Dr. Abid Hussain

Christchurch carnage must silence the breed of Islam-bashers

March 17, 2019

TEHRAN - Daoud Nabi was the first victim of the Christchurch mosque shootings on Friday. He was standing at the door when the terrorist barged inside Masjid Al Noor mosque brandishing his semi-automatic weapon.

“Salam brother,” Nabi greeted the attacker, which was overheard on the Facebook live stream of the shooting. Those were his last words. In a split second, the elderly man was lying in a pool of blood.

Nabi is being hailed as a hero on social media for conveying the real message of his religion – peace – to his assassin. In two words, he demolished the myth of Islam being the ‘religion of terrorism’.

The horrific attacks at two mosques, which claimed the lives of 49 people, the worst ever mass shootings in the history of New Zealand, have busted many a myths.

The critics of Islam have often proclaimed that every Muslim is not a terrorist but every terrorist is a Muslim. The message they have sought to convey is that there is something inherently wrong with Islam which sanctions the macabre acts of terrorism and violence.

These mass shootings in Christchurch have completely smashed that irrational theory. Didn’t the Christ ask you to put forth another cheek if someone slapped you? So if Christianity is a religion of peace why did a Christian man commit this heinous crime? The answer is simple. It has nothing to do with religion.

But it has everything to do with white supremacist terrorism, which is no different from ISIS or Taliban or those hate-mongering Hindutva groups in India.

The enemies of Islam have been unfairly accusing and maligning the religion of Islam. Islam does not have a copyright on terrorism as you wanted the world to believe. No religion promotes or propagates terrorism but unfortunately there are terrorists and extremists found in every religion, in every school of thought.

Be it the Hindutva terrorists in India, the Buddhist terrorists in Myanmar, the Christian terrorists in West or the Muslim terrorists in the Middle East.

This horrific event should silence all those who have been desperately trying to project Islam as a religion of violence and labeling all Muslims as terrorists.

It is time to stop ascribing religion as a motivation for such mindless acts of terrorism. Terrorist is simply a terrorist. Terms like Islamist terrorist, Christian terrorist, Hindu terrorist are oxymorons. It is never wise to give religious legitimacy to terrorists by prefixing their religious affiliation. Terrorism has no religion even if the terrorist invokes religious justification for his unjustifiable actions.

Just like this event should stop Islam-bashers from equating Islam with terrorism, it should also put an end to myriad hypocrisies.

Whenever a person affiliated to Islam would carry out such an act he would immediately be dubbed an ‘Islamist’. But if it was carried out by, say a white supremacist, who also happened to be a Christian, they would at once invoke the mental illness theory. It has happened many times in the past.

This blatant hypocrisy should end. The person who carried out this heinous crime was in no way mentally sick. He was fully aware of what he was doing. He had meticulously planned it, and he had chosen his targets carefully and was aware of the consequences of his actions.

Another important point is about the capital punishment for such horrendous crimes. New Zealand government abolished the capital punishment in 1960s. Now this person who is responsible for killing 50 innocent people and destroying 50 families with a meticulously planned act of terrorism and with full knowledge of its consequences at the most will spend rest of his life peacefully in a jail with best possible facilities at his disposal.

Question is not whether capital punishment would have prevented him from doing it. It might not have acted as a deterrent and in many cases it does not but it is not primarily a matter of deterrence, it is a matter of justice.

The old father whose young son was killed by this terrorist will now have to mourn all his life while the perpetrator will be enjoying lavish facilities behind the bars. He does not have to work now and gets everything on platter. He is now a lifetime VIP. That’s precisely why it is a mockery of justice.

It is true that there is a possibility of the misuse of capital punishment and there is a problem of uncertainty and the fact that once implemented it can't be reversed but that in no way justifies an absolute abolition of capital punishment.

In cases like these, capital punishment is fully justified and should be applied to serve justice. If you have killed someone deliberately then you don't deserve to live either. As the Holy Quran has beautifully mentioned: “In Qisas, there is life for you”.

My heart bleeds for the victims of this massacre. They were ordinary people like us who just wanted to live peacefully. They had simply gone to a mosque to pray, to connect with their Creator, to ask simple things from Him. In the end they ended up losing their lives because of one white supremacist terrorist and his warped worldview inspired from the likes of Donald Trump and Candace Owens.

They say if you are killed unjustly you die a martyr and all these victims are indeed martyrs. They have got an exalted place in heaven. But they need justice too. And we need to be their voice now.

Writer is a medical practitioner and commentator based in Indian-controlled Kashmir.

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