Since the Charlie Hebdo shooting I’ve noticed that the reactions of many Muslims on social media usually follow the same patterns:
1-‘They’re not Muslims, (or excuse me) not real Muslims, just terrorists’.
2- ‘Don’t mix us all up’ or ‘don’t blame us for the shootings’.
3-‘We’re victims of this too, check at the Muslim policeman and deli worker who saved people’.
And my favourite:
4- ‘I shouldn’t have to condemn the shootings just because I’m a Muslim-asking me to do this is Islamophobic’
For some reason people are getting very fired up about the last point. In fact, every time an extremist Muslim does something crazy (which is more than often these days), many Muslims are not only quick to detach themselves; but are enraged whenever they’re associated with the event and asked about it. We like to talk about the notion of an Islamic community or Umma but when some of its members do something shameful we want to take zero responsibility for it as a community. Well that’s a cowardly and easy thing to do. It’s easy to dismiss Islamists as crazy, ignorant terrorists, instead of admitting that as a community we have a problem. The fact of the matter is: these terrorists are Muslims and their extremist ideology is backed by scholars, sheikhs and governments. And although on an individual level, moderate Muslims are not to blame; as a community we are to blame. Extremists don’t magically fall from the sky, they’re produced by institutions within Islamic communities around the world. It’s sad to see the word Islamophobia being casually thrown around and used as a scapegoat in the same way that anti-Semitism has been used by some in the past. We should be keen on condemning these attacks instead of feeling insulted when we’re called upon to do this by people outside the Muslim community. We can never escape the fact that as Muslims we will always be associated with the actions of other Muslims. The success of one Muslim is the success of us all and similarly the shame of one Muslim is the shame of us all. We can never tackle the issue of Islamic fundamentalism without first taking responsibility for its existence production and spread.