Thursday, December 24, 2015

Can all Muslims act like the Muslim heroes of Mandera?

There was an incident in Kenya whereby a group of Muslims thwarted a potential attack by al-Shabaab (the fire spitting Somali al Qaeda) when they tried to kill a group of Christians who were traveling by bus to Mandera, Kenya.

“Finally”, I said to myself, “Here’s something that shows that the Muslims still have some compassion left to do good and care about fellow humans!”

In this day and age of doom and gloom, instances of turmoil and destruction loom large on our heads and overwhelm our thought process. Life, as we know it, is a tough nut to crack. ISIS and jihadis of their ilk have made it even tougher. Each barbaric episode is followed by the media’s sensationalising antics with politicians adding fuel to the fire by their emotion-laden, incendiary hate speech and bigotry. This is what the world has come to and this is how our minds perceive the global epidemic of terrorism.

Our brains are programmed to anticipate the worst, be sceptical of our surroundings and hence, expecting anything even close to a pleasant happening is utterly hard to imagine. That’s why the incident in Kenya jumped out at me and warmed a cynic’s heart.

This episode is a practical illustration of the fact that to Muslims, human life is a sacred trust, one that does not know any cultural, political, religious or regional boundaries.

While I complain about God giving up on humanity, nations and people for eons have lent a helping hand to courageously defend followers of other faiths with gusto and goodness of their hearts. As the Kenyan interior secretary, Joseph Ole Nkaissery, said after the valiant Mandera act,

“We are all Kenyans, we are not separated by religion.”

I personally believe that we are all human and we are not separated by any colour, country, race or religion. Humanity and kindness sit at the apex of mankind’s pyramid. Everything else is secondary. There’s nothing spectacularly extraordinary about this. It’s just a simple recognition of human spirit that transcends all borders and glues us all together as people.

Recently a video of Hillary Clinton praising a Muslim officer serving the US military went viral.

While it is hoped that Mrs Clinton will be an outright winner in the 2016 presidential elections, Muslims should diversify and enrich their network of support to counter the challenges that so many right-wing politicians in the West are posing to undermine the community’s integrity.

I read somewhere that,

“The world holds two classes of men – intelligent men without religion, and religious men without intelligence.”

Whoever said this, it seems that they had modern-day Islam in mind.

In today’s world, Muslims have a fundamental duty to destroy the seeds of radicalism. They must disown and dishonour those who bring bad name to the faith, disrobe those who do not condemn extremism and preach hatred in mosques and disgrace the ones who show little or no respect to other faiths or communities.

I am not employing any hyperbole when I say that the world is at war with not just terrorism, but the Muslim community at large. This is because the images that have taken over the non-Muslim consciousness are ones that depict Islam as the enemy instead of radicalism in general. In these trying times, the Muslim community around the world is burdened with a task that no one should have to bear.

I am writing this to convey the urgency of our situation. The average Muslim is no longer just a regular human being. He carries with him the afflictions of the entire Muslim world and is faced with the task of representing the truth about his people. Those Muslims in Kenya have played their part in subverting the dominant narrative surrounding their community. Now, it is your turn.

from The Express Tribune Blog

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