By Adnan Khan
On Friday 26 June 2015 the world witnessed multiple attacks on three different continents, with many deaths in each case. These attacks continue to receive wall-to-wall global media coverage. The first attack was at an industrial plant outside Lyon, France. It is alleged the attackers tried to spark an explosion and reports continue to emerge of the beheading of one of the employees. Next came the report of a suicide bombing at a mosque in Kuwait City that has reportedly killed around 25 people. Last came the deadliest attack of the day, in which over 30 people, mostly British tourists, were killed when gunmen opened fire at two seaside resorts in Tunisia.
Information continues to trickle out and it is common for both the security agencies, local police and local reporters to jump to conclusions and report facts which later prove to be inaccurate and incorrect. We do not have all the information, neither does the global media, so we should be careful not to jump to conclusions as initial reports of such attacks are usually misleading and media outlets look to present the more shocking aspects. The motivations, sanity and capabilities of those involved remain unknown.
That said, Islam does not permit the indiscriminate slaughter of people and these attacks are unjustifiable. These victims, whether Muslims or not, is a violation of the Shariah, whatever ones grievances, and something expressly forbidden by Islamic texts.
Like we do not possess the full facts neither does the media and politicians who have once again fallen over themselves to use the attacks to justify their agenda. In France the mere presence of a flag has qualified it as a terrorist attack. Whilst in Kuwait and Tunisia, the fact these are Muslim lands, this has been sufficient to award them with the label of terrorism. Just last week 21-year-old Dylann Roof walked into a South Carolina Church and in cold blood mowed down 9 people from the congregation, but the media and US officials went out of their way to present this as a hate crime, by a deranged individual. So much so that the local police chief confirmed Roof was treated to a meal at Burger King when he complained of hunger. In France Francois Hollande called the attack a terrorist attack, despite any evidence and before any facts had been confirmed.
The media has also been very selective in how it reports such events and this should be kept in mind in the days that will follow. On the day of the attacks, none of the media reported the guilty verdict handed down to Zack Davies, who used a machete and hammer in revenge attack for what happened to Fusilier Lee Rigby in a north Wales Tesco store.
As Muslims we should not be pushed to accept blame for the actions of some, in order to appease those who want Muslims to apologise for everything. No one has asked the white population for condemnations of the US for the actions of Dylann Roof. Similarly there has been no calls for the UK’s white, male community to condemn and apologize for the actions of Zack Davies, who nearly decapitated a victims arm in a Tesco store.
We should also be alert to attempts by politicians who will look to use these attacks to further their own agenda. David Cameron did this immediately at a summit in Brussels before any facts had bene confirmed. David Camron argued: “Perhaps more important than anything is this poisonous, radical narrative that is turning so many young minds. We have to combat it with everything we have.” How he knew young minds conducted the attacks, remains to be seen. Indeed we will see more calls for draconian legislation in the UK even though these attacks took place thousands of miles away from Britain.
Despite what has taken place we do need to place it in its correct context. “Terror” attacks remain a low level threat to people, despite the media hysteria and statements by government officials. According to Europol data “religiously/Islamist” inspired attacks account for less than 1% of terrorism related cases in Europe. And in America, Americans are more likey to be killed by lightening strikes than by a terrorist attack.