Together we will defeat terror



Imam Shamsi Ali* 

HAJIMAKBUL.COM - Last Friday, a very tragic event took place in New Zealand. An Australian White Nationalist terrorist, 28 years old, entered into Christchurch Mosque and went on a shooting rampage attacking the Muslims who had just began to prepare their Friday prayer (Jum’ah). At least 49 got killed, while more than 50 were badly injured. 

Unfortunately, this is not the first incident like like this. It is becoming all too common and it is not only happening in New Zealand. Thousands of miles away in the land where I am living in the USA it has happened many times and also elsewhere in the world as well.

Certainly without any doubt what happened in New Zealand and in many parts of the world, regardless of the perpetrators and the victims, these terrorist attacks deserve our strongest condemnation. We join the world to condemn it fully and urge authorities to speedily do their job and bring the perpetrator(s) to justice. 

Just two days later a Catholic Church in the Philippines was bombed. 20 got killed while more than hundreds were injured badly. In this attack, the so called “Islamic State in Iraq and Syria” announced their responsibility. 

A day later in Yemen, a mosque was blown up by bombs. Over a hundred praying Muslims died and many more were injured. 

Our hearts are bleeding with these tragic events in our world. Terror upon terror, massacres and killing innocents have become almost a regular event these days.

Should we just be quite and do nothing? Certainly not. 

So what steps should we all take in order to stop and prevent this from happening again? 

First, don’t ever be intimidated. What the terrorists want is to instill fear, to scare people in order to achieve their goals. But we people of faith despite being very careful, should never be fearful. Our faith must be stronger than ever to face their terror.

Second, stick together. Terrorists want to divide people to gain power. Division leads to weakness. And that is exactly what the terrorists want. Keep and strengthen our unity. United we are strong. Divided we fail. 

Third, let other’s pain become ours. Humans are like one body. If a part of the body gets hurt, the rest will feel the pain. I often say: “an attack to any is an attack to all”.  And what is happening to anybody today can and might happen to another tomorrow. A pain being afflicted to any is painful to all of us.

Fourth, take a stand. You may not do wrongs to others around you. But being silent to wrongdoings around you is wrong itself. Silence in front of terrorism is wrong and may be considered a form of condoning or “silent approval” of the acts. And so speak up agaist it in any way possible. 

Fifth, clean and begin with one’s own house. Often time we speak outloud against others wrongdoings. But when the wrongdoings are perpetrated by those whom we are associated with, we chose to be silent. It is wrong and shameful. 

Sixth, fairness is needed. In the past when a person we call “the other” committed terrorism we all jumped and called it as it is. But if any person(s) from our group does (do) the same, we try to dance around and find different terminologies. Terrorism doesn’t know race, ethnicity and religion. In fact terrosim has no religion. Stop the hypocrisy!

Seventh, words matter. I remind, especially those in leadership positions, both political and religious, to watch their mouths. Stop your hateful racist phobic rhetoric. For religious leaders, stop hateful interpretations and speeches. People are looking up to you and taking you as their role models. You will be accountable some day! 

Finally, once again I remind all to continue to work together and unite to face this evil, especially at this time of deep division in our society. There is no better way to face terrorism and violent tendencies in the community than holding hands unitedly as one human family.  (*)

New York, 20 March 2019 

* Director of Jamaica Muslim Center USA 
* President of Nusantara Foundation

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