By Shah Tajamul
The contemporary issue among many other issues that the world is facing is the issue of terrorism. But only Muslims are held responsible in one way or other for the phenomenon. Muslims are being labeled as terrorists far and wide, predominantly by West or European nations, and Islam is viewed as a terrorist religion. The image of Islam is being tarnished by the so called Western/ European peacekeeping nations for their vested interests. Western media also portrays that Muslims are same as ISIS and should be met “with a bullet to the head”, despite the loud criticism of Muslims of ISIS.
If we analyze the dictionary meaning of terrorism in its broader sense, it is actually, ‘ the use of intentionally haphazard or indiscriminate violence (terror or fear) in order to achieve a political, religious, or ideological aims’.
Russia and Western/ European powers —Britain, France, America in particular- have operating in concert with autocratic Middle Eastern rulers to steal the patrimony of Muslim people through sweetheart deals for exploitation of natural and money-making resources. In Iran, for example, US-UK organized a CIA–led coup in 1953 to oust the nationalist Mohammad Mosaddeq’s government and installed Mohammad Reza Pahalvi (America’s protege) of Iran in his place because Iran firmly refused to make oil concessions to the West. Unfortunately not only are they robbing the resources from Middle East and Arab countries but Muslims are being murdered, injured, plundered, and ravaged every single day. But when some Muslims, if not all, seek their legitimate rights and defend themselves from their bad intentions and deeds they are being labeled as terrorists, jihadi terrorists, beasts, morons, butchers and so on. Why so?
As Stephen Martin Walt, an American Professor of International Affairs at Harvard University, rightly and clearly points out, ‘we cannot assume an air of innocence when we have killed hundreds and thousands of people’. The Israelites came as foreigners to Palestine, adopted brutal policies towards Palestinian Muslims and left them homeless. (It is said that only 1/5th of their homeland remains now).
Before attacking Iraq, former President of US George W. Bush, in one of his speeches said, ‘The people of the United States and our friends and allies will not live at the mercy of an outlaw regime that threatens the peace with weapons of mass murder’. There is an irony here: Despite being a mass murderer, Bush accused others for nothing. US actions in Iran—backed corrupt Mohammad Reza Shah Pahlavi, who joyfully fulfilled the aims of US in Iran and killed large number of people as well, was eventually thrown out and replaced by Islamic Republic of Iran under the Grand Ayatollah Ruhollah Khomeini. The US incursion in Afghanistan, the hostile Soviet invasion of Afghanistan—the Soviets tried to prop up the Communist government and killed large number of people in the region, United States and Israel’s antagonistic policy towards Egypt, Russian intervention in Syria and much more tell the story of oppression and coercion by the so called ‘Peacekeeping’ Super powers which Muslims of the region are facing every day.
Despite being the victims and bearing the miseries, Muslims still are accused as terrorists. Why? Do Muslims really need to remain silent about Western/European atrocities so that they will not then be called or tagged as terrorists?
Consider a counterfactual here: how these Western and European powers will react if similar things are done to them. Will they remain silent or react? The obvious answer is that they will react with a bang. So why are Muslims singled out and labeled as terrorists if they do retaliate or strike back and the real terrorists who promote and initiate terrorism are not tagged with same?
The West and their puppets should feel fortunate and lucky as only few Muslim groups are raising their voices and fingers against them.
I now make a plea to the world and its conscience: if fighting for one’s own land, property and legitimate rights is a sign of terrorism then all Muslims living across the globe are terrorists openheartedly. They are not like those so called peacekeepers who, in the name of peace, kill innocent people ruthlessly incarcerate their resources with full might and power. It is not the only Western/European nations who rob Muslim resources and murder innocent Muslims but there are other Asian nations as well who with power capture the land of others illegally and kill, blind, maim helpless innocent people.
Such nations should be ashamed of themselves. Finally, I conclude by saying that terrorism has no religion. It is evil and awful. Islam utterly rejects terrorism or violence. As the Holy Qur’an states, ‘killing a person is like killing all humankind, and saving a person is like saving all humankind’. Instead of focusing and maligning Islam as a religion of terrorism, the world should more focus on reasons behind the Muslim anger.
—Shah Tajamul is a student of Islamic Studies at IUST and Junior Research Fellow and can be reached at: firstname.lastname@example.org