I, as a cricket enthusiast, especially as an enthusiast of Indo-Pak matches, and that too during the ICC Champions Trophy, have always been an advocate of watching such cricket matches with a whole group of cricket enthusiasts ranging from young ones to senior citizens – their love for cricket hasn’t dwindled with the withering age.
Apart from being an advocate of watching such cricket matches along with my mohalladars (people living in the same area or community), I am also quite fond of having commentary on such cricket matches from senior citizens in my mohalla.
One of such senior citizens is Uncle Fayaz who has been famous for his tabsaras (commentaries) in my mohalla for his wide ranging commentaries on sports, and also on political and socio-economic stuff from Indian subcontinent’s partition to 1965 War with India. He often gets updates of international affairs from me.
Uncle Fayaz is a man aged between sixty and seventy. He is a philanthropist who has been assisting financially different impoverished families living in different slums in Lahore and in interior Punjab.
Uncle Fayaz’s slightly bald head, his domed forehead, the smiling mouth that displays a very white set of false teeth, all seem to speak of a benevolent personality.
After witnessing, along with my mohalladars on a huge screen in our community park, the spectacular victory of Pakistan in the ICC Champions Trophy final against India, everyone heaved a sigh of relief considering the many consecutive defeats Pakistan has suffered in the past at the hands of Indian cricket team.
But what we didn’t know was that while we were indulging in an immensely euphoric state upon winning the match against Indians, someone was falling victim to an Islamophobic attack in London – the same city where the Champions Trophy final was played – and a girl was being beaten to death in Virginia,USA for wearing a headscarf.
We didn’t know either that there will be trepidation in Brussels owing to an abortive attempt to cause massive destruction at its central station and a police officer will be stabbed at an airport in Michigan, US by a so called representative of Islam who fallaciously thought that yelling “Allahu Akbar” before killing innocent people will secure him a place in jannah (heaven in Arabic) with alluring hoors (virgins in Paradise).
The day after the match in the evening I sat with Uncle Fayaz for his post-match commentary, but I wasn’t able to attentively listen to his post-match commentary, as in the morning I had seen news of how an Islamophobe drove a van into some Londoner Muslims who were leaving a mosque in Finsbury Park.
I was preoccupied with that horrible occurrence in London when Uncle Fayaz was sharing his post-match commentary. So he suddenly asked me whether I was listening to his comments on Virat Kohli and Sarfaraz or if I was daydreaming.
I suddenly got myself detached for a while from my preoccupation with London attack, and I then told Uncle Fayaz that I was thinking about the Islamophobic attack in London and was wondering how Muslims would have been feeling insecure – ironically in liberal and democratic Western societies which have been championing human rights and liberties of all sorts for many decades.
It’s quite excruciating that the same societies, which have been seen as bastions of liberty and harmony by many, are increasingly becoming vulnerable to communal tensions and racial and religious antagonism.
While I was telling Uncle Fayaz about the London attack, my speech was cut short by him as he interrupted me by grimly uttering lyrics from an old Indian song Kitna Badal Gaya Insaan (humans have changed so much).
Uncle told me how twenty years ago things were not as bad as they are today, with indifference and utter disregard for love and affection for each other on the rise.
He said people have totally forgotten that they are made by the same Creator and these differences between them have been aggravated by those who knew nothing in this world except their self-interest and are blinded by relentless fanaticism.
Uncle Fayaz told me how he spent fourteen years in London when he was a youngster and he went there in search for a lucrative job opportunity from Pakistan and that he was never racially profiled at airports or racially attacked.
He said even white Christians or goras used to celebrate Eid with him and he used to make samosas for them which they really liked.
But now things have been changing, as seeds of reckless and relentless racial and religious antagonism have been sowed by fanatics like ISIS and right-wing Christian extremists.
Uncle argued how such people – whether there are these ISIS terrorists or far-right Christian radicals and White supremacists in Western societies – suffer from an ontological lack, so great that no human emotion can possibly fill it, and that such people are manifestations of Lucifer who defied God and vowed to engage in a metaphysical war with everything virtuous.
Uncle argued how these wrongdoers, from those maligning Islam by massacring innocent people and those maligning democratic and liberal ideals of western civilization by launching their Islamophobic or xenophobic raids, have a depraved solipsistic view which entails in itself no care for the well being and existence of “others”.
I told Uncle how right-wing extremists in UK have reacted to this London Islamophobic attack by urging UK’s non-Muslim citizens to “rise up and cast Islam out of their country”.
There have also been numerous Islamophobic tweets and Facebook statuses circulating around the social media calling for a holy war, or crusade, to expel Muslims out of the UK.
Many with a KKK mentality have glorified Darren Osborne – the Islamophobe who drove his van into Muslim pedestrians and injured eight of them while critically wounding one who later succumbed to his injuries.
It has also been argued by many renowned British political analysts that online right wing extremist groups such as Tell Mama are also playing a pivotal role in fomenting a tide of Islamophobia across Europe and radicalizing individuals like Darren Osborne to drive the “others” (Muslims particularly) out of their white Christian homelands.
