November 13, 2015 would forever be one of the bloodiest days in modern history of the West.

In a span of few hours, ISIS terrorists claimed 129 lives, leaving several injured, as they attacked multiple places with bombs and bullets, ruining one perfectly fine Paris evening. Experts have called it the worst attack on western soil since 9/11.

Once again, the social media burned with high emotions. The usual Islam-bashing ensued, followed by much Islam-defending and West-bashing and so on. However, refreshingly, and in more instances than ever noticed before, sanity prevailed for many. Large number of people, Muslims and others, called for peace as clearly this fight isn’t about religion but rather political control.

Within the same week of the Paris attacks, Lebanese capital of Beirut was bombed where some 40 people died. Similarly, in Baghdad, a Shiite funeral procession was targeted. Both atrocities were carried out by ISIS but weren’t covered in the mainstream or, more appropriately, Western media. As pointed out by a large number of social media users, this bias only feeds into the rhetoric that West only cries when the fires are too close to home; only western lives matter to the so-called keepers of global peace and harmony. If you’re brown, you’re scum.

For those associating ISIS and its terrorism to Muslims and Islam in general, please understand that ISIS has killed some 100,000 Muslims up till now; 1500 in this year alone (Jan-Nov 2015). It is these same ISIS terrorists because of whom the crazy Syrians are putting their children in unsafe waters; the same terrorists that innocents like Aylan Kurdi died fleeing from.

In Pakistan alone, over 70,000 civilians have died as a result of our army’s war on the lesser evil Taliban. Remember Malala Yousufzai? Yeah, that girl is Muslim too, and she stood up to these same terrorists for which, by the way, the West thought her worthy of a Nobel Prize.

Hence, this argument that all Muslims, especially those who practice Islam, support ISIS/Al-Qaeda/Taliban/ilk eats itself up. Don’t use it anymore.

It must be noted that the Taliban and Al-Qaeda have the same ideology as ISIS, an ultra-conservative branch of Wahhabism. Without understanding that, one cannot hope to understand the mindset of these and similar outfits. The rise of this strict version of Wahhabism has led to the death of pluralistic Islam in the region; the end of real Islam that was being practiced since the time of the Prophet and the one his grandson Hussain died defending. To equate Yazidi style of government or Kharijites to this movement would not be an exaggeration.

To those ready to throw around Quranic verses without understanding the history of Islam and/or its Prophet and his companions, must first read up on the names and terms mentioned above.

If we have these jihadist radicals on one hand, on the other, we have the democratic West that, ironically, has supported dictatorships over Muslim nations for their own benefit. And whenever the people revolted, as was the case in Arab Spring, it saw it as an opportunity to jump in and fan the fires; own the conflict,as if, without a thought as to who would gain from this anarchy. After so much that has been dished out on the Middle East situation, it can’t be denied that the West armed the very terrorists it now vows to fight against but is failing as well.

Why is it failing? Well, because more wars mean more sales for the weapons industry and war technology of the West. It gets to sell its ammunition, bag huge contracts for rebuilding countries that it first helped destroy to dust, and, of course, control oil. All the while thinking that this mess it is creating in all these regions will never have an effect on its own soil. Meanwhile, the radicals gained control of the land to form their own empire where they can be free to enforce their own ideals – even if it means cleansing the land of Muslims who do not conform to their school of thought.

This is a game where extremism, whether western of eastern, is winning. This isn’t a religious war. This is politics.

Since, I am on a bashing spree, it would be unfair to leave my brethren in faith out. There always are those who scold the West for crying over its spilled blood while atrocities committed by its own forces gets no media time. Even the victims of same terrorists that plague the West don’t get attention if they aren’t western. My two cents – we only cry when we are hurt. It is an established fact that the West is stronger than we are, the world order is theirs, and so is the media that toots that horn. If we want us to be projected in the light that is true to us then we must do that. We must stand with ourselves before we can expect anyone else to stand with us.

Facebook faced a lot of criticism for making a filter for France after Paris attacks but none for Lebanon or Iraq or similar. My question is, who’d stopped the Muslims to make a filter on their own or change their DP to a Lebanese flag or put up a status or hashtag ‘I stand with Beirut’? We only realized it was missing when we saw Facebook and the media pour all over France. Why were we sleeping before? Is it because we are immune to living in hell and don’t really care for our own lives? Furthermore, the only time I do see Muslims take any action is when something happens in Palestine and that too because the aggressors are Jews. If Israel was just another Wahhabi State tormenting a neighbor, just like Saudi Arabia did in Yemen, we would be as silent as dead.

If we don’t take ourselves seriously or think our lives precious, no one else is obligated to either.

This is a bad time for our world on all counts. And I believe that the only way to defeat hate is through love. It is our duty to tell our people to be sensible and not resort to violence, to not play into the hands of terror-mongers. Whereas, it is also the duty of those in the west with sane, logical minds to caution their people, to make them understand what it is like to be a Muslim in a world that will crucify you for a crime you never committed but only were a victim of.

Also, when you empathize, do it without ‘buts, ifs, and howevers’. Just condemn the terrorists! This goes for both sides – Muslims and Non-Muslims. No more ‘the West is getting what it deserves’ or ‘the Muslims kill because Islam and they are being killed because [insert idiotic explanation]’. No innocent life deserves to end this way, regardless of whose life it is. Terrorism, hate and bigotry have no religion, region or race. Let’s never forget that when we react to all sorts of horrid news that come crashing down on us.

In order for good to prevail, the good people must remember to remain good.