No, Carrying A Koran Does Not Make Someone A Terrorist
On Thursday, a 28-year-old man carrying two guns and ammunition was arrested at the entrance of a hotel at Disneyland Paris. Fortunately, no one was injured.
A woman thought to be the man's girlfriend was also arrested, but released after police realized they had the wrong person. Police are reportedly still searching for a woman who might've been with the man.
The suspect's papers indicate he's a resident of Paris. The man also had a Koran in his possession -- a fact people are using to imply he's a terrorist, even though there's currently no evidence to back up this claim.
Man arrested for carrying guns in hotel near #DisneylandParis, investigation hasn’t yet pointed to terrorism: police pic.twitter.com/Vz2jyIryyz — CCTVNEWS (@cctvnews) January 28, 2016
Police say a preliminary investigation does not indicate the individual has any links to terrorism, AFP reports, and he apparently claimed he carried the guns because he feared for his safety.
The man was caught after the guns set off the metal detector at the hotel. If he does turn out to be a terrorist, he's obviously not one who takes the time to carefully plan and orchestrate an attack.
I don't know much of the circumstances at Disneyland Paris, but a 'terrorist' foiled by a metal detector makes me rest easy. #mastermind — Revolt-ing (@the_very_least) January 28, 2016
In spite of all this, it seems people are convinced the Koran is proof he had terroristic motives.
Man carrying Koran and pistols checking into #DisneylandParis is not deemed a terrorist threat. I see. — David Vance (@DVATW) January 28, 2016
Should the man have brought guns to Disneyland Paris? Absolutely not. Particularly given France remains on high alert following the heartbreaking terror attacks in Paris back in November.
Bringing firearms to an amusement park known to be populated by families makes no sense and will obviously raise alarm.
Is the man's assertion that he was carrying them for "safety" dubious? Yes, and this certainly needs to be investigated further.
But the fact many are immediately willing to call this man a terrorist, without any knowledge of his motives, is emblematic of the dangerous way in which terrorism and Islam have become synonymous in people's minds.
It's certainly possible he's a terrorist, but his religion is not an automatic indication of that fact.
Terrorism requires a social or political motive, and a religious text is not a clear motive. It's doubtful people would call him a terrorist if he'd been carrying a Bible, for example.
There's a tremendous double-standard in terms of how the media and much of the public define terrorism.
We live in a time where a group of armed white men can occupy a federal building in Oregon (and get in a firefight with police) but not be deemed terrorists, yet it seems owning a Koran while possessing weapons automatically makes you one. This is just plain wrong.
And this assumption is emanating from some of the very Americans who likely support the fallacious notion that carrying a firearm makes you safer.
Donald Trump, for example, argued the Paris attacks wouldn't have been as deadly had many of the victims possessed firearms at the time.
He also wants to ban all Muslim immigration to the US, a policy presumably supported by those assuming this man at Disneyland Paris is a terrorist.
So, by that logic, it's okay for people to have firearms for their safety in public spaces like theaters and cafes, but not amusement parks?
Police rule out terrorism after man arrested at Disneyland Paris with two handguns. He said they were for personal protection, as in the USA — Peter Allen (@peterallenparis) January 28, 2016
And what if one of the victims during the Paris attacks had a gun and a Koran on him or her at the same time, would that make the victim a terrorist?
Guns do not make us safer, and the Koran is not a terrorist manual.
Islam is not an inherently violent faith. Suggesting otherwise feeds irrational fear and aids the agenda of terrorist organizations like ISIS, who want the West to view Muslims as their enemies in order to justify the senseless atrocities it continues to commit.
Indeed, carrying a Koran does not make you a terrorist, even if you have weapons on you.
There are over 5,000 Muslims currently serving in the US military. Would you call them terrorists if they carried a Koran while fighting in defense of America?
This is not a matter of political correctness, it's about common sense and awareness of the facts. And the fact is we don't yet know the motives of this individual. Until that time, we can't call him a terrorist, especially on the basis of his religion.