Muslim Student Speaks out Against Prejudice Against Muslims


By Olaniyi Olayemi

The world, as it stands, is in the throes of a renaissance. A rebirth of carnage dogmas predicated on the deadly void of interpreting text without context is sweeping the globe in a burst of metastasis, and frankly, no approach has proven altogether efficacious in containing this. From Damascus to Central Africa Republic, the world is at its wit’s end as to how to take the gauntlet of religious acrimony thrown by some conscienceless revisionists. This begs the question of how relevant the United Nations has been to effecting peace and forestalling violence in the world in its decades of existence.
For the sake of clarity, i should say that extremism is not only heralded by the use of ammunition. But extremism is extremism so long hate sermons are being preached. History is replete with the many wars and bloodshed carried out rightly and wrongly in the name of religion. I should say that warfare at those times was the conventional way of adjudication. But attempts by some persons to hark back into these eras and reincarnate the ghoulish features peculiar to them are misguided. Contrary to canards been spread in some quarters that poverty is often the instigator of extremist ideas, religious fundamentalism as we have it today is the handiwork of some ideologues who are no aliens to science and technology. They are, in a manner of speaking, opportunists who use religion as a leeway to drive full throttle their odium for others. Impecuniosity cannot procure the pricey paraphernalia they use in their terrorist attacks. If at all poverty is anything related to extremism, it is in the regard of the mind. Yes, terrorists suffer from poverty of the mind.
With the 9/http://southbuffalonews.com, – and more recently – Paris and San Bernardino attacks, the ill feeling of Islamophobia became enlivened in the west. This phobia, though greatly reprehensible, is on closer examination inevitable. When some people abuse an idea for their ghoulish gratifications, it results in an insidious reorientation of that idea especially to the uninquisitive public. Islamophobia, I contend is in itself a form of extremism. Why would anybody identified with the Islamic faith be tarred with the same brush used on intolerant Muslims? I’ve met non-muslims who are intolerant of Muslims. They exculpate themselves because they don’t use arms, but are extremists themselves all the same. If it would have been wrong to brand all Christians as terrorists during the era of the crusades, why should all Muslims be branded as terrorists because of ISIS, the Taliban, Boko Haram, et al? Growing up, there was so much camaraderie amongst Christians and Muslims. They observed each others’ festivals and attended, sometimes, each others’ places of worship. But things are beginning to change. I once read the interview of one of Nigeria’s ace broadcasters, Bisi Olatilo who is a polyglot of Nigeria’s three major languages. Reminiscing on his childhood – which spanned a number of geopolitical zones thus affording him the chance to be a polyglot -, he talked on how there was unity and no one cared which religion or tribe you were from. Boko Haram has today has tainted that with acrimony steeped in the hearts of some.  In the west now, the sight of a Mohammedan or a woman with hijab unsettles some.
Muslim clerics have doubtless a lot to do in laundering  the traduced image of their religion by extremists and Islamophobes. It is a twin evil they must do their part to remedy. Misconceptions will always arise from outsiders of a belief enclave but silence towards these misconceptions goes a long way to amplifying them. Terrorists – whether potential of full-fledged – are among the people. Hence, the fight against them put at risk deaths of the guiltless civilians. But as much as governments are expected to be cautious in their fight against them, whistleblowing is as well expected from the people. Anyone suspected of peddling incendiary messages or possessing unlicensed weaponry should promptly be reported as this will reduce to the lowest ebb the possibility of attacks on the innocent. Talking of arms, America had me laughing when i read of how the Republicans and Democrats politick with gun laws from partisan perspectives. Gun laws are wrong, to say the least.
Terrorism does not die through the attrition of terrorists since it’s birthed on some ideologies. To end it then means to stop the ideology from metastasising by starving it of its fodder. The success of this depends on the people’s collective will and the government’s determination.
With millions of IDPs all over the world, we can only count our losses in tears. With children and women bearing for the most part the brunt of the attacks of extremist revisionists, we can only grouse with indignation. The walk to a terrorist-free world looks infinite and impossible because as long as man is capable of hating, the world will know no peace. It is our collective duty to ululate against the messages of hate.
Olaniyi Olayemi Luke
Olayemi wrote from Nigeria. He is a second-year student in Obafemi Awolowo University, Ife, Nigeria.
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