A week ago, The Nation published an editorial that briefly caused confusion for me. The piece which was about the atrocities in Gaza noted that, ‘Muslims are losing ground, homes and lives in Palestine, Iraq, Pakistan, China, Sri Lanka. An unending list.’ What struck me as strange was the inclusion of Iraq and Pakistan in this list of countries where Muslims are facing persecution as a minority. Muslims are not a minority in Iraq and Pakistan, and those countries are not suffering from attacks by non-Muslims. The more I thought about this strange list, however, I began to see that perhaps there was a deeper and more disturbing truth that The Nation had touched on, even if it was unintentionally.
According to The Nation’s editorial:
‘Israel does not want peace; it wants total control of land. And this battle for land holds religious meaning for them, and symbolic meaning for the west. It is not just about territorial power but a grand destiny.
Replace the word ‘Israel’ with Taliban. Or al Qaeda. Or Lashkar-e-Jhangvi. Or Lashkar-e-Taiba. Or any other jihadi militant group and the sentence holds perfectly true.
In Gaza, Muslims are being slaughtered in the service of an extremist ideology. In Iraq and Pakistan, Muslims are also being slaughtered in the service of an extremist ideology. One group justifies their killings by calling it ‘Zionism’ and the other by calling it ‘Jihad’.
The slaughter of innocents in Gaza disturbs us deeply. It should. If we look deeper, though, at what is behind the atrocities, we may see an all too familiar face looking back at us. That should disturb us also.