Jesuits are called to take up frontier missions. But if anyone is asked today to volunteer for the Middle East mission, I do not know how many will opt for it. This is because, the world has witnessed the massacre of some Christians in that part of the world, by the terrorists. It is to be noted that the attacks were carried out by the Muslim fundamentalists, namely the ISIS (Islamic state of Iraq and Syria).
The tragedy today is that many consider Muslims to be terrorists. Even an American Presidential candidate, in one of the debates, mentioned that if he was elected President of America, he would ban the entry of Muslims into America. He further justified it by saying that, it was not because of religion, but because of security. By this he means to say that the Muslims are a threat. This, for me, is unacceptable.
Blaming an entire religion for the mistakes of a minority is fallacious. More than that, before blaming the Muslims or the so called Muslim fundamentalists, one needs to remember the role played by the developed nations in promoting terrorism, especially America. Osama bin Laden, who was a nightmare to the entire world, was a product of U.S.A. When he was out from the University of Jedah, he began to organize people and raise money with the help of CIA (Central Intelligence Agency) and the U.S. Armed forces intelligent services in the 1980’s. This was in order to recruit fighters for the Afghan Mujahidin that were fighting the Soviet. This was the base for the present day, Al-Qaida. The U.S.A., also encouraged the Islamic groups from all over the world, to come to Afghanistan. It also provided $3 billion for the building up of these Islamic groups, and allowed Pakistan to decide, how the money would be spent.
It is also to be noted that the arms the ISIS uses are the Kalashnikov rifle (AK47), a Soviet and Russian made rifle, M16 rifles, Heckler and Koch MP5, a 9MM German designed gun, semi-automatic handguns, M42 rocket launcher, smoke grenades, dynamites, suicide bombs and other explosives. They also possess the latest means of communication. All these are not possible for the poor developing countries to manufacture. The explosives are illegally exported by the developed nations to these terrorists, for the sake of profit.
Muslims are blamed for terrorism. But no religion teaches violence, nor asks its adherents to kill people in the name of God. If this were true, terrorists should have spared Muslims and killed the rest. But if we notice the recent terror attacks, even the Muslim holy places have been targeted. These attacks on the innocents by the Islamic fanatics are to fulfil their motives. Above all, we witness the love, care and affection our Muslim neighbours and friends have for us. If Muslims were the cause of terrorism, we would never be alive and India would never be united in spite of diversity.
Today, this terrorism has become a global problem. I think it is not the right time for us to blame Pakistan or the other Muslim nations for terrorism. Rather, we need to be worried, that innocent youth are falling prey to this and are spoiling their future as well as destroying peace in the world.
By Sch Larren Menezes SJ