WHEN THE MUSLIMS WAKE UP (2/100)
2. Fear of terrorism or terrorism of fear?
Since 2001, more than 18 years ago, the terrorist threat has changed our lives and societies. Organizations and small groups target innocent people, kill and terrorize people in the East and the West. People are shocked, Muslims around the world condemn, and still condemn, while Western governments impose security-related policies according to which everything becomes permissible: discriminatory profiling, citizen surveillance, the restriction of our freedoms, contempt of our private lives, etc. This new reality affects all citizens, certainly, but Muslims have become the main target since the majority of terrorists mentioned are “Muslims” …
Fear reigns. At the mercy of terrorist actions and media coverage, emotions take over; we give in and ultimately accept the draconian measures imposed by states and governments. It becomes impossible to think freely, to think against current trends, or even to think simply. The fear of terrorism is translated into a terrorism of fear, a paralysis of intelligence, an emotional colonization of minds… an intellectual terrorism which transforms us from free citizens to “victims” who can no longer act with discernment but are confined to “react” emotionally, and hastily.
Muslims are scared. Afraid to be criticized, afraid of being stigmatized. They fear power, authority, governments, the police and the media. They are even afraid of their religious community, the judgments of their co-religionists and are afraid of exclusion. They are terrified. We may well try to deny it, but unfortunately the daily manifestations of these paralyzing fears are a common occurrence. Therefore, the first step is to acknowledge that reality by remembering the words of the Prophet (PBDL): “The strong is not the one who overthrows the enemy, but the one who can control anger.” So the wisdom is not to never be angry, or under the influence of an emotion, but to know how to control it. In the same vein, Nelson Mandela rightly said that courage is not about being scared, but about controlling your fear. What is essential is the awareness of one’s emotional state and the personal and collective education to better control oneself. With patience and wisdom.
It is therefore important today that Muslims free themselves from the colonialism of emotions in general, and terrorism of fear in particular. The spiritual teachings of their religion point to this direction: identify one’s emotions, impulses and fears, analyze and control them. This long, daily, individual and collective work is imperative if they want to stop being in an exclusively reactive posture, slow to respond and always being apologetic and condemn those who, in their name, destroy. This happens as they fail to present themselves with an affirmed sense of the honour emanating from the richness of their faith and religion, as human beings who contribute, share and commit themselves to building the future for the good and best of all regardless of religion, colour and culture.
There is no denying that, in the world as it is, Muslims (men and women) are victims of discrimination, stigma and injustice. There is no denying that a wave of Islamophobia sweeps across all continents and among even westernized elites (and some governments) from predominantly Muslim countries. It’s a fact. However, there is a long way between admitting that Muslims are victims and the fact of maintaining a feeling of victimhood fed by fear, denial and justifying their irresponsible attitudes. Once again, it is a question of mastering one’s fears, of thinking freely, of taking control of oneself and to contribute to one’s history and one’s future. For finally the victim who refuses to remain in a state of passivity is no longer a victim but an agent of reform and transformation, a ray of hope, the promise of a better future. History tells us that the most positive political and social changes are made by women and men who, dominated or victims of injustice, refused the inevitability and stood up with courage. Not only to defend their unique rights but in the name of an equal humanity for all.