Manchester, Marawi, Jakarta: Moderate muslims, hear me out!
The bomb incident at Manchester shook me, so hard and so cold especially I myself will be travelling to a concert in August. The tragedy of the Bataclan where thousands of music lovers were trapped in a concert venue with guns blazing everywhere and Eagles of Death Metal vocalist Jesse Hughes were hunted like dogs still haunts me and millions of other concert-goers around the world to this day. The Manchester incident felt like an unneeded sequel to a terrifying horror film that should’ve never went into production. It breaks my heart to know that kids and teens will never get to fully enjoy the magical experience of a musical show without worrying about when’s the next bomb going to be detonated, or will they arrive safely home to share the experience with their mums, but that’s the current reality that we live in.
Not even a day went by for us to properly digest the terrible news from the UK, and we were shaken again by the siege of Marawi. A large group of Maute extremists, who are firm supporters of ISIS, invaded the city of Marawi after government troops raided one of their safehouses somewhere around the city. A number of casualties were reported including local policemen, civilians, and terrorists themselves with rumors of Maute-led jailbreak and civilian massacres waiting to be verified and plucked by international media houses.
Just a few hours later, South East Asia was rocked again by another attack, this time in Kampung Melayu, Jakarta. In one of the most densely muslim-dominated city in the world, two suicide bombers decided to take the lives of three police officers alongside their own at a usually-congested bus stop in East Jakarta.
In times of grief, messages of love and peace were shared around on social media. All the #PrayForManchester, #PrayForJakarta hashtags came out nicely with a picture of crying children or scenic photos of waterfall and forests someone stole from Google images. What pissed me off the most, however, was when I saw moderate muslims who claim to be openly against any form of terrorism posting tweets like ‘Terrorism has no religion’ or ‘Not all muslims are like terrorists’.
If you’re one of those people, you might say: ‘What’s wrong with that? If islam is the religion of terrorism, explain the KKK?’ or ‘I’m a muslim, and I don’t go around killing people’. Well, all I can is that all of you are hypocrites. That’s right, downright, coward-ass, ignorant hypocrites who didn’t do jack shit to avoid this from happening. You knew something was wrong from beginning. The moment you realized your Ustaz or Ustazahs had contradicting opinions on Jihad, something was fishy. You suspected something when you heard your parents say things about non-muslims going to hell, your teachers saying that islam will ‘rise again one day’, and your friends commenting on tragedies much like the ones we experienced recently by saying that ‘they deserved it’. You felt something was terribly wrong, but all you did was stay silent — and now you post quotes on social media like you didn’t see this coming?
Muslims grew up with many, many versions of Islam. Some of us grew up with Syiah teachings and some Sunni. Beyond the Sunni teachings, there are other small Imams that we fanatically follow as well and guess what? The islamic community is a broken circle, torn by greedy men, power-crazy leaders and a group of believers who will get butthurt the moment you believe something slightly different than the rest of them.
Islam used to be so simple, but because we get so fucking cranky when others don’t follow our way life, things got violent — and it got worse in the past few days. Can you imagine, 100,000 muslims left their wives and families to march angrily in the middle of Jakarta just because one person supposedly said something against what they believe in. 100,000 able-bodied men, showcasing anger and hatred due to a misconstrued statement that could have been discussed over a cup of coffee. And the other couple of million who watched this unfold through their smartphones? Well some of us said something, at least. Most of us were busy tweeting Fattah Amin memes, and at the same time, telling yourself that it ‘isn’t your problem’. I hate to burst your bubble, but this is now your problem.
Are you offended that I called you a hypocrite? Well you should. I yearn for that fury even if it comes from the debris of your privileged ego. But you should be more offended that someone, somewhere is planning to smear your name, your father’s name, and the harmony of your community by killing people in public. You should be offended that these people are using your religion as a reason to blow themselves up to hell. You should be offended that because of these selfish pricks, people may not let you in their country because you have a muslim name. You should be offended, and I want you to feel offended.
We need to stop looking at our non-muslim countrymen as ‘kafir’ or the enemy and unite with them instead to counter the terrorism problem. We need to stop fighting with our own brothers on whether Sunni or Syiah is the right wing in Islam to fuel the self-elected ‘martyrs’. We have to stop thinking about ourselves and start thinking about others because the world isn’t just about what revolves around Islam, and we have to accept that. We have to vote out politicians who intend to use religion to win elections, to cause disharmony, and to divide us and our countrymen.
We have a huge problem in our hands but how can we solve it, if we don’t acknowledge it? It’s time to stop extremism , and hell, as much as it sounds unconvincing, but it should and will only start with the full involvement of moderate muslims.