The world has consistently, for the past few weeks, seen carnage. The yesterday’s one in Nice, France has particularly left me very appalled, for it engulfed the lives of small children. The earlier one in Saudi Arabia, especially the one near the Prophet’s mosque in Medina, has had an effect on the collective consciousness of the Muslim faithful more than whatever words can describe. Baghdad’s deadliest attack since the American invasion a day or two before was no less devastating, for more than 250 innocent souls were summarily murdered by a lone suicide bomber. Dhaka’s, too, deadened minds and shattered dreams, for it was unprecedented in the country that has already been going through a lot with the rise of the filthy, nihilistic doctrine of “kill whosoever professes different ideology”. Syria’s genocide shows no sign of ending. Libya has long become a den. OMG!
I am not here to defend Islam again. I have done that one hundred and one more times already. Although I am not tired, it is of little or no relevance here, for some ignorant, prejudiced individuals will never stop aligning the religion with every single act of terrorism. I wrote this in one of such litanies in 2014 after the Kano Grand Mosque attack:
Is terrorism part of Islam? No. Yes. The religion is wholly against terrorism; Jihad, the concept always attached to this wanton, aimless war on all, is not altogether about murdering innocent people, abducting and enslaving children, robbing, plundering and the like. And yes; hundreds of thousands of Muslims are today engaged in those acts and they think they will be rewarded by so doing. I know this is a heavy fact to admit. But so it is. Islam today has largely been hijacked by terrorists and is thus becoming synonymous with terrorism. This happens in almost all corners of the world from Kano to Kabul, Benghazi to Baghdad, and London to Lahore. Whatever the causes, motivation, name it, Muslims, often, remains an integral part of it.
I have one expression to tell those lunatics: Allah ya isa! (Allah is sufficient for us!). This we say in Hausa, my mother tongue, when we are extremely helpless. There is nothing one can say, for the largest victims of this scourge are Muslims, yet we are every so often blamed for that. Imagine! One of the Muslims’ sacred places of worship was dastardly attacked by one of those people. Our mosques, schools, houses, markets, etc are also bombed. Nowhere is safe for us, and for all. They were hitherto found only in a few places, but they are now everywhere and expanding.
The terrorists have weaponized everything from motorcars to motorbikes, planes to lorries. They, very frighteningly, remain faceless. Beard does not indicate anything; neither does burqa, turban nor kaftan. They are just indistinctly, deeply indoctrinated. The ideology is hidden somewhere in their ‘brains’. The world is under attack. We are all vulnerable, thus threatened. All of us.
It is high time we stopped the blame game and focus on our common enemies – the irreligious terrorists. The commonest thing they share is not a faith, not our faith. If it were, I and the over one and a half billion others would have picked up weapons and would have been doing the same. The world would not have been in peace. But we are not the same. We cannot be. We are sympathetic and empathetic humans. They are robotic, predatory killer-machines. Their common seal is haughtiness, hatred, and heartlessness.
I think the most effective way to fight the terror is not by a hasty military aggregation as the French government recently did in Syria and Iraq in response to attacks on its soil. We can clearly see that that has not solved anything. Most of the attacks in France were carried out by homegrown terrorists. We should not apply the same to them, for darkness doesn’t drive darkness away, only light does, so says Martin Luther King Jr. Let us show them the quality of being human. Listen to their grievances, most of which may arise from the way they are ill-treated, discriminated against, isolated and ghettoized in their own countries. That breeds more demented terrorists. No military hardware can fight ideology, experts in most quarters of counter-terrorism studies say, and it's true.
Boko Haram insurgency was, a few months ago, the order of the day in Nigeria, for instance. But with the combination of our persistent prayers; the gallantry of our military, the Civilian JTF and other security servicemen, that has become a story of the past, God Willing. The involvement of the Civilian JTF has contributed in a no small measure in the war with BH, and the bravery of our scholars, some of whom have paid the highest price with their lives, has equally helped. That has deterred many from joining the sect.
There is no denying that the battle fought by the global terrorism is though deadly, it is doomed to fail. It is a war they can and will never win. As long as they strike, people with functioning faculty fathom their aim. They are set out to divide us, to spread more differentiation and more hate among us. Humanity unites us all. Don’t let a few among us mislead you to lose that precious gift of being human. Be humane, in addition. Let us condemn terrorism with a collective voice. Let us unite to anger and shame them.
May peace reign in this our world, in sha Allah.