On the topic of Islamic State, I have only this to say:
I don’t care about the Crusades.
Why is that, you ask?
Because the Crusades already happened. They’re over.
You don’t get to bring up the Crusades, or the lynchings of thousands of people (~2/3rds of them African American) in the post-Civil War South, or any other instance where someone clearly isn’t feeling what you feel is the politically-acceptable level of guilt expected from (insert cultural group here).
Because these are things that already happened.
The atrocities committed by Islamic State are currently happening.
This kind of shit hopefully didn’t work when you were kids, so I’m not sure why you’re expecting it to matter now. I mean, if your parents allowed themselves to be deflected from your personal wrongdoings on the grounds that “But Timmy broke your window last year and you didn’t punish him this much!” then I suppose I have to grant you a pass on the grounds that your parents suck at parenting.
Short of that though?
Shut up. You can’t reduce one evil by reminding people of evils committed by others in the past.
Both acts are evil.
Both are wrong.
But only one of them is happening right now.
If you want to explain that Islamic State recruits heavily from the downtrodden, disillusioned youth of economically-depressed and strife-torn countries, and then indoctrinates them in a brand of radical Islam significantly at odds with the more mainstream variety, then do that.
Stop trying to somehow dilute the horror their acts inspire by trotting out an insipid “But (group you believe your target culturally identifies with) did things just as bad or worse (insert number of years here, typically more than 50) years ago”.
If you want to educate your audience, then educate them on the present, not the past. Because we can’t change the past.
And you’re standing in the way of changing the future. Your endless regurgitation of past wrongs, your chewing the cud of culture wars long dead, serves no one save those perpetrating atrocities today.
Your attempt to humanize those capable of inhuman acts is, perhaps, noble on the surface, but it misses the mark.
Yes, pretty much all cultural groups have done something horrible if you go back far enough in history. All our heroes have feet of clay if you put enough of a microscope on them. And we shouldn’t attempt to deny the humanity of perpetrators of even the vilest crimes.
But your approach does nothing to humanize Islamic State. Instead, it attempts to dehumanize us all.
And worse, it implies that somehow, these actions should be tolerated. That we shouldn’t judge, because we’ve done worse in our times, after all.
To hell with that. I see no reason to tolerate atrocities committed by one group of bastards just because some other group of bastards were as bad or worse.
Imagine how you’d react if, for example, during a conversation regarding the startlingly backwards nature of Russia’s official (and unofficial) stance on homosexuality, I simply replied, “Well, yes, what they’re doing is bad, but Jeffery Dahmer was a homosexual and he ate people”.
You’d be shocked. Aghast. Horrified even. You’d either splutter and stare at me for a few minutes before attempting an excoriating refutation of my point, or you’d reject all further direct interaction and save your steadily-growing fury up until you could get home and write nasty things about me on the internet.
And you’d be justified in either of those reactions. You wouldn’t care if I clarified my statement and said “Well of course I’m not saying that Russia’s blatant homophobia is acceptable, I’m just saying that some homosexuals have done things that are even worse, so we shouldn’t start ‘othering’ Russians because of it!”
But that’s what you’re doing when you start trotting out the Crusades whenever someone in the “Islamic World” does something horrible.
So knock it off.