We Are All Hypocrites

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Here we go again. Paris is under a state of emergency due to terrorist attacks, and the world is mourning yet again. My heart should bleed, but I am completely numb by now. I don’t think there is a drop of blood left in my heart to shed for innocent victims of yet another heinous, barbaric attack.
I am a Muslim, so of course I’m expected to apologize for the actions of those who have claimed responsibility for the attacks. Their name includes the word “Islamic” which means peace to all except themselves, and so I am unwillingly lumped with them when the world talks about Islam.
What is most heartbreaking, however, is that my American brothers and sisters also expect me to answer for the acts of these terrorists. I will once again be asked “where are the moderate Muslims?” and “doesn’t the Quran allow violence?” Because you see, we are all hypocrites, because we have a double standard when it comes to Muslims. We don’t ask anyone to quote from the Gospels when a young American kills elementary school children. We don’t ask anyone to quote from the Vedas when an Indian man is killed for eating meat. We don’t even ask Israel to support its position using the Hebrew Bible. Yet here I am, writing another article after yet another horrifying act of terrorism because I need to remind the people I’ve been living with for decades that my religion does not condone acts of violence.
Yes we are all hypocrites.
What saddens me is that I know without being a psychic what kind of backlash not only Muslims but all brown people who look anything like me – Sikhs, Hindus – will face starting today. Refugees fleeing for their lives will now be turned back, Islamophobia will become stronger and more ingrained. If you were on Twitter last night, you would have seen a very ugly side of humanity. Everyone from elected officials to media personalities, even presidential hopefuls, were spouting the most racist tweets, about Muslims, about refugees, about so much that encourages diversity and equality. It is painful that we live in a world that can take advantage of a tragedy to advance political motives.
And that’s exactly what the terrorists do as well. Use tragedy to advance their objectives.
Our hypocrisy doesn’t end here. We are also sadly, unaware of what goes on in the non-white world. For instance, the night before Paris, ISIS also killed and injured hundreds in Beirut, and nobody created memes or gifs or hashtags. In October, ISIS did the same in Turkey and there was no interruption of television programming by our president to express solidarity with the Turkish people. In September our airstrikes killed hundreds of innocent civilians in a Yemenite wedding and we didn’t bat an eyelid. Are not all lives equal in the eyes of God?
Yes we are hypocrites, because we care selectively.
Nothing will change in this world – in fact things will probably get progressively worse in the coming years – if we don’t start caring about everyone, if we don’t see what others are suffering not only in Europe and North America but also in India and Syria and Nigeria and Palestine and so many other nations who are crying out.
I cry not only for the French, but also for them all. I cry for myself and my children.
Saadia Faruqi is an interfaith activist, editor of Interfaith Houston, editor-in-chief of Blue Minaret Literary Journal and author of Brick Walls: Tales of Hope & Courage from Pakistan, available from Amazon. Follow her @saadiafaruqi and on her website at www.saadiafaruqi.com.