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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