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South Africa: Islamic Unity Convention's Comment On Charlie Hebdo And Apologetic Muslims

14 January 2015

By Islamic Unity Convention

Nobody will condone killings of any sort, anywhere in the world. It is, however, interesting how there is an almost immediate expectation that Muslims should apologize and take responsibility for the horrible attack on satirical magazine, Charlie Hebdo. But the international community does not expect the same kind of response when, for example, Al-Jazeera staff were killed by US forces in Iraq along with their other Arab colleagues; or for that matter, the killing of tens of Palestinian journalists by the Zionist forces over the past decade.

Incidentally, the same day of the Charlie attack, a car bomb was detonated in the Yemeni capital city of Sana'a, killing at least 38 people. In Afghanistan, nine people, including two children were killed in yet another senseless attack in the war-ravaged country; while the violence continues in Iraq and Syria. Where is the media coverage of this? Where are the hash-tag protests?

Soon after the attack on the French satirical magazine staff, two mosques were attacked in Paris, as well as a Muslim-run Kebab shop. Are churches attacked when a Christian teenager decides to open fire on a youth camp?

The demonization of Muslims and Arabs has increased, particularly with the constant fuel provided by the United States and its allies. And in order to live a relatively unmolested life, the Muslim refrain has predominantly been that of an apologist, ‘good Muslim' who doesn't want to ruffle any feathers – even when Islam is being attacked from all quarters. So if individuals claiming to be acting in the name of Islam violate its prescripts, it is Islam that bears the wrath of the international community, and not the misguided individuals. So are all Muslims put on trial? Why are Muslim leaders apologizing on behalf of all? Are they admitting responsibility for these heinous crimes?

But the assault on Muslims and Islam has the assistance of mainstream media, which is used to create an environment which gives legitimacy to the witch-hunt in Paris, and the ‘peace-keeping' military bases in Afghanistan, Iraq, and several African countries. It's also used to create an anti-Islamic perception, which is already being seen in our local newspapers and social media.

As for France and Europe these could very well be the stepping stones to new and further anti- Islamic legislation, which under normal circumstances would have been rather difficult to justify. This is more evidence of how the media is deployed to whip up a frenzy just as it did with the toppling of the Twin Towers in the US, even using the same type of rhetoric e.g., "it's an attack on our sensibilities" and "it's an attack on our freedoms".

To bring it closer to home we need to ask ourselves whether a life taken in France is more valuable than the many lives taken on a daily basis right here in our backyards. Tens of lives are lost daily in the townships in South Africa, in Cape Town in particular. How does one measure the outcry by religious leaders and others to the lives lost in France versus the silence on the slaughter in our home country?

Do we bother to find out why these domestic murders are taking place? Do we bug the police to do their job? Do we partake in a major manhunt as is underway in Europe? What is the difference in the value of these human lives?

What we as responsible Muslims in South Africa should be asking is what really happened in Paris on January 7? Al Quran is clear on how we ascertain facts therefore we should not be so quick to judge without the facts. What did we learn from 9/11 and the subsequent witch-hunt on Muslims and Muslim organisations, let alone the wholesale destruction of entire countries because of a ‘war on terror'?

How long did it take for the truth to emerge? The tide of the consequences however cannot be turned back. We need to understand context. We need to understand history. We need to understand power dynamics and inequalities.

Muslims must not be made to feel so guilty and responsible that they allow more to be chipped away from their Code of Life, thus resulting in more and more compromises.
 

 

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