As this is being written an estimated 158 people have been murdered in Paris in the latest terrorist attack to hit France. At half past ten in the evening news reached me that there had been a number of shootings and explosions which looked to be a coördinated attack in the city. My aunt and uncle live in Paris, as do a small number of my friends, and so my first concern was to make sure they were safe. Thanks be to God they were all out of harm’s way, but other people’s loved ones were not so fortunate. The shock of tonight will shortly, for them, become a terrible grief.
First and foremost what has happened is an awful tragedy. It is this sense of tragedy that is utterly lost on the racists and bigots who relish any opportunity to spew their hateful words out against perfectly innocent people. While the horror of what was happening was sinking in I realised that social media would soon – if it hadn’t already – come alive with a rash of Islamophobic remarks and memes. They certainly did not disappoint. Without the least regard for the real shockwave of human pain that had struck the people of France, and without even paying lip service to fact checking, they started.https://twitter.com/jetpack/status/665287441645965312
At this moment in time no group has claimed responsibility for the atrocity, and neither – to the best of my knowledge – have the French authorities released any information pertaining to the background and possible motives of the terrorists, but a true racist wouldn’t let any of this get in the way. Tweets (I ‘unfriend’ racists on Facebook) were aplenty; about the incompatibility of Islam with civilised society, some were even calling for extermination and ethnic cleansing. We all knew this would happen because, in all fairness, we all suspect that the perpetrators are indeed Muslims. Yet does this suspicion lead me to fear my Muslim friends and neighbours? No! No, it doesn’t. If anything it drives me closer to them, and it enrages me to see them posting apologetic updates about being a Muslim but condemning terror. This angers me because it proves that we now live in a society where they will be victimised if they don’t show that they are good Muslims.https://twitter.com/jetpack/status/665294271746932737
None of these cyber racists show any interest in the daily, routine terrorist attacks in war-torn Syria, Iraq, or Afghanistan, or in the Western state-sponsored terror around the world. Brown people killing brown people doesn’t bother them all that much. In fact, when they do hear of it, it must give them a warm feeling inside. The simple truth is that racism and hatred come from a place of ignorance and fear. Hate doesn’t concern itself with the suffering and pain of innocent people. All that these haters do is sit about waiting for an excuse to vent their poisonous opinions, tonight they have been true to form.