Few media outlets called the shootings at two mosques in New Zealand – which left dozens dead – a ‘terrorist attack’. That phrase is reserved for incidents where the perpetrator is Muslim. The term ‘lone wolf’ could not be used to describe four shooters, but there was probably still some speculation about their mental well-being, a concern that does not emerge when a Muslim commits terror. Even when a Muslim commits a crime with no relation to terror, their religion is made part of the story.
The terrorists behind this attack literally had a racist, anti-immigrant, Islamophobic manifesto, yet some people refrained from calling them terrorists.
Whilst my real-life and social media friends expressed sadness and/or anger over specifically Islamic terrorist attacks in Paris, Orlando, and Manchester. Close to zero showed concern for the Muslim victims of this far-right attack, by reacting to my posts, changing their profile pictures to the New Zealand flag, or sharing an article about the attack.
Why? Because people either cannot fathom the idea of Muslim victims, or they simply do not care. Because black, brown, and Muslim lives are disposable.
There has been many “I’m not justifying this shooting, but Muslims have been killing us for years” style-comments. This also happened after the Finsbury Park attack, which was presented as a revenge attack. Rendering those victims the ‘enemies’, and somehow deserving of it.
Fortunately, UK Prime Minister Theresa May acknowledged it was an act of terror, just like New Zealand’s PM Jacinda Arden did of the Christchurch shooting.
I also must remind you, ‘Islamic terrorism’ was infrequent before Western states waged war in the Muslim world…
Some people have asked Muslims how it feels to now be the victims of terror. I’m personally more offended by the ignorance in that than the hatred. Islamic violence has killed more Muslims than it has non-Muslims. Terrorist organisations, like ISIS, will murder anyone who disagrees with them, and no one hates them more than the Muslims whose religion they have hijacked, and whose Holy Book they have perverted, for political gain.
I’m not just Muslim; I’m also British: The Manchester bombing was an attack in my city, in my country. My heart bleeds every time blood is spilled, especially in the name of my religion.
Muslims are constantly asked to condemn, and even apologise for, ‘Islamic terror’. We even face demands that we bring ‘Islamic terrorism’ to an end – do you think we have ISIS on speed dial?
Even if I did, they probably wouldn’t listen to a progressive, feminist British Muslims like myself.
The first person to die in this attack said “hello, brother” to his killer. A survivor has publicly forgiven the gunman who murdered his wife. That is Islam: Love and forgiveness. Unfortunately, I’m not that noble. Perhaps it is not my decadent teenage lifestyle that makes me a bad Muslim, but my insistence that whilst God may forgive these terrorists, I never will.
Humans have sent man into space and proven the existence of time-travel. We have cloned animals and performed organ transplants. We created the calendar, invented the compass, built the pyramids, saved countless lives with medicine and vaccines – yet the response to the awful events in New Zealand has shown that we have not yet learned to love one another.