A permanent scapegoat

Why should Muslims apologise for the Paris attacks? The Charleston shooting was perpetrated by a white citizen

Sajeer Shaikh November 25, 2015
The writer is a student at the Dow International Medical College and dedicated to creative writing and poetry

The recent attacks in Paris were tragic. Obviously, the wounds are still fresh and gaping. It will take a lot more than time and patience to heal these wounds. I don’t believe in writing about the same theme repeatedly. Death, finding answers, deciding who to blame — this has become a common aftermath of incidents such as these. I do have questions. However, they pertain more to the aftermath itself, instead of the actual incident.

The attacks have given the world yet another reason to hate Muslims and Islam. Yes, there have been numerous articles about how Muslims will not apologise for what happened and the hashtag #NotInMyName went viral as well, and rightfully so. It’s all well and good for the Muslim community to stand up for itself after the attacks, but I wonder — why is it necessary? The Charleston shooting was perpetrated by a white citizen who has still not been labelled a terrorist. There have been more than 200 shootings in the US this year alone. Lives have been lost, in places as public as movie theatres and as sacred as churches. Why, then, does the world not feel the need to apologise? Why did the white community in the US not have to apologise or defend itself publicly? Incidents like those, though their casualties are fewer, are not deemed heinous compared to those where the opportunity to blame Muslims arises. I can’t help but wonder why white citizens don’t feel the need to talk about attacks not being in their name, even though the perpetrators confess that they are, indeed, acts of terror due to racism.

There was a blast in Beirut. Gaza has been in pieces for a ridiculously long time. It still hasn’t been a year to the Peshawar attack. It has, however, been 14 years to 9/11. Muslims are still dealing with the aftermath. The hatred has been carried down generations. It has been drilled into the minds of infants of that time, who are now carrying on the legacy of hatred. However, why is it that we don’t seek out and blame Christians, Buddhists or Hindus for what’s happening in all these places? Blame is blame; it can come to lie on any community’s shoulders. Why, then, does the Muslim community have to continuously bear the blame and wear it as a stamp on its forehead?

I feel like these attacks don’t induce a new wave of hatred, but serve as an excuse to allow the omnipresent one to resurface. A Muslim woman was recently pushed in front of an oncoming train, following the attacks. The hatred has found a way to manifest itself into actions, as it always does. It does so in the wake of all the attacks that are blamed on Muslims. Somehow, it is justified not to label the 200 white shooters as terrorists, but is perfectly logical to label an innocent civilian waiting for a train as one. Why? Because she was a Muslim. Let’s face the facts here. Any time a website publishes a pro-Islam article, the follow-up comments are despicable to look at. Statements like ‘terrorism has a religion and its Islam’ are probably just the tip of the iceberg. When all else fails, the Holy Quran is misquoted out of context or the Holy Prophet’s (peace be upon him) life and his choices are attacked. Muslims can’t win because the idea that their religion is synonymous with terrorism isn’t a new ideology that springs up after an attack — it is ingrained into people’s minds and passed on within generations like an heirloom.

I stand with Paris, as do countless Muslims around the globe. I pray for Beirut, Gaza and Pakistan. I will keep praying for the families of the victims of all these attacks. Perhaps, most importantly, I will pray for Islam, for regardless of the place of the attack or the race of the victims, Islam is injured, hacked up, gunned down and attacked in every corner of the world on a daily basis.

Published in The Express Tribune, November 26th,  2015.

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Pan Mat | 6 years ago | Reply While the advantage of following Pan Islamic agenda gives Pakistan an advantage to raise questions about anything that is ever done to Muslims say Rohingyas ib Burma. You were protesting against atrocities committed against "Muslims" not "Burmese Citizens". So the downside of following Pan Islamic agenda is that you got to able to answer for Muslims action done anywhere and the biggest hypocrisy of Pakistan is that when EU countries are deporting illegal immigrants to Pakistan (who BTW are all Muslims), Pakistan is insisting on checking nationalities!!
Raj Pal | 6 years ago | Reply I actually don't need to read this article to point its intellectual laziness. There is a difference between white people and Muslims. The former, skin pigmentation, is a genetic and hereditor feature, while the latter is an idea, no matter how precious. Leaving aside the issue of apologising, over a million people, overwhelmingly white and non Muslim (like me) took to the streets to oppose Britain entering the Gulf war against Iraq. We did so because we wanted to send out a strong message that the government was not acting in our name. A movement spawned that was so successful that today the British government is having to be very cautious about the political cost of bombing Syria. In India there is a movement by artists, writers, scientists etc. and civil society generally to develop a similar movement that sends out the message that the rabidly anti Muslim BJP government of Modi does not act in their name or in the name of their religion. The rest I leave to you.
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