Muslims are not the reason for Paris attacks, is the message that seems to pervade social media two days after the French capital had to endure one of its worst nightmares of the post-war era.
Paris was attacked with a spate of bombings and shootings on the night of November 13, killing more than 120 people and injuring many others, in an ordeal that lasted for more than an hour.
In the aftermath of Paris attacks, people all around the world and belonging to all faiths, have reiterated that the blame for growing international conflict cannot be put squarely on Muslims, or people belonging to the Islamic faith.
A day after ISIS took responsibility for the ghastly attacks on Paris, ordinary Muslims feared a backlash, fueled by Islamophobia and misinformation. However, as is often the case, racial bigotry got a slap on its face when people took to social media to express not only their solidarity with the victims of Paris attacks, but also their solidarity with Muslims.
A Facebook post from Leigh Matthews, a graphic designer from Wales, in which he urged people to restrain from condemning ordinary Muslims for the attacks, has had more than 50,000 shares. In the post, Matthews asked people not to give in to racial prejudice in harrowing times such as these. His full post reads as follows.
“Can I just take this opportunity to remind you all that Mr Mohammed from your local shop wasn’t involved in last nights attacks on Paris. Neither was Mrs Azeer from Lloyds Bank or her family. Kamal from down the road has never been to Paris, and his brother Abdul, the taxi driver, was watching the news in horror along with everyone else.
“The people behind last night’s attacks weren’t Muslims, they were extremists using religion as vindication for their cowardice. Please, I urge each and everyone of you, do not lay blame at the doors of the innocent just because of what they believe. They are no more to blame for Paris than you are.
“We are one world and one family. Treat each other as such, because what happened last night should bring us closer together, not make us lash out against our neighbours for a perceived religion affiliation.”
As could be expected, people took warmly to the advice shared by Matthews, with many of them thanking him for putting it out so eloquently.
In another show of solidarity with Muslims, people all around the world began sharing videos, emphasizing the fact that it is people who are violent or peace-loving, and not their religions.
One such video, which was posted on YouTube a year ago, started doing the rounds of the web tunnels again. Having been viewed more than two million times on its second run, the video shows religious scholar Reza Aslan answer the questions posed by two CNN presenters, pertaining to Bill Maher’s commentary about Islamic violence and oppression.
Yesterday, as Metro reports, the hashtags #terrorismhasnoreligion and #NotInMyName started trending on Twitter as people tried to counter any backlash against ordinary people. Celebrities and ordinary citizens all took to social media to express their solidarity with the victims of Paris attacks, as well as Muslims all around the world.
Muslim leaders around the world also condemned the attacks, calling ISIS’ actions as the worst form of fundamentalism the world has seen for a long time.
The Telegraph reported Iran’s president Hassan Rouhani condemning the attacks, calling them a “crime against humanity.” Joko Widodo, the leader of Indonesia, the nation with the most number of Muslims in the world, said his nation “condemns the violence that took place in Paris.” Finally, the largest Muslim group in the United States, CAIR, immediately condemned the Paris attacks after the news first broke out, adding, “These savage and despicable attacks on civilians, whether they occur in Paris, Beirut or any other city, are outrageous and without justification.”
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