If there is one mistake the West loves to repeat time and again is associating every act of terrorism with religion. Immediately after the ISIS terrorists brought Paris to its knees, almost every Western newspaper and news channels was filled with discussion on how one particular religion is terrorising the world with its violent acts. The media continues to discuss how Islam is directly related to terrorism. On the other hand, while Indian Prime Minister was on a state visit to England, The Guardian newspaper chose to link the entire Hindu faith with the Taliban. This is atrocious. Is this the freedom of expression the West practices? And, who will take the moral responsibility for further antagonising the extremist forces? However, one need not be surprised because the Western media’s fascination with Islam is not new.
The cultural fissure caused by the West’s verbal violence is no less than the bloodbath practiced by ISIS. A military action could well control the violent forces to a particular geographic area, but the irresponsible usage of words is spoiling the environment in all the societies across the globe. After every terror attack the media associates a religion to the act and the later – feeling ashamed of the acts carried out in the name of religion starts giving explanations on how their faith is peaceful and terror has no relation to it.
The West seems to enjoy pressing the wrong nerves at the wrong time. The Italian newspaper ‘Libero’ chose to splash words ‘Bastardi Islamici’ (Islamic Bastards) across eight columns on the front page. And now, France is ready with a movie ‘Made In France’ on terrorism, which may very well incite religious feelings. At the height of the America’s war in Afghanistan and invasion of Iraq, ex-American president George W Bush chose to use the word ‘crusade’ and invoked religious feelings of both the Christians and Muslims world over, reminding them of the past where the two civilizations fought seven battles.
While no religion is free from the violent episodes, what right the media and the contributing authors have to associate the entire faith with violent forces like Taliban? In 2011, when Anders Breivik slaughtered 69 innocents in Norway, the Western press conveniently picked words from his ‘A European Declaration of Independence’, to prove that Breivik has no connection with Christianity. Suddenly terrorism had no religion.
So far the debate on terrorism has been seen only through the prism of religion, but it would be pertinent to address the issue only as ‘criminality and psychopathism’. And, the Western fascination of looking at the problems through the barrel of the gun and Islam’s world view through ‘the book’ needs to change soon. No doubt the solution to ISIS lies in military operations, but answers to larger questions are outside of the military doctrine and words of god.