Troubled Mind

June 5, 2011
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The ongoing scientific revolution has led to the solution of a variety of problems that the world faced everyday in the past and it continues to serve humanity to solve problems that exist in the present. Unfortunately not every problem can be solved with science – the complex interplay of human psychology and its interpretation in other cultures, societies, religions and nations calls for the entire human race to come together and address these issues with a blend of human intellect and empathy. One of these issues that has now turned into a global phenomenon is “Terrorism”. Our inability to completely comprehend the dimensions of terrorism and failed attempts to crumple it with violence and hatred is further magnifying its effects. Additionally, its common association with Islam makes it very sensitive to the Muslim community worldwide and thwarts the mutual feelings between Non-Muslims and Muslims. Although the whole world is a victim to terrorism including the Muslim community, people at large still think that Terrorism is solely a Muslim monopoly to dominate the world. The phrase “Terrorism has no religion” has been eventually reduced to nothing more than a cliché for how many people would hear of a bomb blast or such an act and not relate it to Muslims? Or how many people would close their eyes and not visualize the word terrorist as a bearded person with a headwear like a turban or a cap? The affirmative answer to these questions makes me worry about the negative impact that is taking a toll over the character of Islam and that of a Muslim man and its ultimate effects on the containment of this malice.
The literal meaning of terrorism is to achieve political ends through aggression and force. Oxford English dictionary defines terrorism as “government by intimidation”. In the light of this definition, linking terrorism with Islam or any other religion localizes it to a community or a nation where as history is full of events that sit quite well with the definition of terrorism and have originated in different parts of the world. The word terrorism itself dates back to 1790s during the French Revolution when the ruling Jacobins guillotined and deported thousands of people in order to compel obedience to the state. The word terrorism was first used to describe this horrifying Jacobin regime in France. The terrorist events that followed include the assassination of Alexander II by a bomb blast in Russia, 1886 Haymarket Bomb blast in Chicago, the assassination of President William McKinley, 1910 Los Angeles times newspaper building bomb blast, the bombing of King David hotel in 1946, the 1995 Oklahoma bombing, 1996 Manchester shopping center bomb blast are just a few examples of the miscreant activities conducted by people who had no bearings with Islam at all. Later, at the turn of this century, the world fell victim to more of such terrorist attacks affecting several countries. It is this series of events that have altered the definition of terrorism to include Islam. The general masses being unaware of the history of such events have readily adopted the new definition. Media also played a very influential role in giving this notion way into our ideologies as a responsible human.
It should also be noted that Muslim countries are the most affected ones by terrorism. In both Indian Kashmir and Israel atrocities upon the Muslim community are regularly reported. Similarly, Afghanistan and Iraq have long been victims of terrorism. If terrorism were really rooted in Islam then it should have surfaced centuries ago since the advent of Islam but instead ‘terrorism in Islam’ is a new idea born in this century and fueled by groups who intend to distract the world from the true identity of terrorism. The constant association of terrorism with Islam is failing us in containing terrorism. In the pursuit of killing terrorists, thousands of innocent Muslim lives have been taken which has resulted in many others who did not belong to terrorism, take up arms.
Being a Muslim, this issue of misjudgment and lack of understanding of the matter, often leaves me wondering about the possibilities to regain the respect and trust that the Muslim community has lost and the role that one can play as a Muslim to undo the harm done to the image of Islam. I believe, one can change the way the world looks at Islam by way of examples, by practicing the true teachings of Islam that are of peace, equality and brotherhood. But in order for these efforts to be seen and heard and understood the world needs a new pair of eyes – it needs to unlearn what it has been told in the past and to learn to see things in a bigger perspective than just one man or family or culture or religion or nation can offer. If the issue of terrorism transcends boundaries so should its solution.

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