Take down

Please don’t accuse me of gaslighting you, if you yourself are fully engaged in the practice. Ours is a community like any other, made up of people of different types. Some people are good, some people are bad, but most are somewhere in-between.

Amongst us there are people who fully embody the light of faith, reflecting its luminescent brilliance. Many of them are just ordinary folk getting on with living productive lives. Most of these people, we never hear from; they are the unsung heroes active in their communities.

Most of us, though: we’re just muddling through, living boring, mundane lives, going to work and coming home, trying to make ends meet, maintain relationships and raise our families. I guess we make up the bulk of that thing you like to call community. We’re the unknown masses, largely invisible, who couldn’t give a flying duck about your activism.

Ah, yes, then there are the activists, making a fuss all over, forever jumping up and down, masters in the promulgation of a narrative of profound victimhood, always ready to pounce on any believer who doesn’t share whatever beliefs are currently prevalent in their echo chamber.

I appreciate that I am not well-placed to engage the serious blindspots of our activists, because I am gora, which I accept is a poignant argument. I concede that there is nothing worse than a gora with an opinion. A gora will never be an authentic believer, unless they are Bosnian, Turkish, Syrian or North African. Therefore I am sorry to have expressed an opinion based on my personal experiences. It was wrong of me and I have learned my lesson.

But why stop with this apparently mouthy minority, which just doesn’t get it? It seems that any kind of truly horrendous crime can be justified by alleging that the victims were not proper believers, as if that category of belonging was ever a justification in the first place. Who gets to choose what we talk about and what we don’t? Who gets to choose which set of believers we advocate for, and who we just ignore, pretending that they’re not a part of us?

Actually the list of unworthy believers is long. They’re from the wrong sect. They don’t wear the right clothes. They’re the wrong ethnic group. They have the wrong political views. They listen to the wrong scholars. They have too many opinions of their own. They read scriptures for themselves. They campaign against domestic violence. They mention the names of tyrants. They believe we should take ourselves to account. They believe in the traditional virtue of rida.

Long ago, I decided to be just an Ordinary Believer™ and disengage from the thing we call community at large. I have my family and a small circle of friends. I briefly dipped my toe back into the waters of righteous social media, but I quickly withdrew once more. I don’t need to be whipped into a frenzy by people who detest me, who can erase the quarter of a century I have spent walking this path with just a few carefully chosen strokes on their keyboard.

I will be found amongst the insignificant people — albeit significant to me — and of course here, where I will carry on wittering away to myself, as is my habit.

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