Brussels: “We Must Not Let These Attacks Fuel The Fire of Islamophobia”

(Image courtesy of nydailynews.com)

Callum Griffin looks at the disastrous bombings in Brussels and the problems of islamophobia. [Op Ed]

The events in Belgium that have unfolded since this morning have shocked and appalled the people of the world, with social media and leaders of the world all pitching in to lend their words of support and solidarity with the victims.  There is no doubt that these attacks are a horrid display of violence and hatred from an abhorrent minority. “Islamic State” claimed responsibility for the attacks at 15:29 today, according to Reuters.

The modern world is seeing attacks like these happen more and more frequently. The attack on the satirical French magazine Charlie Hebdo last year, followed by the more recent attacks in Paris in November, are clear examples of a world ravaged by terrorism. However, were you aware of the bombing in Istanbul last week? The Ankara bombing the week before? The mass shooting in Tunisia? The mosque bombing in Yemen?

The media have a genuine problem when it comes to their apparent blindness of heinous events when they don’t happen in a white, Western country. Yes, the events of Belgium are wretched, and people do need to know of the atrocities that are committed by terrorist groups such as ISIS, but why do these events gain more media attention?

tragedy world map

“Tragedy World Map”, a satirical image showing the relative importance society places on terrible events depending on where they are

(Image courtesy of cinismoilustrado.com)

However, the most important issue stemming from the tragedy is the reaction of a few people who continue to use the misfortune and suffering of others to promote their own bigoted political agenda. Katie Hopkins, I’m pointing at you. She tweeted:

It is comments like this that exemplify the absolute worst parts of humanity. The use of a public position to smear those in need and promote divisive, and basically racist ideas is deplorable and a horrible reflection of society. Most people on social media are showing solidarity and sadness for the Belgian people, but this small minority does not go ignored. US Republican presidential candidate Donald Trump made his usual contribution of opinion to the events, reiterating the need for strict border control and even alluded to the expansion of torture methods such as waterboarding if he becomes president. UKIP immediately pointed to the Schengen Area, the right of EU citizens to move freely between member states’ borders, as the cause of the tragedy, using the event to push the case for Brexit.

These people are using the suffering of others to push their own agendas and often thinly-veiled racist views. Many people are taking out their anger on ordinary Muslims and renouncing Islam on the internet. Let me make this extremely clear: the group known as “Islamic State” are not a true reflection of the values of Islam. The Quran and Hadiths do not advocate the murder of innocent people any more than the Bible does. A better name for the group, one that they despise the use of, has been proposed as “Daesh”, which is the acronym for their Arabic name which is also similar to the word “Dahes”, a derogatory word in Arabic.

We must not let these attacks fuel the fire of Islamophobia that sweeps our world today. No genuine Muslim advocates the actions of ISIS, the refugees are not a swarm of Jihadi fighters coming to destroy our countries, and ISIS is to Islam what the KKK is to Christianity. It’s time we showed solidarity with not only the victims of the tragedy, but the ordinary Muslims who are being treated with disrespect because of bigotry and racism.

Everyone at T’HUD would like to express their solidarity with the Belgian people.

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