The face of modern terrorism? Or just another stereotype?
My condolences to the people of Norway who have now also become victim to the whims of terrorism which is fast becoming a less exclusive club of cities subject to such mindless murder. What added to the burden was not that feeling in the pit of my stomach in disgust at what had occurred, nor was it the expected reaction that somehow this was an attack by some obscure disenfranchised group of Muslims. Rather it was my own response, assuming that such a tragedy, on such a scale, in such a location, would be the handiwork of an obscure disenfranchised group of Muslims. How wrong was I.
As news spread of a blond haired, blue eyed Norwegian man, Anders Behring Breivik, many of the news channels and publications back tracked with some even removing previous commentary blaming Muslims. In the case of one publication, as one commentator observed, the comments in The Telegraph stopped short of suggesting the annihilation of the European Muslim community in response. It is as if hate is being met with more hate, and efforts for understanding and interaction are being thrown by the side.
It doesn’t matter that earlier this year research circulated the internet where one article headlines ‘All Terrorists are Muslims… Except the 94% that Aren’t”. The author pointed out that only 6% of terrorists attacks on US soil from 1980 to 2005 were carried out by ‘Muslims’ – the rest? 42% from Latinos, 24% from extreme left wing groups, 7% from Jews, 5% from communists and 16% from others. If that isn’t sufficient, Europol released their annual study of terrorism which observes that 99.6% of terrorist attacks in Europe were by non-Muslim groups.
All these numbers aside, murder is murder, and as the Quran clearly states, “The one who takes the life of an innocent person, it is as if they have murdered all of humanity.” No Muslim who has read the Quran, can understand the Quran and tries to apply it’s teaching in their daily life can possibly justify mindless murder. It simply isn’t possible. With this in mind I refer to the title of this article. The quote comes from a Norwegian police official who actually said:
“He came out of nowhere… It seems it’s not Islamic-terror related… This seems like a madman’s work.” This quote is cited across every news service reporting the incident but it upset me. To me as a Muslim, the phrase ‘islamic-terror’ is an oxymoron. Terrorism is terrorism, and the only ones able to justify such injustcie are in fact madmen.
It doesn’t matter which faith a person ascribes to, for any person seeking to commit an injustice can only rationalize that injustice by obscuring the words of that faith. That is to say, it takes a mad person to commit an act of terrorism.
Given the statistics, and the realities of terrorism, perhaps it is time we look beyond stereotypes, otherwise authorities will no longer need to look for young Muslim men of Arabic/Indian/Pakistan/North African origin who have ‘been to a mosque’ as a means of identifying potential threats. They will have to add all blond haired blue eyed men who watch Dexter. Why is it that only the latter sounds absurd while the former is perceived as ‘acceptable measure for prevention’? There is no faith, culture or look of terrorism. A murderer is a murderer and will find any excuse to rationalise their crime.
Once again my condolences to the people of Norway. May you find ease and comfort in this difficult time, ameen.
Farrukh Younus holds a master’s degree in international business management and works in the emerging telecom industry. He resides in Surrey, UK. His interests include travel, nouvelle cuisine, and chocolate.