#ParisAttacks: How social media took to anti-Muslim bigotry

Friday the 13th is considered to be the unluckiest day of the year, according to western superstitious beliefs, and this belief couldn’t have been more accurate, as the world bore witness to one of the most horrific terrorist attacks that mercilessly swathed the capital city of Paris, in France, last night.

The horrific attacks consisted of a series of shootings, suicide bombings, and explosions, killing over 120 people (thus far) in six distinct locations throughout the city, which included a theatre, concert hall, shopping mall and a sports stadium. And while it is yet to be confirmed whether the attackers were in fact members of either the Islamic State of Iraq and Syria (ISIS) or perhaps even al Qaeda, many were quick – too quick, in fact – to place the blame on Muslims, going as far as blatantly stating that they should all be “deported” from the country, and labelling each and every one of them a “terrorist”.

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Sadly, I see this labelling and blaming quite often. Each time a terrorist attack of this nature occurs, people are quick to judge and attack all Muslims, while at the same time not realising that Muslim beliefs are not tantamount; they vary from person to person, and certainly not all Muslims follow what ISIS, Al Qaeda, Taliban, etcetera follow. And as much as some of us try to deny this fact, it is a fact that there is not one but many, many ‘versions’ of Islam. And, no, not every single Muslim – the 1.57 billion of them – are terrorists; nor would these people support and praise such despicable acts. No sane or logical person would.

If calling for deportation and labelling all Muslims as terrorists wasn’t bad enough, there were also those who made brash assumptions, going as far as placing the blame on the Syrian refugees, who were generously provided refuge in Europe recently. A Republic Congressman, Jeff Duncan, took to Twitter to ignorantly post the following tweet, which reads,

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Anti-Muslim bigotry is real, and the above tweet reeks of it. And, frankly, it just makes the person look obtuse and ignorant. It’s very easy to put the blame on a group of people, due to our conditioned stereotypes. It’s very easy to blame Syrian refugees, because really, we should be thinking twice before allowing these “filthy, dangerous Muslims” into our safe, terrorism-free countries, not realising that these people, too, are fleeing from the exact same people – mass murderers, terrorists, militant jihadists, whatever you may want to call them.

There is a difference between a Syrian refugee and a Syrian member of ISIS, and while we still don’t know who’s really to blame for the Paris attacks. Making baseless assumptions and putting the blame on Muslim refugees, or just all Muslims in general, only fuels hatred and fanaticism. It makes us no different from the terrorists who, too, utilise their rage to carry out horrific atrocities against those they hate and want to annihilate from the face of the earth.

So, no, the solution is not to deport all Muslims, forbid Muslims or Muslim refugees from entering our countries, or seeing all Muslims as dangerous criminals and terrorists. It’s extremely narrow-minded and simplistic, because nothing is easier than pointing fingers and placing blame on a group of people whose religion has become notorious. There are many Muslims who have in fact shown solidarity and sympathy with the Parisians, and even condemned the attacks on social media through tweets like,

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Let’s stop pointing fingers at each other and find more intelligent and rational ways to counter such brutalities against humanity. In times like these, we need to unite, not divide, as we are all trying to fight the same enemy: terrorism. Let’s not allow them to win.

from The Express Tribune Blog http://blogs.tribune.com.pk/story/30264/parisattacks-how-social-media-took-to-anti-muslim-bigotry/

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