“The idea that some lives matter less is the root of all that’s wrong with the world.” – Paul Farmer

The growing barbarity and indiscriminate violence caused by extremists in the name of religion has truly been horrific and condemnable.

First the gruesome attack in Orlando that killed over 50 at a night club. Then followed by a horrendous attack perpetrated by ISIS on Istanbul airport in Turkey, later an attack in Bangladesh, Iraq, and now a lone-wolf extremist running a lorry killing dozens in Nice, France.

With all of these attacks it is sometimes easy to associate them with a specific religion, especially when you see extremists claiming that they represent a faith. In the words of Mirza Masroor Ahmad - who is a global ambassador of peace:

“Anyone who preaches or propagates any form of extremism acts completely against the true teachings of Islam and is to be condemned.”

But, sometimes it is hard to believe that ISIS for example, is against the teachings of Islam when in Bangladesh they asked civilians to recite the Holy Qur’an and if unsuccessful - stab them to death.

Firstly, nowhere in the Qur’an, or any sayings of the Prophet does it say to kill those that don’t know the Qur’an. In fact, it says the opposite – “There shall be no compulsion in religion,” (2:257) and “Whosoever killed a person … it is as if he had killed all of mankind." (5:33)

Despite hijacking the name of Islam, flaunting their flags, and yelling Allahu Akbar, ISIS is a political movement serving narrow political interests mutually exclusive of religion. ISIS doesn’t care about Muslims or Islam, they care about greed, political power, and creating divide. Just like the LRA and KKK don’t represent their faiths, neither does ISIS.

This thus draws our attention to having a united front against extremists and wholly condemning terrorist attacks. What is the difference between the lives in Orlando and the lives in Iraq? Why were there no hashtags, no Facebook profile tinting colours, and no public outcries for Iraq?

If our social media profiles can tint in support of Paris, Belgium, and Orlando, then why not change for Turkey, Bangladesh, and Iraq?

Innocent lives taken in Turkey airport, and no vigils, or landmarks, but when an attack of similar degree took place in Brussels we did all of the above.

I’m saying there needs to be consistency - it is unethical for us to raise our voices during the attacks in Brussels, Paris, and Orlando, but not Turkey, Bangladesh, and Iraq. Let alone double standards, this is the dictionary definition of hypocrisy. If someone was loud during the Brussels attacks, and silent during the almost identical attacks in Turkey, is it really innocent life that they cared about?

Whether your skin colour is black, brown, or white – blood is always red.

To us all of these attacks should matter, and all of these attacks should be equally condemnable. We cannot progress as a society until we realize that blood is blood and if it’s not your loved one, it’s someone else’s.

In order to stop any extremist organization, we need to be against the act of killing, regardless of who is killed. Are we against rising death tolls by extremists in Western countries, or are we against rising death tolls by extremists?

Until we are “Je Suis Humanity” we aren’t making progress. I was saddened to hear about the terrorist attack in Nice, France. It was gruesome, and undeniably inhumane, and it is important for all of us to speak out against all acts of terrorism to really fight the war on terror.