On Demonizing the Victims

Baghdad, Iraq – 02 July 2016 – At least 175 deaths confirmed, many still missing – A suicide bomber affiliated with Daesh struck Baghdad’s bustling commercial area of Karada late on Saturday, when many residents were spending the night out before the start of their dawn Ramadan fast.  Daesh said it had deliberately targeted Shia Muslims by striking the suburb of Karada, implying it drew no distinction between civilians and security forces.  Baghdad has been struck upwards of 1,000 times!

Istanbul, Turkey – 29 June 2016 – At least 41 deaths confirmed; 239 injured – At least three people with guns and suicide vests targeted the arrivals and departures areas at Atatürk international airport, where they sprayed travelers with bullets and then detonated their explosives in a rampage that lasted just a few minutes but killed dozens and injured more than 230 others.

Dhaka, Bangladesh – 02 July 2016 – At least 28 deaths confirmed – Heavily armed attackers held dozens of foreigners and Bangladeshis prisoner in a cafe while hurling bombs and engaging in a gun battle with security forces.  The victims included 20 hostages, mostly foreigners, and two Bangladeshi police officers.  The gunmen, initially firing blanks, ordered restaurant workers to switch off the lights, and they draped black cloths over closed-circuit cameras.  Daesh claimed responsibility.

Medina, Saudi Arabia – 04 July 2016 – 4 confirmed deaths – Suicide bombers killed four Saudi security forces on Monday in an attack outside the Prophet’s Mosque in Medina, one of the two holiest sites in Islam, in an escalation not seen for decades.  Earlier that day, Saudi officers foiled an attempted bombing near the US consulate in Jeddah, while a suicide bomber struck a mosque in the Shia-majority province of Qatif shortly before sunset.

Approximately 250 left dead from terrorist attacks, mainly on Muslims in predominantly Muslim countries inside of a week, and there are still many missing in Baghdad as of this writing.  Such terrible tragedy, and yet … and yet, western nations decry that in order to protect themselves from terrorism, all Muslims must be banned.  Who are the victims?  Who are the inhumane?  This is not the first time that the West seems to have shrugged off massacres in predominantly Muslim countries. But the relative indifference after so many deaths caused by the very groups that have plagued the West is more than a matter of hurt feelings. One of the primary goals of Daesh is to drive a wedge between Muslims and the wider world, to use that wedge as a recruiting tool. And when that world appears to show less empathy for the victims of attacks in Muslim nations, who have borne the brunt of Daesh’s massacres and predatory rule, it seems to prove their point. It would appear to play right into their hands. To say that Daesh is primarily targeting the western nations is rather like feeling sorry for yourself because your neighbor’s house caught fire and burned to the ground.  This is not about the west.  This is about Daesh trying to gain, or re-gain, territory in the Muslim world. This is about retaliation for ground lost. And instead of compassion, instead of providing safe haven, the western nations are playing numerous games to pretend that they are the victims and to further endanger the Muslim world.

A Canadian citizen, Hira Saeed of Ottawa, asks why social media had not been similarly filled with the flags of Turkey, Bangladesh and Iraq, as it did for Brussels, Paris and Orlando?  I do not have any answer.  Why, indeed?

In the U.S., there is none other than Donald Trump and his minions calling for a ban on all Muslims and deportation of Muslims currently residing in the U.S.  In the UK, a large part of the reason those who voted to leave the EU did so was because they no longer want to accept Muslim refugees into their country.  In Austria, far-right Freedom Party presidential candidate Norbert Hofer engages in Trump-like anti-Muslim rhetoric to rile the masses into a frenzy of hate against an entire religion.  And throughout Europe and the U.S., anti-Muslim sentiment, Islamophobia, is on the rise.  Certainly there have been terrorist attacks in both the U.S. and Europe, and it is not my intent to minimize these. Many of these, as was the case with the attack on a gay nightclub in Orlando, Florida last month, were perpetrated by homegrown or lone-wolf terrorists not connected, or only loosely connected with Daesh.  And yet, the western nations continue to bemoan their bad luck because their neighbor’s house burned to the ground.

Daesh has lost at least half the territory it had gained in recent years, and it is believed that the recent attacks are in retaliation for those losses.  While the west may be targeted from time to time, they are by no means the main target.  Yet instead of compassion, we look upon the victims of these brutalities with hatred.  Instead of a helping hand, our response is a slamming door.  Think about it.

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