This article stems from the terrorist attacks that took place in Paris on Friday November 13th.
Less than ten minutes after news of the first shooting came out, an Italian populist who calls himself politician wrote a Facebook post full of hatred and intolerance towards Muslims.
This wave of hate then spread to all over the internet, and reached my Facebook wall as well when I shared some articles which were calling for tolerance and respect for Muslims.
I believe the problem with our society, whatever your religion is, is hate. We are not able to understand other peoples’ point of view, and very few of us are willing to step forward in order to find a compromise. And the misunderstandings we do not care enough to resolve are those that evolve in hate. Many would say that compromise is not the way to deal with terrorism, and I agree with that. However, neither is hate.
I will bring in an example to illustrate this: when we argue with someone, it is really easy to start screaming back at each other, louder and louder. It may go on for a few minutes, or even hours, but no solution is ever reached when both are yelling. It’s the same with terrorism. Attack in (insert name of any western world city) western world ruthlessly bombs already war-shattered middle-east countries. Then middle-east country-based terrorists find fertile ground for their hate speech, more people are radicalised in western world countries and other attacks occur.
However, I do not think is a war of civilisations. In my opinion, a conflict humanity has to fight against irrationality. Escalating the conflict is never the right thing to do, since it brings about only further intolerance and builds higher walls. It is not about our faith, our nationality or our culture. It is not about all the sufferings that have been caused and are caused in the name of religion. It is about our capacity to understand that, first of all “there is no such thing as Muslim terrorism, because real Muslims don’t kill people: there’s just terrorism”, as a Pakistani friend told me.
Secondly, to have peace, we must offer peace. We do not close our borders, turn our heads and darken our hearts. We open our houses, shine our smiles and give our love. This is the only way we can prevent people from growing terrorists.
The most effective way to get rid of hate is to get rid of prejudices, and to get rid of prejudices we must get rid of ignorance. Ignorance lies on both sides of the spectrum, and in both cases is ignorance regarding Islam. Westerners and terrorists alike do not know the Quran or otherwise they would not kill each other, as the same Pakistani friend told me.
Finally, we must not be scared because if we let fear take over lives, our lives will be over. Fear triggers hate and nothing good can come from it – least of all peace.