Thinking Out Loud

Overwhelmed at the brutal killings of November 13, 2015 in Paris, at the pointless loss of so many precious and innocent lives, I think no words of condemnation are sufficient to express one’s outrage at this senseless act of cowardice, this barbarity. For the sake of fairness and justice to those large numbers of Muslims who also have been a continued target of terrorist acts at the hands of the very same people, let’s be equally sensitive and humane towards every single human atrocity. For the sake of fairness and justice to all, I think it is important that we differentiate between people who teach violence and hatred from those who are victims of it, irrespective of their religious denominations. I feel using a very broad term “Islamic” or “Muslim” terrorism for this menace, and thus clubbing every Muslim together in one single box is not only irresponsible and insensitive but can have dangerous consequences, as we have seen time and again.

Today, while we are mourning the heinous acts of violence against many innocent (non-Muslim) civilians in Paris, let’s not forget the terror attack in Beirut which happened only hours before the Paris attacks and in which 43 innocent civilians — Muslims of a certain denomination, were killed by people of the same despicable ideology. Let’s not forget the many massacres of Muslim, Christian and other minorities elsewhere in the past by people of the same ideology. Let’s not forget the car bombings in Iraq and Afghanistan killings dozens of innocent people on an almost daily basis. All these things are equally inhuman and equally condemnable.

Today, some of my friends tell me it is the responsibility of “good Muslims” to tell the “bad Muslims” that this is wrong. Indeed good Muslims (you mean sensitive humans?) should stand up and question this mentality, spot the bad guys in their community and do whatever they can do in their own capacity to save their children and youth from falling prey to radical forces, to bring peace and stop violence from happening. Indeed, good Muslims MUST speak up whenever there are indications of young people being driven to radical ideology; and many in fact are doing that. Good Muslims should keep their eyes and ears open when they walk around in their communities, and spot every act of hatred. They should stand up and speak when they listen to hate speeches in religious congregations, object to it, condemn it. That being said, I do not feel that it is the sole responsibility of good Muslims to fight this menace. It is not even practically possible for “good Muslims” to do that given the enormity of the problem and its influence far and wide. In fact “good Muslims” are themselves victims of this ideology; don’t forget the many Muslim writers and poets who lost their lives for opening their mouth, for speaking up. The onus of this responsibility is not only on “good Muslims”. Terrorism and extremism is a very serious and complex problem with many different aspects. It can only be fought by a VERY THOROUGH, well-thought about, long-term plan by the international community. It is EVERYONE’s responsibility to fight this menace TOGETHER, for only then can we get rid of it. It’s not easy and there are no short-cuts.


© Sadaf Munshi.

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