Click amount to donate direct to CounterPunch
  • $25
  • $50
  • $100
  • $500
  • $other
  • use PayPal
Please Support CounterPunch’s Annual Fund Drive
We don’t run corporate ads. We don’t shake our readers down for money every month or every quarter like some other sites out there. We only ask you once a year, but when we ask we mean it. So, please, help as much as you can. We provide our site for free to all, but the bandwidth we pay to do so doesn’t come cheap. All contributions are tax-deductible.
FacebookTwitterGoogle+RedditEmail

4 Reasons Why ‘Je Suis Fatigue’ From Islamophobia

In light of the attacks in Paris, it’s hard to be a Muslim and be able to grieve for the victims of the Charlie Hebdo shooting before the global focus is shifted once again onto how you are to blame because the perpetrators who did this did it in the name of your religion.

Here are some of the reasons why moderate Muslims are emotionally and mentally exhausted by recent events.

1: Muslims need to condemn/take accountability on the killings now!

Muslims have been condemning the actions of all extremists since extremists hurt more Muslims than any other group ever. Who do you think is most impacted by the existence of Al Qaeda, Boko Haram, Somali pirates and ISIS? Predominantly Muslims, followed by ethnic minorities across the Middle East and Asia like Christians from Mosul and Yazidis, lastly followed by innocent people in the West. If anyone wants these extremists to stop, Muslims would be the FIRST to benefit from the eradication of such groups.

This everyday extremism that takes place in our third world is only newsworthy once it gets to the first world. And when it does, the media is quick to turn around and demand an apology from Muslims, as a monolithic collective group, to defend and distance ourselves from the crazies who have been hurting us.

Let’s conveniently forget the deep-seated issue of how extremism has risen from the poor foreign policy decisions of war-mongers in the US and UK, or the remnants of colonialism. We as Muslims are tasked to take full ownership of the actions of these extremists because they incorrectly call themselves Muslims.

Guilty by association, all 1.6 billion of us.

In case you missed it, newsflash – ISIS has been killing everyone, including innocent Muslims. They targeted Charlie Hebdo because they were particularly loud and obnoxious about Islam, which leads me to my next point:

2. The extremist shooters targeted Charlie Hebdo because they’re against free speech. 

The media narrative has been that the shooters’ motivation to attack Charlie Hebdo is because they oppose freedom of speech. Attacking free speech is far too broad and vague of a thing for the extremist to be protesting, but the narrative has run that way because it’s beautifully simplistic isn’t it?

Muslims benefit from freedom of speech too. There have been numerous instances where Muslims could benefit from freedom of speech or other civil rights when they’ve been detained at airports or taken to Guantanamo bay or denied access to a lawyer.

The people shot at Charlie Hebdo were innocent and didn’t deserve to die, and they also reinforced the status quo vis-a-vis Islamophobia, anti-semitism, and racism. There are no buts, there is no victim blaming, they were disrespectful and had a right to be and didn’t deserve to die for being rude. A lot of people struggle to see it this way so soon after the shootings but this is true.

They shouldn’t be held as martyrs of freedom of speech, because it’s an insult to freedom of speech and the journalists and political prisoners who have actually braved their way around governments that severely punish you for speaking against them. Charlie Hebdo wrote and drew comfortably their office in Paris, not reporting on war crimes in the third world. Even within France their satire doesn’t touch upon important social issues such as Jonathan Swift’s “A Modest Proposal” did, nor does it question political issues the way our favorite satirist Stephen Colbert from “The Colbert Report” does. Charlie Hebdo instead drew religious icons in explicitly pornographic positions and caricatured a black politician as a monkey once. How does that contribute to the noble cause of freedom of speech?

Charlie Hebdo enjoyed a great deal of freedom of speech, but I wouldn’t say that they stood for it. If anything, their content ran closer towards hate speech. Europe is experiencing a shift in right-wing politics as a wave of immigration continues in from war-torn countries, and instead of creating a dialog on how the growing multiculturalism in Paris can find harmony with each other or how the immigration issue could otherwise be resolved, the cartoonists at Charlie Hebdo instead specialized in creating Islamophobic and racist content. In many first world countries Charlie Hebdo would not be published because their content is so offensive and, frankly, vile, as it was intended to be.

3. You’re either #JeSuisCharlie or you’re #JeNeSuisPasCharlie

The discussion on the Charlie Hebdo shooting has been polarized to either you’re either #JeSuisCharlie or #JeNeSuisPasCharlie. You’re either with us or against us. You’re either pro-ISIS and against free speech or you’re pro free speech and Islamophobic/racist/xenophobic.

At a time of crisis when solidarity and understanding is more important than ever, people are forced to choose between lionizing vile cartoonists who didn’t deserve to die and being against vile cartoonist and at risk of appearing unsympathetic at their deaths.

