terror attack, this time in the heart of Europe and at the seat of EU’s
political and economic power, and another mad rush to blame it all on Islam and
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 the 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.
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 the entire humanity can have nothing to with the violence and carnage
that is unleashed on cities, from Brussels to Baghdad and from Paris to
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
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 rationalize them. Islam and Muslims cannot
be held to ransom or responsible for the actions of a lunatic bunch, just
because they carry Muslim names.
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
travelers 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
victim of groups like Daesh 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 non-stop as Muslims are hopelessly caught between the
tyranny of terror of groups like Daesh and Al Qaida and the “war on terror”
unleashed by the West.
if it pleases Messrs. Donald Trump, Ted Cruz and their kind, the fringe views
the vast, overwhelming majority of Muslims, who are revolted by their morbid
bloodlust and casual, intolerable cruelty, as beyond the pale of Islam.
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.
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
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.
say, Muslims will feel the maximum heat with a surge in Islamophobia and hate
crimes. Desperate Syrians 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 rightwing parties like France’s National Front and
Britain’s UKIP get a new lease of life.
surprising rise of a bigot like Trump across the pond in the 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.
the forces behind Brussels and Paris, they cannot be the friends and
well-wishers of Muslims. Indeed, 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
Daesg is a progeny of CIA and Mossad. Many believed the same about the now
largely defanged Al Qaeda.
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.
Hamid Dabashi of Columbia University argues, “The slaughter of innocent people
in Brussels is the extension of the slaughter of the innocent in the Islamic
world. These are not acts of revenge and retaliation. These are identical acts
of murderous violence targeting identically innocent people in different sites.
Daesh is the crooked product, the diabolic extension and the ugly shadow of
precisely what it is they say they are fighting.”
strongly warns against Muslims reiterating their innocence: “Even declaring
this is not Islam, or Islam is peaceful, or most Muslims are peaceful, is an
admission of guilt by association. The more Muslims defend themselves, the more
vicious this cycle perpetuates itself. Of course they do not have anything to
do with it. It is like saying they are not responsible for global warming!”
How do you
fight this menace though and how do you prevent future Brussels? There are no
quick and easy solutions of course. The easiest and most tempting course of
action would be to send fighter jets to bomb some Muslim country or the other,
as France did by impulsively pounding Syria after the Paris bombings.
achieves nothing except provide more cannon fodder and ready recruits to extremists.
Unfortunate as these attacks are, they should make Europe’s leaders look for
the genuine causes of this malaise. It is hardly a secret that their
unquestioning support to disastrous US wars in the Middle East has not played
an insignificant role in inflaming the region and radicalizing thousands of its
it is about time European nations, especially countries like France, Belgium
and to some extent the UK, asked themselves why its young Muslims are
increasingly putting their lives on line to join Daesh.
the US and Canada where immigrants are successfully absorbed into the
mainstream in no time, most Muslims find themselves locked away forever in
Europe’s impoverished, crime-infested ghettoes.
involved in 7/7 London bombings, many of those reportedly behind the attacks in
Paris, and now Brussels, were known to security agencies. Far from being
religious, many of them reportedly drank, smoked pot and chased girls. Despite
being second and third generation immigrants, they felt ignored and
discriminated by host societies. And identifying with distant causes in the
Middle East clearly made themselves feel relevant and useful. This is a serious
problem and the multicultural Europe can no longer brush it under the carpet.
the West must stop looking at Islam and Muslims as the problem. Muslims are not
the enemy here. Indeed, they are in the frontline and real victims of this war
by a faceless, fast multiplying enemy. No part of the Muslim world is safe and
stable today. So this war cannot be won by fighting and alienating Muslims.
Islam and the West are partners in this war of ideas. We are in this together.