Don't blame Islam for terrorism

How did pulling a Hijab off a woman’s head help the victims of the Paris massacre?

Hina Kashif November 18, 2015
We immigrated to Canada fourteen years ago. It was the year that affected world peace in the worst way possible; it was the year 9/11 happened. A bunch of suicide bombers claiming to be “Muslims” hijacked a plane that eventually crashed into the Twin Towers. Hundreds of people lost their precious lives and many families were left to live with a hole in their hearts without their loved ones. There have been many conspiracy theories about this incident, some claiming it to be an inside job, however what emerged as a result of the horrific incident is a term, or concept, called: Islamic terrorism.

Although we weren’t in the United States, it was a rather scary time period in Canada as well where incidents of random people pulling hijabs off Muslim girls’ heads were being reported. I used to cover my head in those days, not with a hijab per say but, with a dupatta every time I went outdoors. I was recommended by a few women in the community to stop doing it for the sake of my safety and security. They wanted me to “assimilate” into the “Canadian society” where no one could identify me as a “Muslim”.

I couldn’t do that! I was scared, as I came from a very sheltered atmosphere and family dynamic, but at the same time I believed in the ‘Canadian mosaic’ that we were being taught about at our high school, about all of us being a part of the same assortment. Thankfully, my belief didn’t shatter with time and age.

Post 9/11, the world changed and for the worse.

Iraq war followed and much more happened in various parts of the world. Sadly, the actions of a handful of Muslims began to represent all the Muslims. Many around the world generalised a Muslim for being a terrorist; many others didn’t. The world is still in its place because of the people who know that the actions of minority cannot represent that of a majority.

Just a couple days after the Paris massacre, a mosque was burnt down in Peterborough, Ontario causing the mosque damage of approximately $50,000. It was deemed a hate crime by the police. Thankfully the incident caused no causalities or fatalities. On Monday, two Caucasian men approached a Muslim woman in a Toronto area, pulled her hijab off and beat her up, all while telling her to leave Canada and move back to “her country”. This incident happened in front of a school where the woman had gone to pick her kids up from. The police have also found anti-Muslim graffiti near the Flemingdon Park area.

Being a Canadian Muslim, I want to ask the perpetrators how their actions benefitted Canada, a country known around the world as peace loving? How did pulling a hijab off a woman’s head help the victims of the Paris massacre? How did burning of the Peterborough mosque help in consoling the victims in France? It didn’t help anyone; meaningless hate brings no benefit to anyone. Hitler was a terrorist who committed genocide and killed millions of Jews; he was a Christian. Should I hate every Christian for Hitler’s actions?

George W Bush invaded Iraq and killed thousands of people for a purpose only he can justify. He was a Christian as well. Not very long ago, a few news channels (not all of them, sadly) were telecasting the plight of the Muslims in Myanmar that were stuck between waters and no country was ready to give them refuge; they ran from their country because they were being killed by Buddhist Monks. Is Buddhism to be blamed for the actions of those monks?

No, no and no.

I believe every religion teaches the lesson of humanity; it teaches us to love our fellow humans. If certain delusional individuals decide to twist the ideologies it should be accredited to their lack of intellect and humanity. The religion and the institution must not be blamed for it.

My short comings as an individual do not justify you blaming it on Islam, just as Hitler’s actions do not justify any person blaming it on Christianity.

Last month, the Muslims of Canada voted for Prime Minister Justin Trudeau as the leader of their country. They voted for him because he believes,
“A Canadian is a Canadian is a Canadian.”

They voted for him because of his inclusive approach towards every Canadian regardless of race and religion. He believed in and portrayed the ‘Canadian mosaic’ that we were taught about in school. People voted for Trudeau because he showed compassion towards the Syrian refugees and considered them ‘human’, an act that was completely missing from the former government.

What happened in Paris was a crime against humanity, a crime that is sadly repeated in many parts of the world frequently. I believe in the uniformity of human kind and for that sake, I believe a human life lost in Europe is as important as a human life lost in Pakistan.
Hina Kashif The author works for a non-profit organization in Peel Region, Ontario, as a Settlement Counselor. She has formerly worked as a Magazine Editor for an ethnic English newspaper as well.
The views expressed by the writer and the reader comments do not necassarily reflect the views and policies of the Express Tribune.