Counter Islamophobes with a positive narrative

Khaled Almaeena

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Terrorist attacks — whether in the West or East — reflect criminal behavior and adherence to that mindset.

With every attack — unless the perpetrator has a Muslim name — no mention of his religion is ever made. However, if there is any remote link to Islam or Muslims, there is a huge outcry.

Even people like presidential hopeful Donald Trump and his former rival Ted Cruz, who have no idea of the city or country where an attack takes place, jump on the bandwagon. Not only do they condemn it but they howl and bay for Muslim blood!

After the murderous attack in Nice committed by a Tunisian, many Muslims — seculars, liberals, socialists and agnostics alike — braced “for yet another spate of attacks”.

To those in authority in the Muslim world, I say: Apply good governance, rule of law, justice and meritocracy so that no one will be disfranchised and led astray.

Khaled Almaeena

However, this time it was not the usual barrage.

The perpetrator was a drug addict who fathered a couple of children out of wedlock. He was not religious, ate pork. He suffered from depression, had alcoholic rages and prior convictions.

There were no links to any terror group. He had never gone to a mosque!

His first few victims were Muslims and he killed at random. To those in the subcontinent whose hateful tweets I endure, let me say that in the summer season Cannes and Nice become Gulf cities and the rich and the powerful can be seen walking day and night on the corniche. Everyone knows that I am sure including the killer. So religion or ideology was NEVER a motive.

The challenge

But for “ignorant, hateful and bigoted Islamophobes, it makes no difference”, as stated by Abdul Malik Mujahid, president of Sound Vision Management in Chicago. Even the Paris attackers were drug dealers, drunkards and low lives.

So how do we challenge the false narratives by every petty politician and media wannabe? Not by going into a shell, but giving our own positive narrative.

We have nothing to hide. Yes, we have criminal elements in our society, but they are far less dangerous than the devious policy makers in some countries who wage war, destroy countries and create conditions that have led to this uncertain world.

Check the Pentagon-funded research of Dr. Robert Pape which has a complete database on its website along with books, articles and graphics documenting how there were no suicide bombings in any Muslim country until the invasion of Afghanistan and the Iraq war, according to Abdul Malik Mujahid.

We reject Daesh, we reject all forms of terror, we abhor killings and by and large are a peaceful people.

And to those in authority in the Muslim world, I say: Apply good governance, rule of law, justice and meritocracy so that no one will be disfranchised and led astray.

We will not go on cowering or apologize any more.

Terrorism is an international phenomenon. It does not have a religious or national label. It is the duty of all to contain it.

Khaled Almaeena is a veteran Saudi journalist, commentator, businessman and the editor-at-large of the Saudi Gazette. Almaeena has held a broad range of positions in Saudi media for over thirty years, including CEO of a PR firm, Saudi Television news anchor, talk show host, radio announcer, lecturer and journalist. As a journalist, Almaeena has represented Saudi media at Arab summits in Baghdad, Morocco and elsewhere. In 1990, he was one of four journalists to cover the historic resumption of diplomatic ties between Saudi Arabia and Russia. He also traveled to China as part of this diplomatic mission. Almaeena's political and social columns appear regularly in Gulf News, Asharq al-Aswat, al-Eqtisadiah, Arab News, Times of Oman, Asian Age and The China Post. He can be reached at kalmaeena@saudigazette.com.sa and followed on Twitter: @KhaledAlmaeena

This article was first published in the Saudi Gazette on July 17, 2016.

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