Rather than asking Muslims to condemn “terrorism,” the Pope should ask the whole world to condemn all forms of violence

The BBC has reported: “Pope Francis has urged Muslim leaders around the world to condemn terrorism carried out in the name of Islam. Speaking on board a flight back to Rome, the Pope said that he understood the harm caused by the stereotype that linked Islam with terrorism. He said a ‘global condemnation’ of the violence would help the majority of Muslims dispel this stereotype. Pope Francis was returning from a three-day visit to Turkey. The pontiff denounced people who say that ‘all Muslims are terrorists’. ‘As we cannot say that all Christians are fundamentalists,’ he said.”

While I have no reasons to doubt the good intentions of the Pope, I have many reasons to question his knowledge and his selective appeal. It appears certain that the Pope, like most other inhabitants of the current world, is exposed to continuous, motivated propaganda carried out by the West through international media, and he has never stopped to have a closer look at the propaganda. He seems to have accepted the perspective through which one can see “terrorism” as the only vile category of violence and “Muslim terrorism” as the only condemnable category of “terrorism”.  Why can people like him not recognise the fact that violence committed in any name is bad, and our response to violence should be proportional to its magnitude rather than its denomination.

The Western media (and also the Indian media under the influence of both the West and Hindutva propagandists) focuses only on a certain category of violence, which of course suits its designs and its ideological propensities. For them, only individual beheadings are a condemnable form of violence and not mass murder through bombs; the former is the method of “them” (Muslim terrorists) and the latter is the method of “Us” (the West). It is another matter that the beheadings kill a single person while the bombings have eliminated hundreds of thousands. Bombs also become condemnable when bombs of lesser intensity are used by non-Western, non-Israeli killers, but large-scale, carpet bombing by American, Israeli and British forces are immensely acceptable.  

The Pope also ignores the fact that at the global level, violence as a whole is a predominantly Western monopoly and terrorism as a whole is also a largely non-Muslim phenomenon. Al-Qaeda killed some 6,000 innocent people, but America’s “war against terror” killed more than 2 million innocent Muslims. The ISIS, also a creation of the West, which entered Iraq after its war against Syrian government failed despite huge support of Western weaponry, which was later used in Iraq.

Terrorism in India, mainly by non-Muslims has killed about 4,0000 in last two decades, and Tamil terrorism in Sri Lanka killed more than a hundred thousand in the last three decades. America, France, Britain and Russia have been responsible, directly or indirectly, for the overwhelming majority of deaths in wars and civil wars in the last century. And, of course, they are also the countries with maximum deaths in murders, suicides and induced abortions. More than 180 million people lost lives in wars (largely Westens or West-imposed) in the last century and more than 1 billion children have been murdered through abortions in last 20 years. The number of deaths in murders has also been more than 10 million.

However, it is not the magnitude of violence but the group behind the violence that attracts international attention. Any violence that can be linked to the West and their ideologies makes no news. But as soon as there is violence somewhere which can be made to appear linked to forces or the ideologies opposed to them, it is attacked with all their weapons.

The Pope should have better said that every act of violence and innocent death, whoever the victim, whoever the aggressor, whatever the place, whatever the time, whatever the method and whatever the motive should be condemned by the whole world. He should have recognised the fact that the genesis of terrorism has several factors, and one major factor is the role of West in Muslim countries, their support to brutal regimes in the region, and the deaths caused by Western forces in the Islamic world. He should state that almost all acts of violence are devilish, and while terrorist attacks are committed by lesser villains, wars and aerial bombings are conducted by the bigger genocidal criminals. It would have certainly sounded better if he had appealed to the West to stop intervening in Muslim countries.

The Pope should also pause to answer the question that if the Middle Eastern acts of violence can be linked to Islam or Muslims, why Western violence cannot be linked to Christianity and Christians. My appeal to the Pope is the same as has been to the pontiffs and protagonists of all religions of the world: recognise the fact that the real threat to the world comes not from any religion but the forces of irreligion led by the West. And I will like to inform the Christian pontiff that we Muslims differentiate between the West and Christianity despite the fact that Christianity is the dominant religion in the West.

 The author is Delhi-based thinker and writer with over a dozen books including his latest Qur’anic Paradigm of Sciences & Society (First Vol: Health).
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