The ISIS-sponsored terrorist attacks on Paris of November 13, 2015 popularized two phenomena. The first one was the public singing of the French national anthem, La Marseillaise, which embodies the free human spirit, even under an environment pregnant with fear, blood, tyranny and gore. The French soccer fans were singing it while exiting the soccer stadium, where the Islamist terrorists had let loose a torrent of bloody attacks on innocent human beings. They were murdered as revenge for the French government’s air campaign in the ISIS-controlled areas of Syria. The demented soldiers of ISIS killed them because they were Christians. The unnoticed aspect of those murderous attacks was that all human beings in that stadium and elsewhere in Paris—Christians as well as Muslims—were their targets, since they had no clue about the religious identity of any of their victims.
In the aftermath of those nefarious attacks, Islam, the religion, once again became the topic of fear and Islamophobia, even on the part of those Parisians who did not have much reason to hate or fear Muslims or Islam. The Parisian Muslims—indeed the French Muslims—not only publicly condemned those attacks on their countrymen, but decided to go to the ultimate source of Islam, the Holy Quran, to publicly display the fact that what those terrorists did in the name of Islam is, in fact, unequivocally condemned by Almighty God Himself. For that purpose, Muslims displayed Verse 5:32 of the Holy Quran. That verse enjoins: “Whosever kills an innocent human being, it shall be as if he has killed all mankind and whosoever saves the life of one, it shall be as if he had saved the life of all mankind.”
But the Parisians were in no mood to listen or to consider the sanctity and power of that message, which was so willfully and brutally violated by those who spilled so much human blood in the name of Islam. The torrent of anti-Islam feelings was obvious from “a flood of violent language on Facebook to kill Muslims.” A popular Western perception in the West—which is exaggerated but is not entirely unjustified—is that Imams (prayer leaders) in a number of mosques play a crucial role in radicalizing Muslim youths, “there were calls for new scrutiny of mosques, and possibly placing restrictions on the 10,000 or more loosely indexed as positive threats to the state.” The alarming aspect of such a public utterance was that it was coming from government officials. No one was in a mood to consider the fact that, according to experts on French Muslims, “the path to radicalization more typically run through the prisons or the war in Syria, not the mosques.”
What France is experiencing is a crisis situation stemming from public killings, which have been absent in post-World War II Europe (except for the genocide of more than 8,000 Muslims in Srebrenica in 1995). This time, the victims of a massacre are Christians, and since the perpetrators of that crime were Muslims, no one pays attention to the fact that they did not really represent true Islam.
What the European authorities have to keep in mind is that European Muslims are serving as constant pawns of al-Qaida and ISIS. The incessant global radicalization campaigns of those terror groups will undoubtedly have an impact on a very tiny minority of Muslims, but around 99-plus percent of Muslims in Europe and everywhere are just as law abiding citizens as are their European counterparts. More to the point, 99-plus percent of Muslims anywhere are also firm believers of every single word of the Quranic Verse 5:32: “Whosever kills an innocent human being, it shall be as if he has killed all mankind and whosoever saves the life of one, it shall be as if he had saved the life of all mankind.”
After the Paris attack of November 13, 2015, especially the Muslim refugees in Europe who became refugees because of the nefarious war-mongering activities by ISIS and the regime of Bashar al-Assad, have also become pawns in the hands of right-wing European and American politicians who appear eager to cash in on public fear by adopting fear-mongering Islamophobic rhetoric either to win office or to remain in office. Donald Trump, one of the Republican candidates, used his usual “shoot-from-the-hip” style by stating that some mosques in the United States should be closed down. Jeb Bush and Ted Cruz, two other Republican contenders, chimed in by stating that only Christian Syrians ought to be allowed to enter the United States.
Watching Islamophobic videos and reading Islamophobic news items from Europe and America, especially the news about the growing anti-Syrian refugee sentiments of the American and European public personalities—the ISIS planners are having a field day. This is exactly what they wanted to see happen. Their thinking is that, if Islamophobia in the West were to escalate, so will their recruitment of Muslims. The most compelling countermeasure to this ISIS ploy is to fight Islamophobia in the West, not to succumb to it or be tempted by it.
As Europeans and as citizens of a democratic world, Muslims also firmly believe in the following riveting message of La Marseillaise:
Allons enfants de la Patrie, (Arise, children of the Fatherland)
Le jour de gloire est arrive! (The day of glory has arrived!)
Contre nous de la tyrannie, (Against us tyranny’s)
I am sure countless numbers of Muslims are also singing it, especially those who have transformed their pictures in the blue, white, and red of the French flag on social media.
When the United States was attacked on September 11, 2001, the French paper, Le Monde captured the world attention by popularizing the phrase: “NOUS SOMMES TOUS AMÉRICAINS,” or “We Are All Americans.” Now, not just as a matter of reciprocity, but from the bottom of our hearts, we must all declare as loudly as possible: “We are all Parisians”!!!
ISIS is indeed listening.