MY VIEWS ON TERROR Q5:32

Assalaam alaikum, dear readers.

I often do not comment much on the ‘terrorist’ attacks around the world because, I am tired of them. Opinions abound on the topic and I have read articles which echo my thoughts on the topic so I did not want to over-flog the topic. The attacks are becoming rampant with even more lone wolf attacks than before, and the effect on the ummah is painful.

Also, I have not particularly commented on these incidents myself because the information we receive from the media and online is always skewed and flawed, unreliable and seeking to enforce some propaganda (like the linking of the Paris bombing with the Syrian refugees). How can one make an accurate analysis when our sources of information are filled with spurious tales?

Every time I hear of an attack, my heart sinks. My heart always goes out to all the people involved: the victims and their families as well as the killers’ families and the Muslims living in that vicinity. The most recent one in San Bernardino was first brought to my attention by a fellow blogger, Anum. At first, I was filled with trepidation when she mentioned the gun attacks but to be honest, I was secretly relieved there was no mention of terrorists/Muslims…but not for long.

When terrorism began, the group (not neccessarily Muslim) responsible for the attack would release a video of the attack before and during the occurrence. It lent an air of authenticity to the group. Even after the video, the FBI/CIA would analyse if it was genuine or not. Now, all it takes is simply to claim responsibility which personally, I feel anyone can do. Isn’t the game about how many people they can kill in order to strike fear into people’s hearts? Even before the group claims responsibility, the media is already insinuating that it’s Muslims. Heck, even we Muslims think it is one of us!

It is true that most of the terrorists bear Muslim names but surely, if there is anything I have learnt about international (even domestic) politics, it is that things are not always what they seem. However, taking these issues at face value, it seems that the vast majority of these suicide bombers are youngsters, fiery with a new sense of misguided purpose, sorely deficient in sound Islamic knowledge, eager to be brainwashed. For most of the Muslims reading this, terrorism does not make any sense in whatever shape or form but our youth are voluntarily being recruited into ISIS and other terror groups.

‘Abdullah [bin Mas’ud](R.A.) narrated that the Messenger of Allah (s.a.w) said:
“In the end of time there will come a people young in years, foolish in minds, reciting the Qur’an which will not go beyond their throats, uttering sayings from the best of creatures, going through the religion as an arrow goes through the target.”- Jami` at-Tirmidhi 2188

The onus is on me as a mother to ensure that those I can directly influence – my children- are positively impacted with the proper Islamic knowledge. (How can they imbibe this knowledge if we the parents do not possess them?) They should integrate with the community, both Muslim and non-Muslim and know that hurting people is unacceptable. Terrorism is abhorrent, plain and simple. No matter how thinly we slice it, no matter how different we may seem, we all bleed the same and hurt when our loved ones are taken from us. They must grow to understand that oftentimes, Islam is rational and if something doesn’t seem right, they should trust their instincts and verify further before they act. They must inculcate strong values which would guide them throughout life and help them manage pressures from their peers.

 

Jabir (R.A.) reported: The Messenger of Allah, peace and blessings be upon him, said, “Verily, Iblees placed his throne over the water and then he sends out his troops. The nearest to him are the greatest at causing tribulations. One of them says: I have done this and this. Iblees says: You have done nothing. Another says: I did not leave this person until I caused discord between him and his wife. Iblees says: You have done well.
– Sahih Muslim 2813

Finally, it is my opinion that a sound home with the parents working together as good role models for children will help to stem the tide of terrorism. Every organization needs foot soldiers, recruits and (with the exception of those being forced into these groups) our children should not be susceptible to such brainwashing if we have done our jobs well as parents, with Allah’s Help. We need to sit up and pay attention to the plethora of information available out there corrupting our children. We must censor the TV and the computer; know their friends and visit their schools. It is not enough to be out there raking in the money. It is not all about the money. Children need love, attention, approval. If they get it from you, they are less likely to seek it elsewhere.

In as much as we are having more Islamophobic attacks, we should stand strong, educate people about Islam through our actions and perfect our character. This too shall pass. There was a time in history when Jews were heavily persecuted by the Nazis; Japanese were also humiliated in the US following the Pearl Harbour bombing; Blacks did not have the opportunities they now have in Europe and the US. It is our turn now and in sha Allah, it will become a fading memory. Nothing ever lasts forever. Unfortunately, this may mean that another religion or race may be picked on.

May Allah help us all.

SUICIDAL BIKER Q4:93

I was at a bus park in one of the suburbs of Abuja, Nigeria two days ago. I hopped into the front seat of one of the vehicles going to my destination and buckled my seat belt. Some passengers entered behind me as we waited for the bus to fill before we could proceed.

Suddenly, there was a biker leaning back on his motorcycle with his arms outstretched and his legs stretched out on the asphalt while his bike spun with him as the pivot. This was right in the middle of a highway, and with no protective gear! We stared at the daredevil biker with our jaws slack and wondered if he was suicidal. Promptly, he jumped back on the motorcycle and sped away in the direction of traffic and was back riding while standing with his arms in the air, weaving through oncoming traffic like he was hoping for someone to hit him! We concluded he was definitely high on hard drugs!


Motorcycle stunts and impromptu car races are not uncommon in Abuja but they often occur in the main city itself. The publicity is done underground and yields a crowd of onlookers and kids of wealthy Nigerians showing off their cars and skills. It is not usually done for a fee or prize, but just for recognition.

Then he was back again – leaning back onto his bike as it made a couple more revolutions! Traffic grounded to a halt as no one wanted to be responsible for killing a suicidal biker. People began to gather and our bewilderment began to morph into uncertainty then fear. A female passenger echoed our thoughts aloud:

‘I hope this boy is not one of those Boko Haram people! Where is the driver o! I am not comfortable with this crowd!’

The once-quiet bus became noisy as we all began to talk and voice our concerns. You see, there have been recent bomb blasts in the suburbs of Abuja, Nigeria. The most recent happened a mere five days ago and these attacks are often in crowded places like markets and bus parks/terminals. The ISIS-affiliated Boko Haram claimed responsibility for these attacks.

We feared this young man could be a Boko Haram recruit seeking to detonate his bomb when the crowd had swelled to an appreciable size. As we talked, I unbuckled my seat belt and opened the door. One cannot be too careful, I reasoned. I might even have walked away but what guarantee was there that I was going somewhere safe? Passengers, irrespective of religion, began to yell for the driver to get us out of the park.

Meanwhile, the biker continued his stunts until an elderly (Muslim) man took a swipe at the young man as he whizzed carelessly past. I saw the biker park his motorcycle ahead and saunter back toward the senior citizen! The bus hushed temporarily. Was he going to fight the old man? We did not want to find out. The crowd was swelling considerably but we were able to see the two men talking.

Suddenly, news filtered to us that the biker was trying to sell CDs showcasing his skills. There was a huge sigh of relief but nonetheless, we couldn’t wait to get out of there. Some motor park touts took his CDs from vehicle to vehicle marketing them but none of us bought them. I wondered briefly if they would give him the proceeds from selling his merchandise.

As we finally left the park, everyone settled back into their shells and we barely spoke till we arrived at our destination.
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As usual, many equate the terrorists with Islam and paint all Muslims with the same brush. This shouldn’t be so. The vast majority of Muslims are simple humans with the same simple needs and a desire for safety for ourselves and our families.

This makes me so grateful for the narrative Brandon Stanton of Humans of New York is sharing on Facebook – the lives of the victims of terrorism, their fears, their tears and the utter desperation that moves that to migrate. May Allah reward him and his progeny with immense good for shining the spotlight on the brave victims, not the terrorising cowards!