RallyMuslims as well to fight terrorism
With world leaders rallying to combat the Islamic State and other terrorist groups, many people in theWest, especially politicians in the United States, have quickly taken a hard line againstMuslims.
The USHouse of Representatives rushed through a vote on Thursday to erect high hurdles for Syrian and Iraqi refugees coming to American shores. US presidential candidates Ben Carson and Donald Trump, both from the Republican camp, have done more. Carson is not backing away from his earlier remark thatMuslims should be disqualified from the US presidency. Trump has reiterated he would rather confine the refugees within their own country after having controversially dodged a supporter’s question indicating US President Barack Obama was aMuslim.
As these two candidates are Republican frontrunners in the campaign polls, their words could be representative of and even influence public sentiment. Carson’s business manager, Armstrong Williams, has said many Americans share Carson’s views about Islam and Muslims. Maryann Riley, 79, the head of a local Republican women’s club, was quoted by The Times website as saying: “I think he’s (Carson) right aboutMuslims.” The senior social worker argued: “They don’t share our values.”
On the other side of the Atlantic British media have reported declining public support for Syrian refugees. These sentiments reflect theWestern world’s shock at last week’s bloody attacks in Paris that claimed 129 lives.
But while mourning the dead and sympathizing with the survivors, the world should remind itself that deadly explosions take place almost everyday in Iraq or other places in theMiddle East. It is sad that victims of terrorism in nonWestern countries are mentioned only in passing, if at all, by mostWestern media outlets and evoke little outrage simply because they are seen as not sharing the values of theWest.
The truth isMuslim communities have been among the worst-hit victims of the IS and other terrorist groups. In India, Asaduddin Owaisi, president of the All-IndiaMajlis-e-Ittehad-ulMuslimeen party, was quoted by TheHindu on Tuesday as saying the IS group has killed close to 150,000Muslims. In Kosovo the next day, visiting King Abdullah II of Jordan emphasized the IS group had claimed a high number of Muslims as victims.
Terrorist militants and jihadi suicide bombers are destroying not only people’s lives in Syria and Iraq but also their hopes for the future, driving millions to join the ranks of refugees within and across national borders.
But experts have said the Pandora’s box in theMiddle East was opened by the US-led invasion of Iraq in 2003 and the hanging of its leader SaddamHussein, which sparked sectarian violence and led to IS group’s subsequent rise.
OnlyUS Democratic presidential candidate Bernie Sanders has openly said the world would be better off today if not for theUS invasion of Iraq, which he cited on Thursday as an infamous example of ill-conceived military decisions that “can wreak far-reaching devastation and destabilization over regions for decades”.
Mirroring the past helps find the way for the future. Terrorists don’t differentiate between values, respect no lawand know no national boundaries, no matter whether they are part of the IS group that claimed responsibility for the Paris attacks and the murders of Chinese and Norwegian hostages, the IS branch in Egypt’s Sinai Peninsula who cheered the downing ofMetroJet Flight 9268 of Russia that killed 224 people, or the East Turkestan IslamicMovement who have slaughtered hundreds in Chinese cities and towns.
As the Jordanian king told a news conference during his Kosovo visit: “We are facing a third world war against humanity and this is what brings us all together.”
It will take time to free our world of terrorism. While pooling resources to eliminate this common enemy of humanity, people in theWest, US politicians in particular, should stand not only with Russian President Vladimir Putin who has ordered heavy bombings on IS strongholds, but also with Arab communities and China that too have suffered from terrorism for long.
As for Carson and Trump, they could learn from Sanders and do themselves a favor by extending a hand toMuslims.
The author is a writer with China Daily. firstname.lastname@example.org