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Thursday, January 14, 2016

Jakarta Terror Attack: Why It Is Stupid to Condemned a Religion

If there is any, any way to show the ugly, hideous true face of terrorism, this is it.

For too often Muslims around the world experienced the pressure to denounce the heinous act of their fellow Muslim that committed violence under the pretext of defending Islam. Sure, it is nice to know that not all Muslims support violence, especially if you don't personally know one yourself; but then it became some sort of routine: a terrorist act under the pretext of Islam and ALL Muslims are supposed to denounce it.

And then this happened.

7 perpetrator (who are supposedly Muslims). Millions of people (who are definitely Muslims). How does the 7 define the millions? If Islam equals terrorism, shouldn't there be millions of perpetrator and only 7 that choose to stay out of it? Millions of people. All busy doing whatever they need to do on a workday instead of rioting and plotting and destroy the everything while screaming "Allahu Akbar!". The best way to depict the absurdness of the thought is to see the picture below: a street food vendor (who is most likely a Muslim) calmly sell his food to the (distressed) onlookers. It is as if he was saying: Everything is normal here, just a few wackos around. But hey, good money today. Indonesia's online taxi services provides free service to the people on tbe affected area, while still paying the drivers. There has been another picture circulating where a motor taxi driver (yes, there is such thing) assist a woman to get away from the danger zone. With about 90% Muslim population, these people are most likely Muslims. Why aren't they the face of Muslim?

The Jakarta I know is big and beautiful. It is far larger than Los Angeles, and much more diversed in social statuses. The filthy richs that leisurely enjoy their day in Jakarta's most prominent malls that are so big you can easily spend a full day inside one of the fully air-conditioned behemoths (and there are plenty of them). The office workers that work dilligently and industriously away, in their sharp well-pressed shirt and pants/skirts. The norm is dress to impress, and most look exquisitely professional regardless of what their actual positions are. The casual workers like bus drivers and street food vendors that kept Jakarta working and thriving, with a dot of beggars and street kids here and there. Again, there are 90% chance that they are Muslim. And they are normal people, like you and me.

And it is not just Jakarta. Everywhere you go in Indonesia you are bound to see the people helped each other in the time of need. Is this the teaching of Islam or Indonesians are just rad in general? None of the above, I'm afraid. Act of compassion can only be attributed to human nature, no strings attached. Regardless of what you are taught or what you believe, it takes a special part of you to be moved and act to help others. It takes compassion to do such compassionate act. And it goes the same, no matter what you have been taught or belief, it takes a special villanous part of you to commit crime against human. 

When the news broke, even my seemingly fanatic friends that often littered my news feed with articles denouncing the non-muslims were in panic and tried to find the news about their loved ones. This is because terrorism has no religion. People say and think a lot of things, believing in many things, but in the dire situation instinct kicked in: we just want to be safe. Which is why spouting hatred and fear is a surefire way to get attention and/or devoted followers. Religion doesn't kill people. People kill people. Yet in this world filled with uncertainty and fear, religion is a very effective way to label and grouped a bunch of people either as your "team members" or as your enemy. We believed it and hate (or love) other people with such vigor because "That is the truth!". Even though the good or heinous act is done because we wanted it to be done, because we choose to do it. Even though we are (un)knowingly become a pawn in the power struggle. 

Don't be fooled. Know who thy real enemy is: ignorance, self-center, fear, hatred, greed. Don't fear the race or religion or other wordly attitude. Fear the human. After all, we are our own predator.




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