Inna Lillahi wa inna ilayhi raji’un.
“We belong to Allah and to Allah we shall return.”
2 days after the terrorist attacks at the Al Noor and Linwood mosques in Christchurch, New Zealand, the media has begun to reveal the images of the victims. Men, women and children, the youngest of the victims
When the most holiest day of the week for Muslims is stained with blood of fellow brothers and sisters, then we have every right to mourn. But along with this, Muslims all over the world have every right to be angry too. However, it is the discourse of the twenty-first century that has branded Muslims as violent and inherently dangerous. It is this discourse, which has circulated in the media, in our educational institutions and our systems of government since 9/11, that has led to this attack on Muslims and all those prior to it.
There are times for mourning and there are times for action. But how much change can we force when the slightest raise of tone of Muslims voices means that we fall into the trap of our enforced identity and stereotypes? When you are not the targets of white supremacy, it is easy for you to say “Don’t think negatively, things will be better.” Things will only be better when white people and non-white people, Muslims and non-Muslims, Jews and non-Jews raise their voices in anger together. In isolation it is easier for our anger and demand for change to be mistook as a characteristic of the “violence” of Islam. There are so many issues with western discourse and rhetorics around Islam and it’s followers. The most damning aspect of it is that we are in no official position to challenge it without severe consequences because this is how pervasive power structures work.
Due to these circumstances, we need solidarity from those people whose voices are heard more than our own. Your prayers are welcomed, but we need your activism and positions of privilege and power even more. With this in mind, your silence when events like this occur is even more condemning. If Europe stood silent when the Nazi regime took over and only acted when it was too late and precious Jewish lives were lost, then when can we expect the world to act for Muslims? This haunting memory of fascism lives on in every media outlet that refuses to call this attack a terrorist attack. Before history repeats itself, and more lives are lost, we need our governments and our media outlets to take accountability in producing white supremacy. Silence has never prevented any terrorist attack, nor is it an adequate response to one either.