Whether you feel affected by a spate of terrorist attacks against innocent civilians over the weekend in Kenya, Pakistan and Iraq in the name of Islam or not at all, welcome to the nightmare.
A long time ago I had a dream. It was about a bright future for the people I descend from, for my native language and for the next generations. My dream was built on a deep belief that we are people who deserve better than what was given to us by our own leaders first and by the world second. In my dream, everything was reformed: From schools curricula to civic duty, patriotism, loyalty, family values, freedoms and liberties. I saw our future in many of the books I read, the ethnic diversity of my friends, the mosaic of politics and ideologies within my circle of family and friends. Add to that people I came across all over Lebanon during a civil war that destroyed and divided the nation beyond any hope of repair. My dream could absorb various possibilities of rebellion, uprising and revolution. It also had room for diplomacy, negotiations and peacefully demanding rights. My dream was vast enough to include everyone and every ideology as long as freedom, equality and prosperity for all was the aim.
What was never in my dream is terrorism. Nor did I ever associate symbolic words such as Youth, Students, Base or God with suicide bombs or killing the innocent.
In Nairobi over the weekend at least sixty eight people were killed because they were not Muslim or could not name the mother of Prophet Mohammed as the al Qaeda-linked “Al-Shabab” demanded. In Peshawar, a suicide attack, which the Taliban-linked group “Jundullah” claimed responsibility for, killed more than 80 Christian worshippers. In Sadr City more than sixty mourners were killed at a Shiite funeral in twin suicide attacks. Yes, the same terrorism in the name of Islam is butchering people on a daily basis all over Iraq. It is also committed regularly from Damascus to Mindanao to Xinjiang. All continents are now under threat.
It is cheap to terrorize, but very expensive to prevent terrorism or fight it. It is easy to deploy terrorists, but difficult and tedious to recruit and train people to fight them and eradicate them. Terrorism is my enemy, and terrorism in the name of Islam should be treated as first enemy of Islam and every one of us. We need to acknowledge the threat and fight it head on. Otherwise, it will be the nightmare we will not wake up from any time soon!