In light of the Charlie Hebdo tragedy in Paris earlier this week, I was reading The Independent, including comments on Facebook, and a particular comment jumped out at me. It questioned, “Isn’t it really Muslims who are suffering most because of terrorism?” and I thought, “You know, that could be very true.”
The sheer level of hatred I’ve seen towards the Muslim community this week exceeds anything I’ve ever seen before. The level of negative generalisations about Muslims that have been shared publicly via outlets such as Twitter has been incredible. It’s because of this that I agree, yes, Muslims could be suffering most because of terrorism. These incidents are horrific, incredibly tragic and, yes, unbearable for the families of the loved one’s involved. However, that is no excuse to throw racially insensitive (to put it nicely) comments around. These incidents affect hundreds or thousands of people closely involved. However, we must not forget that with every incident, millions of Muslims – many who do not agree with the actions of terrorists whatsoever – are negatively affected. They are deemed “terrorists” and “murderers”, despite being nothing of the sort. A large percentage of Muslims are simply average people, like you and me, who are educated, work full-time, and who just want to enjoy life. Yes, that’s right… Muslims travel, have parties, go shopping, watch films at the cinema, and do pretty much everything me and you do, too!
There are some hateful individuals in the world – some Muslim, some Christian, some atheist, and plenty from other religion’s. However generalisations on such a vast level because of the actions of a handful of individuals is completely unacceptable. Regardless of religion, race, age or sex, most are their own person with their own views. Religion shouldn’t mean definition. It does for some no doubt, but not for all. That’s what we must remember.
On a last note, in this incident I did see many condemning Muslims not as “terrorists” or “murderers”, but as “heartless” due to leaders in Muslim countries not publicly condemning the acts. However, again, remember that the choice of one individual does not span the whole religion, country or world. After all, how annoyed would us Brits be if the world assumed we all shared the views of Margaret Thatcher, David Cameron or even Nigel Farage? We’d be fuming, I bet!
Please do share your thoughts on this subject. I’d be interested to hear any feedback, positive or negative.
My thoughts are with the families and friends of the victims of the Charlie Hebdo tragedy. May our freedom of speech always be just that. Free.
Rest in peace.
Images courtesy of Charlie Hebdo