharing an article from a website which is as much devoted to aliens and UFOs as to the political machinations of the State. A faked photograph showing video fakery will surely convince me that the latest conspiracy theory is absolutely watertight and true.

Convincing? No, not really. I’m a dab hand at Photoshop myself and could mockup pretty much the same image in about half an hour by raiding a Google Image Search. True, the photo was just an illustration, chosen to complement an article: but a bad start in the mission to convince.

Now, look, I’m as partial to conspiracy theories as the next man. The Running Man and Enemy of the State are two of my favourite films. I am quite happy to believe that nations whose economies rely on weapons sales and access to oil use underhand techniques to help pave the way for war. Tony Blair, George Bush, WMDs, cough. This doesn’t mean I have to accept every claim I read on Facebook, however, just because it fits with a narrative I wish to believe and hold to.

This is why I will go on challenging spurious, unverified and curious claims whenever and wherever I encounter them. Why? Because we are charged with being a people of truth, and therefore we need to be certain that every piece of information we pass on is true. If there’s doubt, I tell myself, leave it out.

Shouldn’t those six short words be our minimum starting point, every single time?

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Missing

We will most likely learn in weeks/months/years to come that the plane simply crashed and that all the other information about military radar, diverted flights and pings were mistaken or misidentified items, or ideas or theories provided by semi-official spokesmen, which the media has simply seized on in its effort to tell a story. We have witnessed many of these cases over the years: eventually the story will be corrected with facts reanalysed in hindsight — although this will never satisfy conspiracy theorists who will cling to the earliest reports as the only true testimony. With One are the keys of the unseen.

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