The terrorist atrocity in Nice has already generated the now regular tweets along the lines: you care about France, but where were you for Syria or Bangladesh; why are you silent on Somalia, Kashmir and Gaza. Those putting a French flag on their Facebook site or Twitter page are characterised as imperialist apologists or Uncle Toms who wouldn’t even know the colours of the Iraqi flag.
The inference is that westerners grieve the loss of life on their doorstep, whether it’s Brussels or Paris or Nice, but are indifferent to the carnage wrought in Dhaka or Baghdad. Worse, they are engaging in an Islamophobic narrative that ignores the foreign policy of countries like France and the UK.
Those tweeting these kind of sentiments tend to be a mixture of Islamist sympathisers and liberal minded folk. But they are deliberately or unintentionally missing the key point – all the victims of these various attacks from Dhaka to Nice have been killed by people following the same basic ideology. Whether it’s a child mown down by a truck in the Nice attack or a shopper blown up in Baghdad – their killers subscribed to a very similar world outlook.
The terrorist ideology and tactical implementation has gone global. The response from those who oppose terrorist outrages must be similarly globalised through social media, mainstream TV and press and community intervention. Showing support for the victims of the Nice attack is not synonymous with supporting French foreign policy. It is synonymous with supporting the victims of the Ramadan attacks in Baghdad, Medina and Dhaka. It is synonymous with supporting those victims of human rights crimes and atrocities in Gaza and Kashmir. In short, it is synonymous with Humanity.
Islamists on social media are guilty of a certain calculated cynicism when they try and emotionally blackmail people into not putting up French or Belgian flags on their pages. They play on a sense of guilt that maybe, somehow, we are to blame for these terrorist outrages. The fact is – we’re not. This brutality is born of an ideology that should be abhorrent to people across the globe as it takes lives from Mali to Indonesia; Iraq to Belgium. Supporters of Islamist ideologues are conditioned to feel they are right in celebrating and encouraging such heinous acts against humanity, and in doing so will be rewarded. It is this very warped misconception that has gnawed through the very core of compassion and mercy which is emphasised throughout Islamic teachings. They ignore the teaching of the Qur’an
وَمَن يَقْتُلْ مُؤْمِنًا مُّتَعَمِّدًا فَجَزَاؤُهُ جَهَنَّمُ خَالِدًا فِيهَا وَغَضِبَ اللَّهُ عَلَيْهِ وَلَعَنَهُ وَأَعَدَّ لَهُ عَذَابًا عَظِيمًا
"And whoever kills a believer intentionally, his recompense is Hell to abide eternally therein, and the Wrath and the Curse of Allah are upon him, and a great punishment is prepared for him." (An-Nisa [The Women]: 93)
This verse does not differentiate a believer using religion. According to Qur’anic exegesis, the believer is construed to be any person who is righteous in their deeds, who lives not to harm others, and upholds humanity, compassion and mercy, values which these barbaric monsters have destroyed in their own beings.
This is not a “blowback” or revenge for the killing of Muslims in the Middle East. It is a cynical strategy to drive a wedge between Muslims and the rest of the population. Nobody should feel compromised to put a French flag on their social media page today. Because we are all united across the world in defence of every life taken by terrorism, wherever they strike. We are all in this together. This is my life, your lives. These are our fellow human brethren. These are our children. This is us! We must not allow any form of terrorism divide and separate us. Let us all unite against terror in every possible way.