OPINION | Time to Retire ‘Terror Has No Religion’ Cliché
Police officers stand near Notre Dame church, where a knife attack took place, in Nice, France October 29, 2020. REUTERS/Eric Gaillard/Pool
India has been facing the menace of terrorism unleashed by the Islamic Republic of Pakistan since 1980. Liberal political parties across the world kept the fake narrative of ‘terror has no religion’ on to appease Muslim and liberal vote banks in their respective countries. The western world kept preaching to India on secularism and restraint, till they faced it themselves.
The UK faced it in 2005 during the central London bombings, which targeted civilians using the public transport system during morning rush hour. Three bombs went off on three separate trains on the London Underground and one on a double-decker bus. Fifty-two other people were killed and around 700 more were injured.
The US faced terrorism in 2011 during the heinous 9/11 attacks by Al-Qaeda, in which nearly 3,000 people died.
France, with Europe's largest Muslim community, has suffered a string of militant attacks in recent years. The November 2015 attack in Paris killed 130 people. The 2016 attack in Nice killed 86 when a militant drove a truck through a seafront crowd celebrating Bastille Day.
In January 2015, two Muslim brothers, Saïd and Chérif Kouachi, forced their way into the offices of the French satirical weekly newspaper Charlie Hebdo in Paris. Armed with rifles and other weapons, they killed 12 people and injured 11 others. And recently, in October, a teacher was beheaded by Islamists for showing cartoons of Prophet Mohammed, and three people were mercilessly beheaded in a church in Nice this week.
French President Emmanuel Macron has become the second global leader after Donald Trump to speak against ‘Islamic Terrorism’ without mincing words. He called the recent incidents "Islamist terrorist attack". He expressed his government’s resolution to fight “Islamist extremism” in France, and defended the freedom to publish cartoons that others consider to be offensive.
Liberal parties and liberal news publications across the world may want to close their eyes and will try hard to dilute this heinous crime in France by parroting the clichéd expression that ‘terrorism has no religion’. But Macron has made it amply clear this time, it’s all about the religion. It’s significant to note that Macron expressed support of the entire nation to Catholics in France and elsewhere.
Global community is also divided in its support or criticism of Macron’s stand based on which religion is predominant in their country. Trump, who has been quite vocal against radical Islam in last four years, tweeted: “Our hearts are with the people of France. America stands with our oldest Ally in this fight. These Radical Islamic terrorist attacks must stop immediately. No country, France or otherwise can long put up with it!”
UK Prime Minister Boris Johnson declared that his country “stands steadfastly with France against terror and intolerance”. German Chancellor Angela Merkel also expressed solidarity with France.
European Commission president Ursula von der Leyen tweeted: “I condemn the heinous and brutal attack that has just taken place in Nice and I wholeheartedly support France. My thoughts are with the victims of this heinous act. The whole of Europe stands in solidarity with France. We remain united and determined in the face of barbarism and fanaticism.”
However, several leaders of Muslim-majority countries, including Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan and Pakistani Prime Minister Imran Khan, as well as Chechen leader Ramzan Kadyrov, accused Macron and France of Islamophobia.
Even in India, parties like the Congress and NCP are going against Macron. Arif Masood of the Congress led a rally against the French president in Iqbal Maidan in Bhopal. Majeed Memon of the NCP justified the terror attacks in France as a reactionary act by the people of Muslim faith and openly threatened people of even worse consequences.
But India under the leadership of PM Narendra Modi did not dilly dally its stand on terror attacks in France and expressed strong support to Paris. Now the western countries facing terrorism find India as a natural ally in their fight towards as India is the oldest victim of cross-border terrorism.
This is the time for all of us to ask global Muslim scholars and intellectuals how they would want to engage with non-believers in Islam in today’s globalised world with people of multiple faiths.
This is the perfect time for victim countries to come together and expose the global terror sympathizers in politics and move together to make the world a peaceful place to live in.