The tragic Toulouse shootings caused by a young Algerian muslim has aggravated the French public’s perception towards the muslim community and the sacred religion itself. Even though as muslims, we know that what Mohammad Merah has done was against the principles of Islam, the portrayal of the Western media does not conform with this idea. Islam is not a religion of violence but some of its embracers are. These people who give Islam a bad name, use it to justify their acts.
I remember of the troubles that I encountered at immigrations during my travels in Europe including France. There were a few times when I was randomly selected (luck or coincidence?) for a thorough inspection. Then there was once when I was forced to take off my hijab. Now that really got me on my nerves. Does being Muslim make me look like a terrorist? But then again, I sympathized the officers who were probably themselves living in a state of fear.
On Merah’s case, he was a multiple delinquent who grew up in an alienated environment. According to reports, being a second-generation immigrant, he was brought up in an area where ethno-religious hostility permeated between the muslim Algerians and the French locals. He was introduced to the “diabolical Islamists” when he was in prison meeting with extreme convicts. Merah was an anguished teenager who sought for revenge against the society that alienated him by associating himself with a stronger entity; al-Qaeda. It was said that his objectives were more of personal rather than for jihad.
A friend of mine had debated that it is wrong for terrorists from any part of the world to kill innocent civilians for their religio-political causes. To some extent I do concur that such atrocities should be condemned but I think we should try to put ourselves in their shoes too. Try to consider the causes of terrorism. For example, they have witnessed the murders of helpless muslims with their own eyes. This heart-wrenching sight is one of those causes that may have inspired them to seek for justice in the name of religion.
Terrorists and cohorts of terrorism or muslim fighters, claim that their attacks in the West are for the sake of the Palestine land and its oppressed people. Whereas the West blames Islam for these acts. This is not a war between religions of Islam-Judaism-Christian. It is a conflict that involves various long-term and short-term factors. The western powers itself has also played a role in the unfair distribution of land to the jews and arabs after the World War 2. It is said that the West’s support for Israel is due to the strings pulled by hidden hands of the Jews which are sporadic in the western world.
As long as there are people who are treated with hostility, injustice and oppression, there will be conflict and there will be war. The saddest part is that those who have no part in the conflicts become victims of revenge; Western citizens have to face the consequences of the decisions made by their leaders, Muslim civilians have to face hostility for the lethal acts done by their extreme brothers.