On Arab indifference toward the Peshawar massacre

The stark truth is that those who kill Muslims are themselves Muslims

Diana Moukalled
Published: Updated:
Enable Read mode
100% Font Size

When news of the school massacre in Pakistan’s Peshawar first surfaced as breaking news, it appeared exaggerated and unreal. One’s mind is sometimes incapable of believing or rather rejects immediately recognizing that these are facts and that someone has really decided it’s time to collectively murder children in cold blood.

The students of the Peshawar military-run school were not coincidentally targeted. They did not get killed during a battle among fighters but they were the target of the attack and they were thus pursued in their classrooms, under their seats where they tried to hide.

Did the madmen of the Taliban movement really think that murdering these little souls is their way to heaven?
Is there anything worse for a parent to realize that their children’s most important gathering place - i.e. the school - has become their little ones’ graveyard?

Hours passed

The first few minutes and then hours passed as we waited for Arab media outlets to follow up on the Peshawar tragedy considering it’s firstly a humane catastrophe and secondly a Muslim one and it’s thus worthy of dedicating all live feed to report on it.


For some reason, the horrible tragedy in Peshawar failed to interest the Arab media and public opinion as it should have

Diana Moukalled

However, this didn’t happen. We were rather disappointed by the Arabic coverage of the crime and we switched to following up on the incident on the world’s different satellite channels.

Yes, the news was broadcast in Arab news segments, dailies and websites and the degree of interest in the news varied. But what appeared like the general pattern is that the tragedy did not take the attention which such a crime with this amount of drama deserves. It wasn’t only media outlets who didn’t perform their duties on the matter but the general Arab and Muslim public opinion was very cold regarding incident, not to mention lazy and numb. Hashtags on Twitter, for example, did not include the Peshawar school within the trending hashtags. The souls of 150 children killed in the name of Islam did not become material for Arab discussion even as the world all stood in solidarity, dedicated its media outlets coverage to the news and offered its condolences. Some even began to criticize the Western media’s interest in the case and categorized this coverage as targeting Islam.

Horrible tragedy

For some reason, the horrible tragedy of Peshawar students whom the Taliban criminals in Pakistan killed failed to interest the Arab media and public opinion as it should have.

Of course, the reason is not necessarily linked to the massacre but the problem lies in that deep defect within us. We scream and lose our temper over a caricature here and a song there. We, despite this, were not outraged that an organization like Taliban killed dozens of children.

What interprets our weak interest in this tragedy is tragic on its own. There are Muslims who killed Muslims so there’s nothing that interests us here. The murderer must not be Muslim in order for us to be outraged. Perhaps if the murderer had been Muslim and the victims were non-Muslims, we would’ve cared about what happened to Yazidi children or about what happened in the Russian school of Beslan ten years ago.

The stark truth is that those who kill Muslims are themselves Muslims. This is an ironic fact that does not seem to upset us!

This article was first published in Ahsarq al-Awsat on December 20, 2014.


Diana Moukalled is the Web Editor at the Lebanon-based Future Television and was the Production & Programming Manager with at the channel. Previously, she worked there as Editor in Chief, Producer and Presenter of “Bilayan al Mujaradah,” a documentary that covers hot zones in the Arab world and elsewhere, News and war correspondent and Local news correspondent. She currently writes a regular column in AlSharq AlAwsat. She also wrote for Al-Hayat Newspaper and Al-Wasat Magazine, besides producing news bulletins and documentaries for Reuters TV. She can be found on Twitter: @dianamoukalled.

Disclaimer: Views expressed by writers in this section are their own and do not reflect Al Arabiya English's point-of-view.
Top Content Trending