Ethno-religious blame game not solution to threat of terrorism Featured

Every time a terrorist attack occurs in our country, the misdeed is swiftly-- even though incorrectly-- associated with Islam and Muslims, particularly the ethnic Somalis

in North Eastern region. A reflection of our reaction as a society to the April 02, Al Shabaab attack on the Garissa University College, which horrendously
claimed148 innocent lives of students, and left scores of others wounded has contributed to victimization of Somalis and the wider Muslim community in Kenya as well as hate speech against Muslims. Muslims are predominantly a pacific lot. The Holy Qur’an beautifully points out that whoever slays an innocent soul “it is as if he had killed mankind entirely. And whoever saves one- it is as if he had saved mankind entirely” (5:32)

Regarding freedom and protection of faith, the noble Qur’an states: “There is no compulsion in religion” (2:256) To lump the Muslim community in general together with a bunch of terrorists, who are hell-bent on killing and maiming innocent people for their own egotistical and political reasons is prejudicial to our national unity as a tapestry nation. Reckless and alienating outbursts from politicians, ordinary citizen and sometimes the clergy in the wake of a terror attack in the country also feeds to Al Shabaab’s gory agenda of despoiling our country through an inter-religious violence pitting Muslims against Christians. This is dangerous. Adherents of these two faiths in the country have since time immemorial lived side by side. They also share a unique and timeless bond of affection through a number of divine instructions and the story of Jesus and his virtuous mother Mary (Maryam)

For instance, Muslims are told in the Glorious Qur’an: “ You will find the nearest of them in affection to the believers those who say, “ We are Christians”. That is because among them are priests and monks and because they are not arrogant” (5:82) Al Shabaab is simply interested in breaking this sacred harmony between Muslims and Christians. For them, Islam; if I paraphrase the words of anti-terrorism expert Bill Durudie, is just a motif- not the motive of their violence. Both in Kenya and Somalia, the terrorist group has killed many Muslim scholars, ordinary citizens and security agents. It is also reported that the outfit has recruited a multi-ethnic and religious membership to execute their dastardly mission. Therefore, there is no need for internal divisions in tackling this societal scourge. Both our strength and success lies in our oneness as Kenyans. Let us always remember the wise words of Thomas Carlyle: “Men’s heart sought not to be set against one another, but with one another and all against evil only. This umma cannot be left to institutions and leaders alone: We must all play our roles

Hassan Malik Muhammad is a young Kenyan
Muslim journalist based in Garissa town.

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