THROUGHOUT global history, terrible things have happened that have hurt people deeply and left behind bitter memories. But when we talk about the current dark times, there is a problem. Some people are blamed more than the others, and certain words, like ‘terrorism’, are broadly attributed to a specific group or community.

Ironically, there has been much hype and hoopla in the West about terrorism, forgetting completely about the two world wars that were initiated by the West, and which were fought among the entities that today we call the West. These wars did not have any religious connotation.

Moving on, the crimes against native populations in the United States and Australia, the Holocaust, the nuclear bombs on Hiroshima and Nagasaki, the long period of colonisation, and the current genocide in Gaza, each incident had, and has, Western powers behind it. Besides, the horrible transatlantic slave trade in which about 180 million Africans were forced into slavery, and many of them died in terrible conditions, was also led by the West. Unsurprisingly, all these historical facts show beyond doubt that people from all backgrounds have their own histroical baggage to carry.

It is, therefore, crucial to establish a proper definition of terrorism. Often when a non-Muslim commits an act of wrongdoing, even if it is blatant terrorism, it is described by Western governments and media outlets as a ‘crime’, and the perpetrator is almost always declared as someone ‘mentally unstable’. However, if Muslims are involved in a similar act, regardless of the severity or scope of the act, they are simply labelled as ‘terrorists’. This is as blatant a case of practising double standards as can be imagined.

To set things right, we need to agree on what terrorism really means. Terrorism should mean using violence on purpose to make people scared, and to achieve certain goals, whether they are political, religious, or something else. The religion or political affiliation of those involved should not matter. By agreeing on this, we can stop unfairness and wrong narratives.

Blaming a religion, a specific group or a whole community for what a few people did is unfair and counter-productive. It is essential for the world, especially the West, to understand that blaming Muslims while overlooking their Western atrocities will only make matters worse. Instead, we should work together to foster understan-ding, dialogue and cooperation among people of all faiths and backgrounds. By upholding justice and condemning all forms of violence, we can build a more peaceful, harmonious world for future generations.

Ajmal Khan
Noshki

Published in Dawn, April 24th, 2024

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