Be­tween ter­ror and the war on ter­ror

The Pak Banker - - 4EDITORIAL - Ai­jaz Zaka Syed

AN­OTHER ter­ror at­tack, this time in the heart of Europe and at the seat of the EU's po­lit­i­cal and eco­nomic power, and an­other mad rush to blame it all on Is­lam and Mus­lims. Even as their faith is put in the dock all over again, Mus­lims and their friends and sup­port­ers ev­ery­where are fall­ing over them­selves to con­demn the slaugh­ter of innocents in Brus­sels in strong­est terms. They go to elab­o­rate lengths to in­sist that their noble re­li­gion and its teach­ings are in­no­cent of the ac­tions of a bunch of cold­blooded killers.

Of course, they are. No re­li­gion sanc­tions blood­shed. Es­pe­cially a faith that pro­claims that tak­ing one in­no­cent life is akin to killing all hu­man­ity and sav­ing one in­no­cent life is like sav­ing all of hu­man­ity can have noth­ing to do with the vi­o­lence and car­nage that is un­leashed on cities, from Brus­sels to Bagh­dad and from Paris to Pe­shawar.

And per­haps by ev­ery time rush­ing to con­demn the ter­ror­ists and their ac­tions as 'un-Is­lamic' and in des­per­ately try­ing to dis­tance them­selves and their faith from them, Mus­lims are un­wit­tingly serv­ing the de­signs and agenda of the fringe.

Cyn­i­cal, shame­ful acts of vi­o­lence like these tar­get­ing to­tally in­no­cent peo­ple can­not be the ac­tions of sane, rea­son­able in­di­vid­u­als, let alone those of believ­ers. So let us not even try to ex­plain or ra­tio­nalise them. Is­lam and Mus­lims can­not be held to ran­som or re­spon­si­ble for the ac­tions of a lu­natic bunch, just be­cause they carry Mus­lim names. Pe­riod. We do not have to hang our heads in shame over the at­tacks in Brus­sels or Paris, just as we do not have to be apolo­getic or de­fen­sive about the ac­tions of their fel­low trav­ellers in Syria, Iraq, Pak­istan and else­where. If it's any con­so­la­tion, more than any­one else, it is the Mus­lims who have suf­fered most at the hands of these fiends.

The chief vic­tim of groups like Daesh (Isis) is not the West or Chris­tians and Jews but or­di­nary, in­no­cent Mus­lims who have been dy­ing in their hun­dreds - from So­ma­lia to Syria and from Libya to Le­banon - on a daily ba­sis. It is the Is­lamic world that has been bleed­ing non­stop as Mus­lims are hope­lessly caught be­tween the tyranny of ter­ror of groups like Daesh and Al-Qaeda and the ' war on ter­ror' un­leashed by the West.

In­ci­den­tally, if it pleases Messrs Don­ald Trump, Ted Cruz and their kind, the fringe views the vast, over­whelm­ing ma­jor­ity of Mus­lims - who are re­volted by its mor­bid blood­lust and ca­sual, in­tol­er­a­ble cru­elty - as be­yond the pale of Is­lam. So this vi­cious, self-sus­tain­ing cy­cle of hate and vi­o­lence is mu­tu­ally aided and abet­ted by the ex­trem­ist fringe that claims to speak in our name and those who are born with the be­lief that the whole world is their fief­dom to rule and rav­age it as they please. And Mus­lims find them­selves at the re­ceiv­ing end from both sides, as they once again are in Europe and around the world.

Pre­dictably, Daesh has been quick to claim re­spon­si­bil­ity for the Brus­sels at­tack. Any fool could have sent that tweet though: "F*** Bel­gium. Bel­gium wanted to bomb the Is­lamic State. Now en­joy what your hands have sown! We have come to you with slaugh­ter."

More pre­dictably, the at­tacks have pro­voked a mas­sive and over­whelm­ing po­lit­i­cal and se­cu­rity re­sponse from gov­ern­ments of the 28-mem­ber Euro­pean Union. Bor­der con­trols are back across the once bor­der­less, seam­less con­ti­nent. Se­cu­rity is at its highest at air­ports and in pub­lic places.

Need­less to say, Mus­lims will feel the max­i­mum heat with a surge in Is­lam­o­pho­bia and hate crimes. Des­per­ate Syr­ian refugees trudg­ing across Europe right now in search of refuge could find doors shut in their face. There has al­ready been a nearly 300 per­cent spike in at­tacks on Mus­lims across Europe in the wake of Paris at­tacks. Is­lam­o­pho­bic groups and right-wing par­ties like France's Na­tional Front and Bri­tain's UKIP get a new lease of life. The sur­pris­ing rise of a bigot like Trump across the pond in United States is part of the same phe­nom­e­non. In their re­sponse to Brus­sels, both Trump and fel­low Repub­li­can Cruz have called for in­creased sur­veil­lance of Mus­lims.

So who­ever be the forces be­hind Brus­sels and Paris, they can­not be the friends and well-wish­ers of Mus­lims. They are per­haps the worst calamity to hit the world of Is­lam in a long, long time. They have brought noth­ing but shame and misery to the believ­ers ev­ery­where. Which may be why many Mus­lims be­lieve that Isis is a prog­eny of CIA and Mos­sad. Many be­lieved the same about the now largely de­fanged Al-Qaeda.

Daesh may not have been the cre­ation of West­ern agen­cies but it is cer­tainly a re­sult and prod­uct of West­ern mil­i­tarism and mind­less wars of hege­mony in the Mid­dle East.

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