Updated: 11:13am 14 November 2015
Last nights attacks on various locations in and around Paris, including the Bataclan arts centre, Stade de France, and a restaurant in the 10th arrondissement have left 127 people dead and around 180 injured. We now know that Islamic State have claimed responsibility for the attacks, stating that they were carried out in response to air strikes.
Last nights events are nothing short of terrifying and horrific, and the fact that anyone has to die at the hands of terrorism is appalling in itself. Yet some people are ignoring the initial horrors at hand and instead choosing to focus on a wider debate of how terrorism links to the current refugee crisis in Europe. The fact that Islamic State carried out the attacks has led some people to, by an illogical extension, blame the general Muslim population. There have been reports that terrorist organisations such as ISIS are infiltrating the journeys of genuine refugees in order to bring its members to carry out terrorist attacks in Europe, and this has ultimately led some to adopt an anti-refugee stance.
Twitter is by no means the place to expect coherent and logical arguments to stem from, but it’s really outdone itself tonight. A number of people have taken to social media to air their views, one tweet reading “the events in Paris are extremely worrying but again this will only happen again until the EU stops this migrant crisis”, another “most Muslims love what happened in Paris tonight”.
To link refugees to the terrorist attacks is undeniably short-sighted and racist. It’s an argument that fails to take into account the very reason why refugees are fleeing their home countries in the first place; to escape the oppressive regimes that are destroying the lives of people who live there. To suggest that borders should be closed is to say that nobody deserves to strive for a better life for themselves and their families. To bring refugees down to the same level of terrorists is to essentially dehumanise them. These are real people with the most horrific and unimaginable problems, yet there are some who are willing to let them suffer under regimes, all under a false pretense of combatting terrorism. I say false pretense because it’s hard to believe that the people who hold these views have any real or logical opinion on how to combat terrorism, but they use it to try and justify their racism and xenophobia.
Following the Charlie Hebdo attacks, a backlash against the general Muslim population forced Muslims to actively condemn the attack, having being lumped in the same category as terrorists. When the KKK march through the streets of small town America (yes, it still happens), nobody takes to social media to blame all white people for their actions. Yet when a terrorist attack occurs, people everywhere jump to condemn Islam, thus spreading unnecessary fear; which is ultimately one of the primary goals of terrorists themselves. It’s honestly so sad that Muslims feel as though they have to actively come out and condemn an attack that has absolutely no relation to them or their religion. Yet if they simply stay silent, they’re faced with unapologetic Islamophobia that holds them responsible for the actions of a few.
A tragedy such as this one is not a platform for you to promote your political views, your racism and more specifically your Islamophobia and anti-refugee stance. Terrorism has no religion. Refugees are not your scapegoats.