میں لاہور میں ہوں

The title of the this post hopefully reads “I am Lahore” in Urdu. If I’ve trusted Google Translate too much, I apologise in advance and hope an Urdu speaker will correct me.

After Paris, after Istanbul, after Brussels, another senseless massacre. Cold blooded sectarian murder of women and children on the most holy day of the Christian calendar. Another action by the nihilistic apocalyptic cult which has appropriated the symbolism and rhetoric of Islam.

It’s difficult to know how to react; this attack can be seen as part of the same global war as the attacks in Europe and the war in Syria, but its context is also the ongoing ugly sectarianism of Pakistan and the systematic persecution of that nation’s Christian minority.

The Taliban, Islamic State, Al Queda, Boko Haram and others like them are cults. It’s tempting but dangerously wrong to claim that they nothing to do with Islam. It’s hard for westerners with little knowledge of Islamic history to understand where Islam stops and these cults begin; like all cults they twist holy texts to their own ends, and ignore centuries of interpretation by wiser scholars. The best we can do is listen to wiser voices within the Islamic world. And show completely solidarity with those in the Muslim world who take a principled stand against extremism, sometimes at great personal risk.

What we can and must do is deal with our own extremists. both the obvious bigots of the far-right who want to start pogroms against Muslims, and terrorism’s useful idiots of the far-left who engage in apologia or whatabouttery out of misplaced anti-oppression dogma and post-colonial guilt.

And no, I am not going to change any of my social media avatars to a Pakistan flag. The combination of the religious symbolism on the flag and the sectarian nature of the crime makes it seem, at least for me, too disrespectful towards the victims.

Comments are disabled on this post because I don’t want to deal with the sorts of trolls it risks attracting.

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