The first thing I do when reading an article is pray: Oh Allah! Let it be brief. With several hundred tweets, articles referred in those tweets, facebook posts, whatsapp messages, SMSes, emails, other articles, my job, my education and my life to wade through every day, I sometimes think that ‘Time’ is this era’s scarcest resource. So when writing articles I tend to follow my own advice and keep it brief. If consequently some of my thoughts don’t make it through as untangled as I intend them to be, please lemme know.
So first of all, the #ParisAttacks were an act of total and sheer savagery, abhorrence and utterly devastating. My heart goes out to all grieving families who have lost a loved one, and to the French people in general to have been subjected to this medieval barbarism, that no one in this enlightened era should have to endure.
This is my response, and the response of many Muslims around me. I live in Pakistan, and despite the fact that we have ‘had our moments’, a little too many of ‘em like this one, but believe you me when I tell you this that these attacks were every bit as devastating to ‘us’ as was the Peshawar School Massacre just last year.
There are Muslims who do not share this same clarity and/or intensity in their responses, surely. One can easily find responses ranging from ‘Our-plight-is-greater-and-frequent-than-yours’ to ‘whataboutery’ to ‘lackluster’. Not to say that the expressers of these feelings are not good people; but they are fewer, and their feelings are mostly exacerbated or inebriated by the desolate security environments that beset them in their countries. As put nicely by Hamza Ali Abbasi: ‘Your 13/11 is our 24/7’. So please learn to forgive them brooding people.
I pray that sanity prevails in the aftermath of this catastrophic event. Moments like these are undoubtedly inflammatory and indignating; but that should not mean that we allow our anger to rule our judgment. Most important is not the intensity but the direction of our reprisals. ISIS and their benefactors need to be hunted and brought to justice. But what it should not become – which unfortunately after each iteration so far has repeatedly become, and which the assailants seek for it to become – is a witch-hunt of the Muslim community at large. That will not benefit anyone but those headhunting reluctant-disgruntled-radicals. In this optimally ionized environment they’ll gravitate towards ISIS or Al-Qaeda, like Matthew McConaughey towards Gargantua.
So far France has pushed the right buttons, exhibited the right responses; much more tempered and guided in their approach than, say, US after 9/11. May Allah grant them the wisdom to overpower the incidentally compelling drooling urge to go berserk, and reach conclusions that shall lead them to fruition. Most importantly, may Allah enable them and other European nations to remain favorably disposed towards accepting Syrian refugees. Amen