British Prime Minister Theresa May revealed in a statement that police declared the attack a terrorist incident within eight minutes of the incident. Darren Osborne was initially charged with attempted murder, but was later charged for “the commission, preparation or instigation of terrorism” including murder and attempted murder.
Osborne allegedly turned against Muslims in the wake of the June 2017 London Bridge attack by ISIS terrorists.
He allegedly hired a van in the vicinity of Cardiff, several days before the attack and slept in it during the night.
On the eve of the attack he drove to London, four hour driving distance, prior to carrying out the attack.
Witnesses from a local Cardiff pub said the suspect had announced the day before the attack his intention to attack the Al-Quds day march which was held earlier on the day of the attack.
It’s not the first instance of Islamophobic violence in UK; such dreadful incidents have occurred previously too like when in 2013 Pavlo Lapshyn (a Ukrainian white supremacist) targeted several mosques in England during Ramadan.
Islamophobia has escalated throughout the Europe on a rapid pace after an increase in ISIS attacks across Europe, from Berlin Christmas market truck attack in December 2016 to a suicide bombing at an Ariana Grande concert in Manchester in May, 2017.
The dread and trepidation didn’t stop, and after this heinous Islamophobic attack in London there were also reports of another Islamophobic attack from Virginia, USA.
A girl wearing a headscarf named Nabra was beaten to death by an Islamophobe sharing the same white supremacist radical Christian mentality as Darren Osborne or any KKK (Ku Klux Klan) member determined to erode the diverse, liberal and democratic fundamentals and features of their Western societies through their medieval era crusader mentality which is as devastating and cataclysmic as the jihadist mentality of Islamic terrorist groups like ISIS or Al-Qaeda.
But terror didn’t stop here and it continued to inflict fear upon people.Now its agents changed and these were now not the Islamophobes from London and Virginia but Islamic terrorists who carried out attacks at Brussels Central Station and at an airport in Flint,Michigan,USA.
On Tuesday, 20th June a failed bombing occurred at Brussels Central Station, which Belgian authorities called a terrorist attack after the suspect was neutralized by Belgian soldiers.
A “small explosion” went off in the Brussels’ transportation hub around 8:30 p.m. No civilians were injured in the attack, which set off panic as people ran for cover.
A witness who was inside the station during the incident said he heard two explosions and then heard someone yell “Allahu Akbar” twice followed by heavy gunfire.
This incident came more than a year after suicide bombers who had affiliations with ISIS and other radical Islamic outfits detonated several explosions in the Brussels Airport and a nearby Metro station. The attack killed 31 people and wounded hundreds.
Then on Wednesday, 21st June a radical Islamic terrorist Amor Ftouhi stabbed a police officer named Lt. Jeff Neville with a roughly 12-inch knife that had an 8-inch serrated blade at Bishop International Airport in Flint, Michigan, USA.
Airport authorities told the media that the attacker yelled “Allahu Akbar”(God is Great) before stabbing the police officer, same as another Islamic terrorist did one day earlier while carrying out an attack at Brussels’ Central Station.
According to witnesses there at airport, Ftouhi after stabbing Neville continued to yell “Allah” several times followed by something similar to “you have killed people in Syria, Iraq and Afghanistan, and we are all going to die”.
Ftouhi was a Canadian citizen from Montreal of Tunisian origin. Neville was later in stable condition and he recovered from his injuries after given proper medication at time and Ftouhi was finally successfully handcuffed by Chief Chris Miller of the Bishop Airport Safety Division. The airport, which was evacuated, later reopened.
It’s visible from all the above mentioned incidents that how both Islamic terrorism and right wing white supremacist Christian terrorism, and all other forms of extremism, are calamitous to the interests of whole humanity.
They are also damaging for the interests of ardent believers and vehement advocates of communal and interracial and inter-religious harmony like Uncle Fayaz and I who are now fed up of all the carnage and massacres which are being carried out in the name of a religion – or in the name of a race – or on the basis of someone’s skin colour– or someone’s different headgear.
Uncle Fayaz rightly said that these terrorists and bellicose hatemongers are manifestations and incarnations of Lucifer who after disobeying God engaged in a metaphysical war with everything which is virtuous, and the human soul – which is essentially virtuous but Lucifer keeps on mounting efforts to adulterate human soul with malice and vicious plans.
I hope that soon we will be able to get rid of such manifestations of Lucifer that have tried to widen the gulf between civilizations and have tried to fill hearts with venomous religious and racial antagonism.
Both Islamic terrorists and radical Christians are not true representatives of their respective religions and they are just maligning their religions and not showcasing the true teachings of their great religions, which ask to spread peace and love.
This is showcased by Muslims like Abdul-Sattar Edhi and Christians like Mother Teresa who have opened their arms to embrace everyone and to assist everyone regardless of their religion, race or skin colour.