How many Muslims do Isis, al-Qaeda, the Taliban and others need to kill for us to realise that perhaps Islam isn’t the problem?
It was the holy month of Ramadan. After a long day of fasting, she had begged her mother to take her to the popular Al-Faqma ice-cream parlour situated in Baghdad’s bustling Karrada district on Tuesday. But what had started as a joyful family night out – ended in sudden tragedy.
The call to prayer was replaced by a deafening blast that penetrated the busy street, where a car packed with explosives had been detonated. Still queuing at the counter for her ice-cream, twelve-year-old school girl Zynab Al Harbiya along with sixteen others was callously killed.
Then a similar truck bomb ripped through the heart of Kabul’s diplomatic zone in a “earthquake-like” blast described by officials as “one of the biggest” to have hit the city. At least 90 people were killed and more than 400 injured.
There will be no one minute silence to pay tribute to the victims of Isis’s latest murder rampage. No “I heart Baghdad” captions or #JesuisKabul hashtags. But the atrocities that struck both of these cities are just as devastating as the attack that recently took place in Manchester.
This week’s latest terror attacks remind us that most of Isis’s victims in fact belong to the religion it claims to represent. It is important to note that the vast majority of Muslims not only condemn Isis but bear the brunt of its brutality. There is a sad irony in how the group which has the largest number of victims of terrorism are often blamed for it.
A report by the US National Counterterrorism Center found: “In cases where the religious affiliation of terrorism casualties could be determined, Muslims suffered between 82 and 97 per cent of fatalities over the past five years.” It also states that Muslims are seven times more likely than non-Muslims to be the victims of terror.
According to the Global Terrorism Index, the country’s worst affected by terror had Muslim majority populations with Iraq having suffered the most followed by Afghanistan, Nigeria, Pakistan and Syria.
Last Friday, Jeremy Corbyn faced backlash after suggesting a link between “wars our government has supported or fought in other countries and terrorism here at home.”
Before the 2003 invasion of Iraq, intelligence warnings that military action would significantly increase the worldwide threat from terrorist groups were repeatedly overlooked by Britain. Today, the reality is much harder to ignore – both in the UK and overseas.
Whatever your standpoint, the inexplicable attacks of the past week – from Manchester to Kabul – have made this much clear: we must be brave enough to admit that the war on terror is simply not working.