After the 9/11 attacks in America and the 7/7 attacks in London, fear gave way to prejudice among many. Though 1.6 billion Muslims live in this world, some people believe they are collectively responsible for the actions of a few. Now, after Paris, this disconnect has reemerged in the debate over whether to close borders to Syrian refugees.
“It should not be generalized to be the entire group of people any more than a young man shooting a church in Charleston shouldn’t be representative of the entire United States,” Ellen Beattie of the International Rescue Committee said.
There is such tremendous pressure for Muslims to denounce terrorism that the Muslim Council of Britain, representing 300 affiliated mosques, schools and other associations, paid for a full-page ad in British newspapers this week affirming that the community was unified in its condemnation.
“The advert aims to highlight how Muslims everywhere have consistently and without reservation spoken out against terror,” Dr Shuja Shafi, Secretary General of the Muslim Council of Britain said in a statement. “It is important that our fellow Britons hear this message loudly and clearly.”
Terrorist groups like the Islamic State have killed many more Muslims than non-Muslims. The day before the Paris attacks, it targeted and killed Shiite Muslims in dual suicide bombings in Beirut. ISIS has killed thousands of Muslims and displaced millions more in the Middle East.
To counter the prejudice, Muslims have sought inspiring ways to show solidarity with Paris. Imams paid their respects near the Bataclan theater memorials in Paris and led the crowds in singing the French national anthem. Many Muslims around the world, including in Syria, have held vigils. And Muslim individuals have been using the hashtag #NotInMyName on Twitter in an effort to show Islam and extremist terrorism are not one in the same.