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Saturday, July 16, 2005

Hijacked Hopes [1]

Keeping up to date with current events makes one increasingly dejected.

What is happening to our world?

Needing to write about it makes me feel as though my blog has been hijacked by all the madness.

The London Bombers

It makes my blood run cold to learn from Scotland Yard's ongoing investigation into the bombers that they were typically low-key, suburban, "ordinary" people...somebody's neighbour, somebody's teacher, somebody's old school friend.

The police are still refusing to call these brainwashed men suicide bombers, as there is evidence to suggest that they were tricked into thinking that they would not be giving up their lives. They thought the bombs would go off later than planned. So it seems that the murderers might also have been murdered by whoever masterminded the bombings.

How is it that such extremism could fester in young minds that grew up in the tolerant society of England? Didn't they hesistate even once on their long journey from West Yorkshire to London via Luton, changing the lives of Londoners forever?

Yet, we must not only ask how in such a situation, but more importantly we must ask why.

Inner Scrutiny

Everyone involved must be ruthlessly honest. It's very easy to lay the blame for this at somebody else's door, it's harder to shoulder the responsibility yourself.

I believe in fighting for a cause and laying down my own life. But I only have the right to give my own life, not to take that of others, especially those completely innocent.

If someone's idealogy can stomach kiling women and children, then I stop listening.

It's true that the disillusionment Muslims feel towards the West's actions over Iraq, shifting the focus on the war on terror to a personal struggle for Iraq is very evident. Even though Tony Blair's government refuses to accept a connection between Iraq and the London bombings, others think differently. "If Blair's government don't think that Iraq has a role to play in this atrocity," one British commentator suggests, "well then they're welcome to continue their tenure in cloud cuckoo land. Meanwhile the rest of us will clear-up after this disaster of failed foreign policy."

It's possibly also true to say that Falluja and the torture of Iraqi civilians at the hands of occupying soldiers documented in living colour cannot but help recruit more such bombers. You can imagine Islamic extremists using such photos on their own "Uncle Sam" type propaganda posters.

Nevertheless it would still be far too easy to suggest that Britain should have never invited this kind of response by joining America in the invasion of Iraq.

Because even though young Pakistani and Arab Muslims, male and female, are being forced to become politicized at a very early age due to world events, Muslims, like anyone else, can respond in more reasonable ways.

Most know that the best way to voice dissent is peacefully or democratically - through the right to vote. They are able to hold a difference of opinion with the government without subscribing to the actions of a few extremists. It should come as no surprise that a Muslim has the capacity to disagree with Blair, while at the same time denouncing terrorists.

But Muslims must put themselves to scrutiny before they scrutinize the world politics of others, too. Moderate Muslims must not go into denial and continually seen to be hiding behind the banner that "Islam is a religion of peace". Go tell that to the terrorists, it's obvious they have no idea.

Assuming we're serious that Islam means peace, then every Islamic leader must denounce the London terrorist explosions in unambiguous and unqualified terms.

The Muslim should be first to denounce the extremists, as they hit the Muslim doubly hard. They are being used and abused in the terrorists' agenda, which ultimately has no basis in religion or principle. The terrorists have no God but chaos. It's definitely not Allah.

They've insulted and injured Islam far more deeply than any Dutch documentary or British writer could ever do.

Because now, as a Turkish blogger so eloquently put it, "...Muslims today are not only guilty until proven innocent but also a permanent suspect after proven innocent."

In the same vein, the British government must realise that this isn't a clash of civilisations or religion. The terrorists are not attacking the British way of life. Even though they may be following a terrible one, these extremists are not against an ideal, but against governments in power.

After all, the bombers' brutal acts did not discriminate, as the victims of the London bombings show. Their actions did not segregate the Muslim from the Christian, when they began their deadly journey to create havoc on the world.

Plus we have to avoid the danger of using these deaths as political tools, which so far the British government has avoided successfully. There are monumentally good reasons to avoid turning sympathy for dead civilians anywhere into silence on vicious foreign policy decisions.

Let at least all the souls lost so far rest in peace on the point that we will continue to criticise ourselves and our governments, because it is the only way to forge a better future in a better world.

If we strive for anything less, then all these deaths will have been for nothing.

Read part two here.

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