Empathising with Islamophobia
After 9/11, the world was pushed into a forced and impetuous war on terror by the President of United States in 2001. A war on terror means nothing less than more terror than terror and the after effects of the war have shown that the war achieved little more than terror.
But the infamous Bush in his post 9/11 speech said, “I also want to speak tonight directly to Muslims throughout the world. We respect your faith. It’s practiced freely by many millions of Americans, and by millions more in countries that America counts as friends. Its teachings are good and peaceful, and those who commit evil in the name of Allah blaspheme the name of Allah.
The terrorists are traitors to their own faith, trying, in effect, to hijack Islam itself. The enemy of America is not our many Muslim friends; it is not our many Arab friends. Our enemy is a radical network of terrorists, and every government that supports them.”
While Bush had his flaws, this part of his speech is commendable. It is an effort towards harmony and peace.
And now, right after the recent Paris Attack of Friday the 13th of November, President Obama has said something quite similar to Bush. In his address he distinguishes between Muslims and Islamic Extremists in an effort to discourage Islamophobia. But while these political leaders of the world are being reasonable there is not going to be a substantial change in the status quo.
Empathise with the parents who lost their children in Paris and in 9/11, all they know is that a breed of Islamic teachings has led to their unfortunate tragedies. Understand the grave loss of the children who lost their elders to Islamic extremism and consider that this was neither Christian extremism of the Middle Ages nor Hinduism had anything to do with it. It was Islam and Muslims. They associate their tragedies to our religion, the religion that we pompously affiliate to peace.
Like Bush’s ironical war on terror we are set and prepared for an ironical war on Islamophobia. Instead of understanding their grief we are telling them that we are going to violently protest if we are associated with terrorism. We are telling them that we are not sorry for their loss because they were not sorry for ours. We are comparing Paris with Syria, Palestine and Lebanon but this is not about who is the bigger victim. We are criticising Mark Zuckerberg for the Paris flag display pictures because there weren’t any for the Peshawar School attack but again this is not about who suffered more. Instead of empathising with them we are busy declaring what Islam is and what it is not.
A recent study asserted that only 28% of Pakistanis believe that ISIS is negatively affecting the world. While 9% of us believe that ISIS is on the righteous path. What does this say about us? Nine percent of our people is a fairly large number and a number we should be ashamed of, and somewhat scared of because these people can join ISIS. ISIS is becoming stronger and Muslims from all over the world are joining them. I know that crimes against Muslims are rising. There are people burning the Quran and pulling off headscarves to show their anger. But there are also people who are celebrating the atrocities of ISIS and that is an extremely sad scenario.
In times like these we need to pick a side and we need to make it known. We cannot be apathetic to the anti-American and pro-terrorist speeches that the Imams give in our mosques. Let’s free our mosques of hate speech against other religions. Let’s allow reason to prosper and tell the world that our religions is accepting of other beliefs and not intolerant.
As for Islamophobics, only through empathy can we get our message across to these lamenting souls. We need to understand that they are hurt and we need to give them a shoulder to cry on. We need to help them and understand their loss is as great as ours. This is the only way to tell them that we are not the extremists that did this to them. We need to stop asking them to understand the different faces of our religion, but help them in this time so that humanity wins.