***Update***: There are now reports that the blast was the result of a suicide bomber, though his exact affiliation hasn’t been noted. That doesn’t negate the piece below, which only said it’s wise not to jump to conclusions before the facts are in.
Earlier tonight, there were numerous fatalities at an Ariana Grande concert at England’s Manchester Arena following multiple reported “explosions.” We know almost nothing about this tragedy. But that hasn’t stopped people from already politicizing it and blaming Muslims.
We know Grande herself is okay, we know people tweeted about loud explosions and blood, and we know authorities have asked residents to steer clear of the area. Beyond that, as of this writing, investigators haven’t announced a single detail about suspects or motivations. But that hasn’t stopped many people from wildly speculating and even condemning all Muslims:
.@ArianaGrande Prayers for you and all the Victims in this Horrendous ISLAMIC TERRORIST ATTACK. Our President wants to stop this Evil!
— Ms Maxwell (@MsMaxwell6) May 22, 2017
— Carla Caughey (@CarlaCaughey) May 22, 2017
— Greeks For Trump (@GreeksforTrump) May 22, 2017
— proud American (@sadie2916) May 22, 2017
I cannot help but think ariana grande a liberal, she is a democrat, today she got a taste of open boarder muslim love of there new homelands
— Randy Walton (@randymanlive1) May 22, 2017
Terrorist attack at an Ariana Grande concert. I'm certain it was a filthy muslim….we will see.
— Adorable Deplorable (@DumpsterWine) May 22, 2017
Some others have even blamed Grande herself, as if her stance toward refugees inspired this attack.
@RupertMyers Keep in mind Ariana Grande calls people that oppose mass Muslim immigration "racists". Her naive attitude has cost many people their lives.
— Carl Michael Jones (@ConicoTZ) May 22, 2017
The list goes on and on.
As an advocate for secularism, I think it’s important to shine a spotlight on religious beliefs when they create or justify harm. But as a critical thinker and skeptic, I think it’s even more important to wait until the evidence comes in before jumping to that conclusion. Maybe this is Islamic terrorism. Maybe it was just an accident. But right now, all we know is that people are doubling down on their pre-conceived notions about Muslims based on no actual evidence.