Sunday witnessed yet another incident of mass shooting at a gay nightclub in Orlando in Florida, where at least 50 people were left dead.
The episode reignited the never-ending debate on America’s tryst with its chronic gun culture and its sheer inability to make any tangible progress on gun control.
This is now being described as the worst incident of mass shooting in the US history.
The suspected killer is believed to be 29-year-old Omar Mateen, a man of Afghan descent.
As expected, my Facebook timeline too flooded with gems pouring in from the usual suspects informing us how Islam, err radical Islam as the term is being coined now (you learn a new thing every day) was responsible for Florida’s ghastly act.
I was almost tempted to respond to one of these apologetic posts by a Muslim friend on Facebook. I wanted to ask him if, by reacting and linking a criminal act to Islamic teaching, wasn’t he becoming yet another apologist?
What happened in Orlando on Sunday was utterly despicable but there’s nothing surprising about mass shootings in the US. If it was so rare, there wouldn’t be any debate on the need to take firm steps in checking the gun culture.
Here are my questions to my apologist friends and also those, who can’t hide their ‘excitement’ every time the perpetrator of the crime has a Muslim name.
Which cult was responsible for UCLA shooting recently when a student called Mainak Sarkar went on a shooting spree killing two professors? Did we simply forget to explore the role of radical Hinduism in his case or it simply didn’t suit the hate narrative borne out of the deep-rooted bigotry for these ‘experts?’
Who were responsible for Colorado Springs shooting that killed several people in November 2015? Which religion did the perpetrator Robert Lewis Dear practice. Was there a possibility that Lewis too may have drawn inspiration from radical Christianity or extremist Aethism? (North America has a sizeable aethist population)
Did anybody care to check and criticise the religious teachings that may have influenced Christopher Sean Harper-Mercer that may have led him to commit atrocity in October 2015, leaving 9 people dead at Umpqua Community College?
Did these self-proclaimed experts constantly suffering from Islamophobia and desperate to vilify Islam for any such atrocities have their social media account hacked when a man called Dylann Storm Roof was charged with murder of 9 people in June 2015 as he mounted a brutal attack on a historic black church in Charleston, South Carolina. He was not described as terrorist or even a criminal. According to local police report, he was described as a ‘White Supremacist.’
In May 2014, a 22-year-old man called Elliot Rodger killed six people before shooting himself in Isla Vista, California.
Did we care to check his religious belief, which could have potentially played a key role as he went on to plan his attack for over a year? Yes, according to Santa Barbara County Sheriff’s Office, Rodger meticulously planned his deadly attack on the Isla Vista community for more than a year, spending thousands of dollars in order to arm and train himself to kill as many people as possible.
In September 2013, Aaron Alexis, a Navy contractor and former Navy enlisted man, shot and killed 12 people and engaged police in a running firefight through the sprawling Washington Navy Yard.
Ever wondered why if he too may have fallen victim to radical Christianity to commit such horrific act. I bet the selective amnesia of our Islamophobes masquerading as experts wouldn’t let them remember that these incidents took place on the same US soil.
And the list is endless. Of course there were instances where perpetrators had Muslim names too. But when they did, we didn’t need to remind them to remind us the sudden danger Islam posed to human civilisation? Of course, that danger suddenly evaporated with every subsequent terror attack caused by non-Muslims. On occasions when likes of Alexis or Rodger caused bloodshed, the world in general and America in particular was a perfect place to live in.
Why is it a fault of the entire religion and community if the killer is a Muslim, but it’s always confined to or termed as an instance of hate crime or a mere outcome of mental derangement if, let’s say, the killers are known as Mainak Sarkar, Aaron Alexis or Elliot Rodger.
Why are Muslims expected to distance themselves from the killer everytime a lunatic bearing Muslim names commits such horrific acts?
Yes, Islam is held guilty because the dreaded terror organisation IS has claimed Mateen was one its foot soldiers. Blaming Islam for the act of terror outfit IS is as legitimate as holding Hinduism responsible for the acts of Hindu Sena or Vishwa Hindu Parishad and blaming the whole of Christianity for the shenanigans of Lord Resistance Army in Uganda.
Muslims from around the world must be expected to condemn if Charlie Hebdo is attacked. But, the role of Christianity must never be discussed or referred to while discussing Anders Behring Breivik, who was responsible for killing 77 people in Norway in 2011.
Likewise, the terror suddenly has no religion when, closer home, suspects like Aseemanad, Sadhvi Pragya, Colonel Purohit and their ilk are placed in the dock for their alleged involvements in equally ghastly acts of terror in Malegaon or Samjhauta Express?
What happened in Orlando was a simple case of a mentally unstable xenophobe with twisted views about LGBT community committing atrocious act. His ex-wife corroborates that Mateen was anything but religious.
But if you still are keen to demand apology and condemnation from Muslims across the globe for Orlando shooting, then backdate your memory and ask yourself why the same idea didn’t strike you on other occasions when the perpetrators bore non-Muslim names and innocent people still lost their lives.
P.S. My use of terms radical Hinduism or radical Christianity was primarily to make a argument in response to the frequent use of radical Islam. It was to demolish the concocted theory that religion propagates violence. Religions don’t teach violence, we human beings do. Period!