In the wake of this weekend’s Paris bombings there’s been the usual deluge of support on social media for the French people. An outcry over the inhumanity that is ISIS. A rise in myopic anti-Muslim sentiment.
And… a flood of support from within the Muslim community with even celebrity Mufti, Mufti Ismail Menk and Moulana Ebrahim Bham of the Jamiat tweeting in support of the French people.
Yet, interesting to note that neither Mufti Menk nor Moulana Bham had anything to say about the bombing in Beirut that killed 40 people just a day before the Paris attacks. In fact, the esteemed Mufti’s concern on that day was about the need for being direct in speech.
Be direct & straight talking. Don't play games with people's minds & hearts. Learn to speak the truth if you want others to trust you.— Mufti Ismail Menk (@muftimenk) November 12, 2015
While Moulana Bham wanted us to be happy with what we have.
If we do not feel grateful for what we already have,what makes us think that we'd be happy with more...— Ebrahim Bham (@EbrahimBham) November 13, 2015
So if this is how our own scholars feel about Muslims deaths, are we surprised when mainstream media displays this same bias? As though Humanity is only really real if it is in the Western world? As though some deaths weigh more than others?
Even within the SA, the silence from the Muslim community on the horrors in Beirut was painfully obvious. Or did we just not care enough to know because the Middle East is so unstable that if we got upset over every death there, (outside of Palestine), we’d be upset all the time?
Did all those Muslims tweeting and changing avatars in support of the Paris attacks know that on the 10th October 102 people died, and some 400 were injured in what is believed to be an ISIS led bombing in Ankara, Turkey?
Oddly, while the President of the Free World, Barack Obama, made suitable noises about the Turkey bombing, the screaming silence from our own Muslim scholars did not go unnoticed. In fact on the 10th Mufti Menk was tweeting about marriage.
Marriage isn't a fairytale. It's never perfect & doesn't come easy. It's a work in progress. Pay attention to little things done day to day!— Mufti Ismail Menk (@muftimenk) October 10, 2015
And what of our community? Have our minds been colonised to that degree that even we cannot be moved to care about deaths unless they’re western deaths?
Or is it that we’re so eager to be seen as something other than blood-thirsty savages that we only feel the need to say something if the attacks are on western soil?
I get that we think the world wants us to clarify that we are NOT TERRORISTS every time a Muslim terrorist does something. But until now I have not seen Christians coming out and saying they’re not mass shooters every time a Christian goes on a rampage and guns down schoolkids or innocent Muslims in their homes.
But all that clarifying, has it yielded anything? Just this weekend, I was told that Muslims need to do more and teach out children real Islam so young people don't fall prey to the lure of ISIS. I don't know how to respond to that without turning it into a history lesson.
And Islamophobia is still on the rise in much of the First World. Maybe it’s because the narrative in insipid bigoted circles where Fox news is their only source of enlightenment is change resistant?
Is it perhaps because this is the age the Prophet PBUH prophesised when he said:
‘There will come a time when the nations gather against you, just as people gather around a feast.’
A man said, ‘Will it be because we are few at that time, O Allah’s Messenger?’
He responded, ‘No, you will be numerous in those times, but you will be as useless as the scum of the sea, and Allah will remove the fear that your enemies used to posses from you from their chests, and He will place al-Wahn in your hearts.’
It was said, ‘What is al-Wahn?’
He responded, ‘Love of life, and hatred of death.’ [Ahmad, Abu Dawud] ?
So maybe we are the problem, after all.