I admit that I don’t feel well each time I hear the word “ Islamic” before the word “attack” or whatever is related to these words. Today attack in Mali is another quick example to the world’s hypocrisy. Sometimes, even if the victims are still Europeans or Americans, the fact that they are in the other part of the world where violence is becoming a norm, the world doesn’t react the same. I understand that it would be confusing to raise a flag of a country to victims who are not citizens of that country but the victims in France were all French?
This is just a fleeting thought.
The real reason for this article is our reactions as “Muslims” to such attacks. A French friend of mine was telling me yesterday how awkward he felt when Palestinians were apologizing to him for the attacks in Paris. I was expressing to him a pretty awkward sensation I had, and I told him in advance that my English vocabulary might not be fulfilling and accurate to this sensation. And of course, if he got me wrong I would easily as well quickly accuse his French English vocabulary). It was hard for me to say it, but I wanted to say it in front of a French in that particular situation. I said: “ the moment I learned about the attacks, I was taken aback for an instant. I was watching the panic that was overwhelming the atmosphere. I felt sad, bad, … but I also felt satisfied”. I was about to explain why, relying on the fact that he will misunderstand the word, thinking “satisfied” is not a word any average person uses in such a situation. But he quickly said that he understands it thoroughly, and that was why he couldn’t understand why the Palestinians here were apologizing.
This was a moment, despite its severe damage, a moment of a global unification. At that moment I felt that everyone is becoming Palestinian. I was happy that my friend was a lot more tolerant than me saying it loud: “ those who did it were Muslims, and this is just fine. We should ask ourselves why Muslims in France if they were French, are feeling this rage and hate. There is something about us, which we refuse to admit.”
It wasn’t much of a surprise to me later when I read about the French government decision in allowing 30 or 40 thousand refugees as a response to the terror attacks. It was a real moment of pride. And somehow, this took me to this feeling of how our world is becoming unified. If the French government decided to behave like the Israeli government for instance, by revenging and making sanctions and all those Israeli collective punitive actions, the situation would have just went to the worse. By doing this, the French government put those people into a corner. There is this critical factor that we are all missing here. All of us “spectaculars.” The indirect support these people have from oppressed, marginalized people around the globe.
But somewhere, going back to the beginning …
The stigma of Islam and terror being attached in one phrase is not something that Muslims are indeed not responsible for. The whole “phenomenon” of ISIS wouldn’t have taken place or such an echo if it wasn’t there somewhere within Islamic teaching. Teaching is not about a book we carry and follow. It is about a whole education system that combines so effectively with our daily lives and strengthens what is known as “ norms.” I am not sure if other religions and cultures are different from the Islamic cultures. But in this case, I can only speak about Islam. The rush of Muslims to defend themselves from these acts. The loud exclusion from ISIS is not out of pure, peaceful thinking. As much as there is trouble in the west today. There is trouble with Islamic teachings that have been fostered negatively inside our cultures for decades if not centuries. I cannot point to when did this start and where. I do understand this Islamic pride that has been defeated after ruling half of the world for centuries. There is something about Islam that turned into an act of mystification from one side and surrounded itself with conspiracy thinking from the other hand, that it ended up isolating Muslims inside a wall of conspiracies aired with the mystified history that eventually lost sense with itself.
The problem here is that we cannot blame anyone on this. I cannot even blame those Islamic scholars and muftis of the past century, because they contributed to the time they lived in. The problem is with us today, who insist on handling ourselves through the teachings of the past that in depth doesn’t have to do with Islam in its fundamental education, if we agree that the Quran is the base of islam. Those people worked effortlessly back then to explain, to put rules, whatever it may be that suited their time and undoubtedly was needed. When one sees that engine of mind- debates among scholars that went on to decades and even centuries to agree or defy or accept or denounce an idea, one cannot but respect how the Islamic mind was efficiently working.
Today … Muslim scholars don’t think. They decide to adopt old teachings and apply it to today’s life and persuade us that this was the God-given choice.
When Muslims rushed in putting the French flag in solidarity. It was an act of telling the world we are not ISIS. But somewhere the hypocrisy of the action was overwhelming. How come a Muslim agrees that Muslims and not making a statement kill another Muslim in Syria and Iraq and elsewhere? Why did the Muslim world fell so readily upon the creation of Da’esh inside the Sunni –Shiites dispute this way? How can a Muslim sympathize with the killing of a French (in this case) and show no remorse for the massacre of Muslims in Yemen?
If you cannot sympathize with another Muslim, how can you be genuine in your sympathy with the French in this case? If you believe that this “other” Muslim is deserving to die because of his “different” ways in believing in the same religion you hold, how can anyone believe that you felt the sorrow in the killings of the “French” people?
Why do we have to prove that we are not like that?
The answer is as simple as that we need to look deep into our fears of Da’esh. Da’esh is an outcome of an education and a culture of tribal thinking, patriarchal systems, and conspiracy thinking that dominates the walls of our very own homes.
I have to admit, each time I see a profile picture of a Palestinian, an Egyptian, an Arab, any Arab with the French flag I feel like, and it’s time to block. If we are a nation that lacks empathy with its people, how can we ever be believed with our emotions towards the others, that we think that they are in their very best “infidels”?
There is so much that needs to be changed within the Islamic structure of education, that should start by burning all Islamic teaching books except the Qur’an, and start reading it and contemplating about life and Islam within it. The more we work on this, the less complicate Islam will appear. The closer we get to a God that indeed is a Creator. No a God that is prejudiced and full of rage.
We claim to be believers when we have so many blocks of rocks in our beliefs that have nothing to do with faith in what we claim hope is.
I feel sorry for the victims of today in Mali, and a few days ago in Nigeria, and the daily victims in Syria, Iraq, and elsewhere where we don’t bother even to see.
I want to apologize for the continuous deterioration of the Muslim mind of today. I apologize for the ignorance that is so intensely built inside Muslim minds of today.
God said in the Quran: “Allah will not change the condition of a people until they change what is in themselves.”
It is not the “Islamic terror” that we need to defy. It is the terror in our everyday teaching of intolerance, conspiracy thinking, and mystification of the past that we need to challenge..
Da’esh is an outcome of what is boiled in our heads.