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Terrorism Has No Religion

Al-Chourouk, Tunisia, March 16

When someone seeks revenge, they usually do so in a state of anger and confusion. But this wasn’t the case in the New Zealand massacre that took place last week. There, in a sacred place of worship, a cold-blooded terrorist killed dozens of Muslims during their Friday prayers, while live-streaming footage of the attack and playing music. The attacker acted with confidence and conviction, as if he was carrying out a sacred national duty. He carefully documented the moment of descent from his car, the loading of the weapons, and the shooting at innocent worshippers. In short, this far-right Australian justified his murder as a retaliatioin against what he called the invaders, the immigrants, and in response to terrorist attacks by members of Muslim communities in Europe in recent years. The statements left behind the terrorist, both on paper and on social media, leave no doubt about the fact that this heinous attack was the result of a carefully thought-out process of deep reflection. What can we understand from this? We understand that terrorism really has no religion. Often, when we make this statement out loud, explaining that Muslims are as much victims of Islamic terrorism as non-Muslims, we are accused of manipulating the truth and lying. European elites often rush to place the blame back on us, Muslims, as a whole. But reality has clearly shown this week that terrorism really has no religion. What we can understand from this is that terrorism must be studied, understood, and fought from outside the lens of religions. This is a much deeper problem in our societies. New Zealand is one of the most developed countries in the world. It has a great education system, economic freedom and lack of corruption. Yet all of this did not prevent a massacre from happening. The term “terrorism” must be decoupled from the term “Islam.” Politicians must stop defaming our religion and spreading Islamophobia around the world. They are dehumanizing ordinary people. They are creating false representations. Above all, they are providing ammunition for extreme right-wing parties, which have launched a war on Muslim immigrants and portrayed them as barbarians. Strangely, this dehumanizing rhetoric is flourishing throughout Europe, the so-called cradle of modernity and human rights. After clamping down on immigrants and after turning a blind eye to the rhetoric of right-wing parties, which openly incite hatred against Muslims and minority communities, the Western world managed to produce terrorists of its own. –Amal Moussa