Wednesday, Oct 22, 2014

Uproar over Gaza, silence over ISIS: Why is the Muslim ‘brotherhood’ not uniform across conflicts?

israel-L Palestinian boys with Hamas supporters hold toy guns and shout slogans to support people in Gaza and Palestinian negotiators in Cairo. (Source: AP)
Written by Irena Akbar | New Delhi | Posted: August 18, 2014 8:34 am | Updated: August 18, 2014 9:10 am

Last month, my Facebook news feed was flooded with images of broken houses, wailing mothers and dead children of Gaza. Friends were sharing news reports of how Israelis were celebrating this bloodbath. Many of them even replaced their profile or cover picture with banners “Save Gaza”/ “Save Palestine”.

I, too, was affected by the disturbing reports of Israel’s massive crackdown on Gaza civilians, and for some days, even I uploaded a “Save Gaza” banner as my Facebook cover picture.

With the Israel-Gaza conflict now waning, fewer pictures of devastated Gazan families now show up on my news feed. But as one gory episode in the Middle East fades into the background, another emerges. That of the Iraq and Syria-based Sunni militant group ISIS’s massacre of minority Yazidis, Shias and Christians in Iraq.

But the same friends who were crying “death of humanity” over Israel’s ruthlessness are deafeningly silent over the ISIS’s barbarism. A disclaimer here: Much before the ISIS showed its ugliest face so far in its mistreatment of Iraq’s minorities, I had stated on my Facebook wall that as a Sunni Muslim, I abhor the group and all that they declare or do. That was when the group had declared a so-called Islamic caliphate. In the wake of the Yazidi massacre, I again made clear my hatred for ISIS on Facebook.

Of course, I am no holier than thou. There are other Sunni Muslims who have condemned the ISIS. But sadly, the vast majority of them are mum. There are no street protests condemning the ISIS, nor sharing of pictures in solidarity with the victims of ISIS’s terror on my Facebook news feed.

Considering that the ISIS’s attacks on Yazidis and Christians comes immediately after Israel’s attacks on Gazans, this contrast in Sunni Muslims’ reactions appears even starker. Just because one of your own does an evil act, it’s not that bad, huh? If someone else does it, it’s really bad? And if that someone is a Jew supported by an American, it’s worse? These are some questions that Sunni Muslims, or Muslims in general, need to ask themselves.

But first, let’s get some historical background to this. The Israel-Palestine conflict is rooted in history and religion, and most Muslims believe that Israelis have wrongfully and forcefully taken away Palestinians’ land with the support and aid of the Americans. Palestine-Israel even hosts Islam’s third holiest shrine, the Masjid Al-Aqsa in Jerusalem. The anti-Americanism among Muslims dates to the beginnings of American support for Israel, in the 1940s. So, when trouble erupts in Gaza, the Muslim world erupts in uproar.

The case of Iraq is different. America invaded Iraq in 2003, and left the country in a mess in 2011. The ISIS continued…

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