To condemn or not to condemn, that is the question.
"The idea that some lives matter less is the root of all that's wrong with the world." - Paul Farmer
The growing barbarity and indiscriminate violence caused by ISIS in the name of religion, and that too in the month of Ramadan has been truly horrific and condemnable.
First the gruesome attack in Orlando claimed to have allegiance with ISIS killing 49 at a night club. Then followed by a horrendous attack on Istanbul airport in Turkey, later an attack in Bangladesh, and now the killing nearly 300 Muslims at a shopping center in Iraq, raising the death toll of innocent civilians hundreds more.As His Holiness, Mirza Masroor Ahmad, a global ambassador of peace stated,
"Anyone who preaches or propagates any form of extremism acts completely against the true teachings of Islam and is to be condemned."
But, sometimes it is hard to believe that ISIS is against the teachings of Islam when in Bangladesh for example, they ask civilians to recite the Holy Qur'an and if unsuccessful -- stab them to death.Firstly, nowhere in the Qur'an, or any sayings of the Prophet does it say to kill those that don't know the Qur'an. In fact, it says the opposite --
"There shall be no compulsion in religion," (2:257) and "Whosoever killed a person ... it is as if he had killed all of mankind." (5:33)
It is also important to remember that according to the U.S. State Department, as much as 97 per cent of victims killed by terrorism in the last five years have been Muslims.
Despite hijacking the name of Islam, flaunting their flags, and yelling Allahu Akbar, ISIS is a political movement serving narrow political interests mutually exclusive of religion. ISIS doesn't care about Muslims or Islam, they care about greed, political power, and creating divide. Just like the LRA and KKK don't represent their faiths, neither does ISIS.
This thus draws our attention to having a united front against ISIS and wholly condemning terrorist attacks. What is the difference between the lives in Orlando and the lives in Iraq? Why are there no hashtags, no Facebook profile tinting colours, and no public outcries?
Whether your skin colour is black, brown or white, blood is always red.
If our social media profiles can tint in support of Paris, Belgium, and Orlando, then why not change for Turkey, Bangladesh, and Iraq?
Innocent lives taken in Turkey airport, and no vigils, or landmarks, but when an attack of similar degree took place in Brussels we did all of the above. I'm often asked why Muslims don't speak out enough, but perhaps this is something we all need to work on.
I'm saying there needs to be consistency -- it is unethical for us to raise our voices during the attacks in Brussels, Paris, and Orlando, but not Turkey, Bangladesh, and Iraq. Let alone double standards, this is the dictionary definition of hypocrisy. If someone was loud during the Brussels attacks, and silent during the almost identical attacks in Turkey, is it really innocent life that they cared about?
Whether your skin colour is black, brown, or white -- blood is always red.
To us all of these attacks should matter, and all of these attacks should be equally condemnable. We cannot progress as a society until we realize that blood is blood and if it's not your loved one, it's someone else's.
In order to stop ISIS and any extremist organization we need to be against the act of killing, regardless of who is killed. Are we against rising death tolls by extremists in Western countries, or are we against rising death tolls by extremists?
Until we are "Je Suis Humanity" we aren't making progress.
All lives are equal and on the occasion of these attacks, the world should come together, stand united and collectively condemn them.In the wise words of Buddha,
"All beings tremble before violence. All fear death, all love life. See yourself in others, then whom can you hurt?"
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Her'es a look at some of what's been said — recently and otherwise — about Canada's evolving role in the U.S.-led mission against the Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant, which was officially retooled by the new Liberal government. (Information from The Canadian Press)
"Our efforts should better reflect what Canada is all about; defending our interests and freedoms alongside our allies and working constructively with local partners to build real solutions for the longer term." — Trudeau, announcing a larger training and development mission and the withdrawal of CF-18 fighter-bombers.
"ISIL would like us to see them as a credible threat to our way of life and to our civilization. We know Canada is stronger — much stronger than the threat posed by a murderous gang of thugs who are terrorizing some of the most vulnerable people on earth." — Trudeau.
"Left unchecked, this terrorist threat can only grow, and grow quickly. As a government, we know our ultimate responsibility is to protect Canadians and to defend our citizens from those who would do harm to us or our families." — Former prime minister Stephen Harper on Oct. 3, 2014, as he announced in the House of Commons a plan to send Canadian aircraft to fight in Iraq.
"Canadians did not invent the threat of jihadi terrorism and we certainly did not invite it; nor, as this global threat becomes ever more serious, can we protect ourselves, our communities, by choosing to ignore it. That is why a strong majority of Canadians have supported our government's mission against ISIL. Canadians understand that it is not merely in the wider interests of the international community, but specifically in Canada's national interest." — Harper on March 24, 2015, telling the Commons of a plan to extend and expand the mission.
"It is important to understand that while airstrike operations can be very useful to achieve short-term military and territorial gains, they do not, on their own, achieve long-term stability for local communities. Canadians learned this lesson first-hand during a very difficult decade in Afghanistan where our forces became expert military trainers renowned around the world." — Trudeau on Monday.
"Along with our allies and through the auspices of the United Nations, Canada should provide more help through a well-funded and well-planned humanitarian aid effort. The refugee crisis alone threatens the region's security, overwhelming countries from Lebanon to Turkey, from Syria itself to Jordan. Here at home, we should significantly expand our refugee targets and give more victims of war the opportunity to start a new life in Canada." — Trudeau as Liberal opposition leader in the Commons, March 2015.
"Our allies want us in the fight against ISIS, that is clear. This is a despicable terrorist group. And Canadians want us in the fight against ISIS because it is our fight and that is clear. When our friends and our allies are attacked, it is our fight and when our values are threatened and our country is threatened and our friends are threatened, it is our fight. And when human rights are trampled and human dignity is trampled, then it is our fight." — Interim Conservative leader Rona Ambrose.
"The prime minister likes to say he cares about diversity, but there is nothing that threatens diversity more than ISIS — whether it is the rights of women, cultural and religious freedoms, or the rights of gays and lesbians." — Ambrose.
"The Canadian announcement is the kind of response the secretary has been looking for from coalition members as the United States and our coalition partners push to accelerate the campaign against ISIL ... the United States is willing to lead the coalition in the fight against ISIL, but the barbaric group poses a threat to every nation, so every nation should join this fight. If countries are unwilling or unable to contribute militarily, then they should consider the important non-military ways they can contribute to this effort." — Pentagon press secretary Peter Cook during Monday's Department of Defense briefing.
"We are concerned that the Liberal government has chosen to place Canadian Forces personnel deeper into an open-ended combat military mission in Iraq — a mission that fails to even define what success would look like. And while we welcome the government's announcement today of increased humanitarian assistance to the region, we are concerned that this aid is being linked to the military mission." — NDP MP Helene Laverdiere.
"I commend Prime Minister Justin Trudeau for committing to increase humanitarian and military aid for the nearly 4.6-million Syrian refugees who have been displaced by five years of brutal war in the region." — Green party Leader Elizabeth May.
"As a founding member of the coalition, Canada has been a valued and willing partner in the mission to degrade and destroy (ISIL) and has played an important role across all lines of effort." — Bruce Heyman, the U.S. ambassador to Canada.
"We're pleased Canada is continuing to invest and play a leadership role in educating and protecting children affected by crises in Syria and Iraq." — David Morley, president and CEO of UNICEF Canada.
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