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Mainstream, VOL LVII No 15 New Delhi March 30, 2019

Why Christchurch Attack is a Wake-up Call

Sunday 31 March 2019

by Zulafqar Ahmed

Politics around the world has been changing dramatically. The extreme Right has risen to power throughout the globe from Donald Trump of the US (2016) to Rodrigo Duterte of the Philippines (2016) and from Victor Orban of Hungary (2010) to Jair Bolsanaro of Brazil (2019). The rise of the extreme Right is posing a severe threat to the democratic values like Liberty, Equality, Justice, Plurality, Inclusiveness and Tolerance, and with the emergence of the extreme Right ideologies like Chauvinism, Xenophobia, Misogynism and Islamophobia have raised their heads.

The recent ghastly and disgusting Christ-church terrorist attack on two mosques in New Zealand, in which 50 Muslims were killed and several were injured, is a sheer case of Islamo-phobia. The perpetrator of the attack live-streamed his terrorist act on Facebook, playing American Civil War music in the background and justified the attack by publishing his manifesto earlier. The semi-automatic gun which the terrorist had used was inscripted with Islamobhobic and Right-wing ideology. Nothing is more shocking than the fact that even after the terrible attack leaders of the Right-wing didn’t speak against the attack and the international media, which immediately swings into action, started spewing venom against the whole Muslim community; if the attacker belonged to the same community as the followers of Islam, they would have called the Christ-church terrorist a shooter. Terrorism is terro-rism, it is against humanity, no religion, race, caste and region has monopoly on it. It should be condemned in the strictest form no matter who is instigating it.

The organised violence against the Muslims all over the globe is being done in the facade of Islamophobia. The propagators and preachers of the Islamophobic ideology are not much scared of the terror of any person but their actual fear is that Islam has the capability to influence the minds of the people and if it is not contained, it would spread in the Western world very swiftly. British political philosopher David Selbourne in his Losing Battle with Islam enumerated ten reasons and he argued that because of these reasons it was very tough for the Western world to win the battle with Islam. Similarly, French writer Micheal Houellebecq, in his novel Submission, asserted that in the upcoming seven years France would have an Islamist Government with the support of the Socialist Party. These books have left a strong impression on the minds of Western policy-makers and due to such fear anti-Muslim policies are being framed in the Western world. In this whole well-framed propaganda, the inter-national media plays an indispensable role in adding fuel to the fire.

A hoax is being created round the globe that Muslims are the common enemy and they are the real threat to peace. But the reality is quite contrary to this. For a moment, let us ask ourselves: who are the leading manufacturers and exporters of arms and which country dropped the Mother of all Bombs on Afghanistan. None of the Muslim-dominated countries tops the list in terms of the annual defence budget expenditure? Moreover, the 2011 report of the US Government’s National Counter-terrorism Centre (NCTC), said that “In cases where the religious affiliation of terrorism casualties could be determined, Muslims suffered between 82 and 97 per cent of terrorism-related fatalities over the past five years.” The question which needs to be pondered over is: if Muslim countries are the worst sufferers of terrorism, then why this Islamophobia? The irony is that terrorism killed less people around the world than the “war on terror”.

We never heard of a Christian terrorist killing those praying in the Masjid and the media never called him a Christian terrorist. When Buddhist terrorists killed Rohingyas in Myanmar and the media never called them Buddhist terrorists; When Jewish terrorists killed Palesti-nians in Palestine the media never called them Jewish terrorists. Why is religion deliberatively affixed to the Muslim terrorist only? This is how the international media creates vicious designs against the Muslims and projects them as a common enemy of the world.

Indiscriminately, incidents like the Christ-church terror attack must be vehemently criticised by all leaders of the world and the onus falls on the international media to call a spade a spade; it should show what the reality is without manipulation. The solidarity of New Zealand’s Prime Minister, public and the inter-national community is appreciable. The solidarity which Jacinda Ardern showed with the Christchurch victims is worth applauding and she gave a worthy lesson to all the leaders of the world. But it is not sufficient to criticise one particular terror attack and think that after sometime everything will become normal. It is high time to criticise all the terror attacks explicitly and simultaneously. The international media has to demystify the hoax which is being created against the Muslim community. The silence of the world leaders and media gives impunity to the terrorist to carry out such types of inhumane attacks in broad daylight. If deadliest attacks like the one at Christchurch are not condemned unequivocally across the globe on time, there will be no possibility of stopping these attacks in future.     

Zulafqar Ahmed is a Doctorate Fellow at the Department of Political Science, Aligarh Muslim University. He can be contacted at e-mail: ahmedzulafqar78[at]mail.com

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