A highly developed, peaceful, New Zealand, was rocked by a tumultuous earth-shaking terrorist event. A white supremacist gunned down 50 innocent people assembled for Friday congregational prayers and injured an even larger number of people. Among them were men, women, children and elderly.
According to the NZ police Department, the person who carried out this heinous act was not even on their radar screen. As pointed out by many people, what do you expect when the radars of most of the countries are focused on one particular community, Muslims?
They said, if the radar system was truly fed with the waves from different communities, it is likely Quebec, Charleston, Pittsburgh, and other worldwide white supremacist massacres, probably would have been prevented.
The PM of NZ, Jacinda Arden, aptly described this act as a “White Supremacist Terrorism”. And yet, what we see is that most of the world countries find it difficult to swallow this label of, “White Supremacist Terrorism”.
Especially so for the US where the sitting president, Mr. Trump, according to Washington Post, is well-known for his Anti-Muslim bigotry.
What is more bothersome is that this white supremacist ideology, a racist ideology, has eclipsed into religious, political, and other forms of interchangeable mixed ideological formats.
The politicians are fully aware of this and have made full use of it for their political and personal advancements. They try to whip up a racial frenzy that culminates into a religious hysteria, sawing hatred among communities. This was also witnessed recently when a terrorist attack on the military convoy, in the Indian part of Kashmir, quickly turned into a religious and nationalistic frenzy, signaling out Muslims as the villains or when Israelis alleged that Gaza fired a couple of rockets into Israeli territories.
In both these instances, the leaders face a national election. And in both cases, the leaders have lost their popularity. In the case of India, it is failed policies of development, economic progress, creating new jobs, etc. While in Israel it is the indictment of PM Netanyahu on corruption charges.
So naturally, people suspect about the timings of these incidences. They feel it is to garner votes for political gains. The national elections are due in both these countries in a few weeks.
The New Zealand terrorist, Brenton Harrison Tarrant, has mentioned president Trump in his manifesto, as his ideological guru. This ideological virus of white supremacy is becoming a growing evil. It has transcended global borders infecting people with hate, xenophobia and bigotry. We have seen people harboring such evil ideologies attacking churches, synagogues, gurudwaras, and masjids. The whole purpose is the intimidation and subjugation of other races and faiths.
It is time for the community to have introspection.
How far have we succeeded in delivering our message of one humanity, fraternity, and peace?
Or have we been able to build the bridges of understanding among communities by our social and moral obligations?
Lots of our individuals and organizations are doing an excellent job of helping and serving their fellow humans, here at home in the USA and worldwide. But we have failed to convey it to our compatriots and other fellow communities. Our priorities on financial issues are emotional and reflective. We have doled out billions of dollars in relief and rehabilitation across the Muslim world but have failed to contribute to putting the money where the mouth is.
A fraction of that money spent in developing a Think Tank, strengthening our own Media in the USA, Lobbying and other such activities, could have prevented those catastrophic tragedies in the first place.
If this doesn’t wake us, I don’t know what will. Islamophobia is on the rise as indicated by PEW research. It was up by 19% in 2016 in the USA and continues to rise since then. It is also rising in Europe and in the UK. Statistics indicate the Islamophobic incidents in the UK rose by 27% in 2017. In spite of the fact that hate speech is criminalized under UK law but not in the USA.
Let us discard differences that we have built around the sects and denominations and be a just, “Muslim” and work together to unleash the Ummah’s, economic, social and political power for the benefit of all the humanity to usher in love, peace and prosperity for all, not only in the US but the world over.