I am in utter shock.
This is unbelievable.
My prayers go out to the families.
To the fanatics –
You may use the word Islam,
but the religion is one of peace and love,
and denounces your heresy.
God bring justice to these foul men,
and bring warmness and comfort to those in pain.
To the people –
My request is that you look beyond the media,
and the rhetoric, and discern the politics & fear.
I will not let politicians or lone fanatics taint my religion,
nor will I allow anybody to interpret my religion so as to justify hate or violence.
I won’t allow them to strike fear into our hearts.
We are Muslims.
We are LGBT.
We are together.
Stand up now!
I am devastated. God help the victims’ families. How dare they taint this religion in this fashion. How dare they.
It is so hard to focus on this subject objectively because of the emotions but I refuse to allow fear to dictate our perception. Since my childhood I have been focused on politics of the Middle East, but never did I think it would hit home. Now, more than ever, it is time for Muslims to both speak out against fanaticism within our religion but also against the hypocritical foreign policies of countries which have practically funded these misfits for the past century.
What is the real cause of this?
Gun Control? Islamic fascism? Post-colonialism? Lone wolf? Conspiracy?
All of these are equally possible but what is certain is that certain reforms are necessary, both in domestic and foreign sectors.
The true perpetrators, are those political elites who encourage the bigotry, whether it is white supremacy or Islamic fanaticism.
The ones at the top who encourage and incite this violence, directly and indirectly.
Because even if these are lone wolf attacks, they become vulnerable and confirmed by ideologies propagated by elites.
I speak of political elites in the Middle East as much as those in America; the likes of Donald Trump and the King of Saudi Arabia who together encourage fanatical ideologies that encourage hate and provoke retaliation.
America’s history in the Middle East has provoked fanaticism against it.
That is plain and simple – something it must learn to accept – just like defeat in Vietnam – just like the USSR’s failure in Afghanistan.
There is a reason why this type of violence is becoming a norm both inside the Middle East and inside of Europe and inside of America.
The facts are there.
American and European imperialism has caused instability. The exporting of democracy abroad ignores cultural sensitivities. Furthermore, American and European countries are themselves exhibiting a democratic crisis – the forces of fascism and socialism are fighting one another relentlessly.
America struggles to balance its individualistic obsessions with moral imperatives, which is ironic because it is one of the few countries in the world that actually professes a self-righteous position of morality.
There are many historical wrongs committed by other countries too – America is not the sole blame for the rise in Islamic fundamentalism. But seeing as how it is the world-leader, it practically dictates the policies and trajectories of all its allies. Countries like Turkey, Saudi Arabia, Qatar – organizations like al Qaeda, ISIS, Muslim Brotherhood & Hamas – these are all pseudo-Islamic entities, financed by America and Europe in their mission to destabilize and divide the Middle East as well as Central Asia – a continuation of the Sykes-Picot Agreement.
I will argue that even Hitler’s fascism, and modern Jewish fascism, together, are incited by imperialism. Even communism, was a form of balancing against the imperial overreach of America and Europe.
While the world struggles between cultural relativism and imperialism, America struggles between capitalism and democracy.
These two conflicts are playing out today, but the arena has become the whole world, thanks to globalization.
The question is, who is on whose side, and who will win?
Finally, as a member of the Muslim community, while I blame pseudo-Islamic political elites for propagating extreme brands of Islam as well as foreign imperialists for enabling it – I would like to address the extreme interpretation itself and forever relinquish its attempt to certify itself as a credible voice for Islam. Extremism has no place in Islam. Neither does hate nor violence. No matter the scripture; no matter the interpretation; there is no justification for fanaticism.
While the tradition of liberal Islam is scarce it does exist. But a history of colonialism and the overall sensitivity of the Middle East culturally has made it even more of a scarcity. But even Muslims can appreciate the liberalism and democracy of the West while still enjoying their religious traditions.
The issue is not Islam. The issue is one of domestic and international policy.
Once this can be fully recognized, all veils can be lifted, and tragedy will be less commonplace.
When we realize that the media’s biased coverage entertains illusions – once we see that political agendas are fulfilled by un-democratic tendencies here in the US – we can begin to see through the lies.
I pray for my city of Orlando. I pray that we all recover. I pray for the LGBT community.
Will we learn to overcome these barriers to human decency?