Ral­lyMus­lims as well to fight ter­ror­ism

China Daily (Canada) - - LIFE -

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. wen­zong­duo@126.com

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