BY KULSOOM ZAHRA
Whenever there is an act of jarring on civilians in the post 9/11 west, demagogues vehemently blame it on Muslims. In the wake of the grisly terrorist attacks in Paris and shooting incident in California, Muslims all over the world have been braced with hatred.
The element of Islamophobia has taken permanent roots in political spheres of the Western countries. The ongoing hate crimes against Muslims by a small fraction of radicals in the North American and European Continent has made Muslims’ existence exhausted.
According to Washington Post, annual hate crimes against Muslims are reported to be 100 to 150 incidents which is roughly five times higher than post 9/11 attacks. Recent events like boycotting Muslim cab drivers, “brutal punch” on a Muslim woman in Melbourne by a shirtless man, shutting out Muslim clients by a beauty salon owner in UK, and throwing off a cup of coffee on Muslim guy shows there is an upsurge in discriminating attitude.
Furthermore, chanting out slogans like “Out the Muslims” by anti-Muslims fanatics clearly demonstrates prejudice against the Muslims in the West. Whenever a suffocated hardcore carry out attack, the world’s 1.6 billion Muslims are expected to collectively apologize; it has become a cold cliché at this point. Why Europe is sidelining the Muslims? Hadn’t the Muslims, themselves, been victimized by terrorists? Muslims are facing double dilemma as they are being equally targeted by the Western citizens as well as the terrorists.
Media has been giving much attention to Paris attacks and has ignored the brutalities carried out by the same extremists in Beirut and Ankara. Leaders around the globe immediately showed response on Paris incident but there was a delayed and mild reaction when brutal assaults occurred in Lebanon and Turkey. Minutes after the attack, President Françoise and Obama addressed the whole world, publically lamenting the tragedy. Secretary John Kerry condemns them as “heinous, evil, vile act”.
Unfortunately, when ISIS does the same thing in Muslim countries nobody cares and mainstream international media doesn’t pay much attention. ISIS killed 43 people in Beirut, and massacre in Turkey left 128 people dead but these horrendous acts weren’t grieved over by the global leaders. More strikingly when the US-backed coalition bombed innocent civilians in Syria, the so-called human rights activists and majority of Western citizens remained silent.
Terrorism is a collective challenge for the humanity and the limited condemnation of killings of Muslims simply strengthens the terrorists and religious fanatics. Such inequitable acts expresses that the French lives matter more than the Lebanese, Yemenis, and Syrian ones. Are these not, heinous, evil, and vile acts too? There is a dire need to have a glance at history and understand that these monsters were the creation of the West.
The Al-Qaida, Taliban and now the Daesh all are the byproduct of faulty Western policies and the unilateral war-mongering actions of US in Afghanistan and Iraq. It should be known to all that Daesh is the outcome of America’s failed and uncalled for Iraqi war. Al Baghdadi along with many Daesh leaders is a graduate from American detention centers in Iraq (Bakuba prison South of Baghdad). A few key members of Saddam Hussain’s intelligence apparatus are now in Daesh’s service posing a threat to Middle East as a whole. The Iraqi policy of 1990s were functioning well but the US invasion not only led to the death of millions but also destabilized the whole region.
The 2003 offensive proved to be self-scuttling for the US as militant groups expanded like wildfire leading to the emergence of ISIS. The world will soon wish that the US must not have had produced ‘Jihadists’ in Afghanistan and had not invaded in Iraq because the world has grown insecure. The circumstances of the world would have been contrary to this had the Western policies been tilted towards humanity uplift. But having sown the wind, US is perplexed about how to deal with the whirlwind of terrorism.
Daesh now threatens not just Iraq and Syria but also the West itself. It has to be confronted before this evil becomes further uncontrolled. The question is who will do that? It will not be defeated just by talks, wishes and hand-wringing. It should be remembered that terrorism is a collective issue and the whole international community should add their due share in countering such activities. United Nation should become a ray of hope rather than a fading hope by exercising its power.
ISIS and various lashkars (laskhar-e-this and lashkar-e-that) are all mutations that need a ‘suicide-gene therapy’. Islam is a universal and practical religion. Its name expresses its uniqueness. It not only promotes peace, love, compassion but also tolerance and respect for the humanity. A handful of violent factions do not speak for another 1.6 billion Muslims of the world.
The author is a resident of Gilgit-Baltistan and a student of International Relations