Muslims and Muslim world have been more of the victims of terrorism than any other group.
OPINION | ISLAM
By Ismail Lukwago Ntegana
World over, Muslims are more associated with terrorism than any other religious group. Actually words like Islamic fundamentalism and radical Islam are often used in the western world whenever refer is to be made to rebellious groups within the Muslim world. It common also a common practice especially among the western media and society to promote Islam phobia among the western citizens.
However, Muslims and Muslim world have been more of the victims of terrorism than any other group. Three hundred and more Somalis were killed recently, more than 3,000 Burmese Muslims have been killed since August, and the world has neglected the death and suffering in Yemen. Scores of people are killed in Syria and elsewhere in Middle East but rarely are these deaths given the attention that is often given to deaths due to terror activities in Western capital. Does the suffering of these people not merit condemnation as those of their Western counter parts??
When a killer is a Muslim, its terrorism and fundamentalism, but if the suspect is not then its mental challenge or gun control problem. Why are Muslims treated as second citizens all over the world even by their own governments? It is this kind of division that gives fertile ground for what the world terms as Terrorism. Terrorist actions can’t solve or prevent terror; crime against a particular group only promotes hatred and violence among its members.
Unlike other world leaders, President Trump declared publically his dislike for Islam and declared war on the Muslim world which has fulfilled by banning travel to the USA by citizens of seven Muslim Majority countries!!
Most of the suffering and death in the Muslim world is exported to them. The war and the final break down in Iraq was exported there by USA and the British. The insecurity created a vacuum that was utilized by some youth to form the infamous Islamic State that has not only destabilized the Syria but also the West. The war in Yemen is fueled by weapons bought by the Saudis from Americans and their allies. The Western world only wakes up when the crisis created elsewhere reaches their door steps otherwise few people in the west would lose sleep at the suffering of Muslim or Arab children.
Surprisingly many Muslim leaders benefit in one way or the other when other Muslims are being undermined and denied fundamental rights. The rift between Saudi Arabia and Iran has led to the suffering and death of several Muslims in Yemen. Many Muslims in Palestine are suffering severe shortages of water, electricity and fuel after the Gulf Crisis and blockage against Qatar that was previously supplying them. The suffering of Muslims in Syria can also be blamed on several Muslim powers some supporting regime change in Syria while others are supporting and sponsoring.
However, there is no country under the sun where Muslims have been prosecuted like Burma. Violence broke out in northern Rakhine state on 25 August 2017, when militants attacked government forces. In response, security forces supported by Buddhist militia launched a “clearance operation” that has killed at least 1,000 people and forced more than 500,000 to flee their homes. The UN’s top human rights official said on 11 September that the military’s response was “clearly disproportionate” to insurgent attacks and warned that Myanmar’s treatment of its Rohingya minority appears to be a “textbook example” of ethnic cleansing. Refugees have spoken of massacres in villages, where they say soldiers raided and burned their homes. Satellite analysis by Human Rights Watch has shown evidence of fire damage in urban areas populated by Rohingyas, as well as in isolated villages.
Those who have made it to the border have walked for days, hiding in jungles and crossing mountains and rivers. Many are sick and some have bullet wounds.
In our region, many prominent Muslim leaders have been murdered especially in Kenya and Uganda and until now, no clear explanation has ever been given.
In the Ugandan case, Muslim are treated as aliens in their own country, if those in authority had their way, I think they would have asked all Muslims to vacate Uganda to another country. While other murder suspects are given bail, Muslim murder suspects can’t, a mosque is raided and property taken and never returned. Every Muslim Male with beard is treated as potential terror suspect!
Are Muslims less human than people of other faiths? Is it a crime to be a Muslim? Is Islam so alien a faith to be accommodated by people of other faiths?
The writer is a lecturer at the International University of East Africa.