4. You could be #JeSuisAhmed

#JeSuisAhmed started trending once news broke that one of the response officers that was killed was Muslim. As one tweet succintly read, One tweet read, “I am not Charlie, I am Ahmed the dead cop. Charlie ridiculed my faith and culture and I died defending his right to do so.” For people who still doubt that Muslims condemn violence, remember that the first officer to respond and die in defending Charlie was a Muslim. And for people who continue to doubt where Muslims stand when it comes to terrorism, remember how Malala Yousefzai survived the Taliban in order to promote education for girls. Muslims condemn terrorism because it goes against the teachings of Islam and they are often victims of it, not just in the East but also in the West. Mosques have already been attacked in France following the Charlie Hebdo incident and a leading international human rights lawyer was asked if he supports ISIS, merely because he was Muslim.

Extremism continues to be appealing to troubled people within marginalized societies precisely because of the prejudice and intolerance they face trying to go about their daily lives in Europe and the US, and the troubled ones further abroad turn to extremism after a miserable existence under drones, militarization and occupation drove them to desperate measures. Progress against terrorism will only happen once we address the root causes, and not attack people through the tenuous association of religion.

So if you meet a Muslim in the following weeks and you want to talk to them about the Charlie Hebdo shooting, start with the assumption that they’re on the same fighting side as you. Otherwise, seriously just leave Muslims alone, we have an uphill battle fight to save our reputation of 1.6 billion people away from the handful of psychotic lunatics.

Khalisah K. Stevens is an American-Malaysian living in the Middle East. A graduate with a degree in International Relations and a minor in History, she follows current events and gender issues and champions multiculturalism to create a space for third culture kids (TCKs) like her.

 

More articles by:
October 17, 2018
David N. Smith
George Orwell’s Message in a Bottle
Patrick Cockburn
When Saudi Arabia’s Credibility is Damaged, So is America’s
John Steppling
Before the Law
Frank Stricker
Wages Rising? 
James McEnteer
Larry Summers Trips Out
Muhammad Othman
What You Can Do About the Saudi Atrocities in Yemen
Binoy Kampmark
Agents of Chaos: Trump, the Federal Reserve and Andrew Jackson
Karen J. Greenberg
Justice Derailed: From Gitmo to Kavanaugh
John Feffer
Why is the Radical Right Still Winning?
Dan Corjescu
Green Tsunami in Bavaria?
Rohullah Naderi
Why Afghan Girls Are Out of School?
George Ochenski
You Have to Give Respect to Get Any, Mr. Trump
Cesar Chelala
Is China Winning the War for Africa?
Mel Gurtov
Getting Away with Murder
W. T. Whitney
Colombian Lawyer Diego Martinez Needs Solidarity Now
Dean Baker
Nothing to Brag About: Scott Walker’s Economic Record in Wisconsin:
October 16, 2018
Gregory Elich
Diplomatic Deadlock: Can U.S.-North Korea Diplomacy Survive Maximum Pressure?
Rob Seimetz
Talking About Death While In Decadence
Kent Paterson
Fifty Years of Mexican October
Robert Fantina
Trump, Iran and Sanctions
Greg Macdougall
Indigenous Suicide in Canada
Kenneth Surin
On Reading the Diaries of Tony Benn, Britain’s Greatest Labour Politician
Andrew Bacevich
Unsolicited Advice for an Undeclared Presidential Candidate: a Letter to Elizabeth Warren
Thomas Knapp
Facebook Meddles in the 2018 Midterm Elections
Muhammad Othman
Khashoggi and Demetracopoulos
Gerry Brown
Lies, Damn Lies & Statistics: How the US Weaponizes Them to Accuse  China of Debt Trap Diplomacy
Christian Ingo Lenz Dunker – Peter Lehman
The Brazilian Presidential Elections and “The Rules of The Game”
Robert Fisk
What a Forgotten Shipwreck in the Irish Sea Can Tell Us About Brexit
Martin Billheimer
Here Cochise Everywhere
David Swanson
Humanitarian Bombs
Dean Baker
The Federal Reserve is Not a Church
October 15, 2018
Rob Urie
Climate Crisis is Upon Us
Conn Hallinan
Syria’s Chessboard
Patrick Cockburn
The Saudi Atrocities in Yemen are a Worse Story Than the Disappearance of Jamal Khashoggi
Sheldon Richman
Trump’s Middle East Delusions Persist
Justin T. McPhee
Uberrima Fides? Witness K, East Timor and the Economy of Espionage
Tom Gill
Spain’s Left Turn?
Jeff Cohen
Few Democrats Offer Alternatives to War-Weary Voters
Dean Baker
Corporate Debt Scares
Gary Leupp
The Khashoggi Affair and and the Anti-Iran Axis
Russell Mokhiber
Sarah Chayes Calls on West Virginians to Write In No More Manchins
Clark T. Scott
Acclimated Behaviorisms
Kary Love
Evolution of Religion
Colin Todhunter
From GM Potatoes to Glyphosate: Regulatory Delinquency and Toxic Agriculture
Binoy Kampmark
Evacuating Nauru: Médecins Sans Frontières and Australia’s Refugee Dilemma
FacebookTwitterGoogle+RedditEmail