When you ask a Muslim why have they not condemned the act of terrorism committed by their people or why have they not apologized for it yet, you’re the one starting the ‘us versus them’ debate; not that Muslim.

If you’re ridiculous enough to point out how come only Muslims are the ones committing these crimes in the name of their beliefs and no one else, then, you’re deserving of an equally toxic word vomit. Like, geez, I don’t know, Timothy McVeigh, Hitler, KKK? Or maybe because believers of other faiths don’t have to do anything since their governments are already committing atrocities officially under the pretext of bringing democracy to the Muslim world or cleansing their lands of Muslim existence – the Christian West, Zionist Israel, Buddhist Myanmar, Hindu India, Communist China etc. etc. and etc.?

CNN anchors John Vause and Isha Sesay after spending a good six-plus minutes blaming French Muslims on live television as they grilled Yasser Louati, asking him where was the apology from the French Muslim community and how could it shirk responsibility for these heinous attacks, concluded their bigoted segment, Raw Story, by saying “…when these things happen, the finger of blame is pointed at the Muslim community and so you have to be preemptive.” Simply put, Muslims should forever be on the front foot with an apology ready in hand to be posted and dished out 24/7 until the entire world population sees it and even then there will be idiots who will object and whine and hate.

Where’s the apology, you ask? Where is the non-Muslim world’s apology to Muslims for bombing and ruining their countries for political control and petro-dollars? Iraq, anyone? And for that matter, where is the White Master’s collective apology to all those races he subjugated and enslaved as far as modern history stretches? Where’s your apology for ‘God is White’? No British has ever come up to me, saying, “Hey, I’m so sorry for colonizing your homeland and ruining it for all your future generations and forcing our values and education and religion upon you and such. Please forgive me for the crimes of my race and brethren in faith.” Why isn’t America sorry for helping to create and fund and strengthen the Taliban; for hailing Osama Bin Laden as a hero, a freedom fighter, during the 1980s and then leaving Pakistan alone to deal with the aftermath of that war until 9/11 only to return with fire in its eyes, ordering us around to pick a side? And if you can’t or won’t apologize, then, why should we?

See how this works?

Do you see the potential for animosity to keep spiraling on? For every hate-filled punch you throw, you’ll be sure to receive a stronger, possibly uglier, rebuttal. Hate begets hate. That is how human behavior works. However, while hatred can fuel any argument, it can win none. Still want to continue the hate war?

I suggest let’s not.

If we want to have a ‘peaceful’ world, then,we must throw in our share.We must step away from the aforementioned ‘us versus them’ rhetoric.

Just for that purpose, I want to hail a few Muslim heroes from across the globe who put their lives on the line to save others, specifically by standing up to terrorists who had come to kill in the name of the same God these heroes believed in. It is important to refresh our memories so that every time a terrorist is mentioned, a hero is remembered too who fought him.

Kareem Rashad Sultan Khan

Corporal Khan was an American U.S. Army Specialist who died August 2007 in Baqaubah, Iraq along with three other soldiers when a bomb exploded while they were clearing a house. It is reported that he was deeply driven by the 9/11 attacks on the World Trade Center and wanted to show that not all Muslims were fanatics but that many, like him, were willing to lay their lives down for their country, America. He enlisted immediately after graduation and was sent to Iraq in July 2006. Khan was 20 years old at the time of his death. He received a Bronze Star and a Purple Heart for his service, and was promoted posthumously to the rank of Corporal.

James Michael ‘Jimmy’ Ahern

Major James Ahern of the US Army met Lena during his second tour of Iraq. Jimmy converted to Islam, married Lena and brought her home to the United States. Two years later on his third tour to Iraq in 2007, Ahern, 43 years of age, was killed in Baghdad when his vehicle struck a roadside bomb. His widow, Lena Ahern, said she feels ashamed her husband died in her country at the hands of her people. He had served in the Army for 18 years and was supposed to retire in 2009. "Jimmy was the greatest gift I ever had,'' Lena said of her late husband whom she was married to for two years and also has a daughter with. Major Ahern was a decorated soldier who was awarded two Bronze Stars during his lifetime.

Malala Yousafzai

October 9, 2012, a gunman boarded Malala’s school bus and asked for her by name, then, shot her three times. She was 14 at the time. This was punishment for blogging against the atrocious rule of Taliban in her district of Swat, Pakistan. Malala survived the attack and now is one of the strongest proponents for education, especially for young girls. She is also the youngest-ever Nobel Laureate. But you already knew that, didn’t you?

Abdul Haji

Westgate Mall, Nairobi, September 21, 2013; picture a little white girl running across the tiled floor of the shopping center towards an African man gained global fame. That girl, her mother and siblings were one of the hundreds of people that Abdul Haji, a 38-year old Kenyan businessman and the man in the picture, saved that day from the deadly shooting perpetrated by Al-Shabaab. He was sipping coffee at another location when he received a text from his brother at Westgate, telling him about an attack. Haji sped over to primarily rescue his brother but ended up being part of a daring rescue operation that was carried by brave civilians like him and the Red Cross. Haji’s message: Islam teaches peace, what the terrorists did is contrary to that teaching.

Aitzaz Hasan

He was a Pakistani school boy from Hangu District in Khyber Pakhtunkhwa province who sacrificed his life while preventing a suicide bomber from entering his school of 2,000 students at Ibrahimzai village of Hangu. January 2014, Aitzaz is said to have spotted a suspicious person near the gates of his school. When Aitzaz tried to stop him, he started walking faster towards the school. It is reported that Aitzaz’s friend spotted a detonator on the person and ran inside the school to alert the authorities while Aitzaz threw a stone at the bomber in an attempt to stop him but missed. It was then that Aitzaz ran towards the person and grabbed him, prompting the suicide bomber to detonate his explosive-laden vest. Aitzaz was severely burned and died at the hospital, saving every other student and staff member on campus that day. He was 16 years old. Aitzaz was hailed as a national hero and was awarded Sitara-e-Shujaat (Star of Bravery) by the Government of Pakistan. He was also named as the Herald’s Person of the Year for 2014.

Humayun Saqib Muazzam Khan

Captain Khan was a Pakistani American who served in the US Army as an ordnance officer and was stationed in Baqaubah, Iraq. On June 8 2014, Khan died in a suicide car bombing at the main gates of his base. Khan’s unit was charged with the day-to-day security and maintenance of the camp,and as an ordnance officer he had watched as several of his soldiers prepared to do a routine vehicle inspection. When an orange-colored taxi drove toward them, Khan ordered his soldiers to "hit the dirt". He walked towards the car, motioning for it to stop. A makeshift bomb inside it exploded, killing him and two Iraqi civilians in addition to the two suicide bombers. Captain Humayun Khan was 27 years of age. He was awarded a Bronze Star and a Purple Heart for his service to his country.

Tahira Qazi

If you think super women don’t exist in real life, then, here’s one to prove you wrong. On the morning of December 16, 2014 heavily armed Taliban militants entered the campus of Army Public School, Peshawar and gunned down 150 people, 132 of them were children. Most of the victims were trapped in an auditorium that they’d gathered in for a lecture. As the militants went through the school shooting students and members of staff, Tahira, the APS Principal stayed back and helped her students escape, getting them out of the building. She was rescued twice by the soldiers countering the Taliban attack but she refused to leave. ”I will go with the last child,” she was reported as saying. Hours after the attack, Tahira’s body was found in the bushes outside the school. She had a bullet wound to the front of her head, and it seemed like an explosion may have tossed her out of the building.

This attack on an army funded school by Taliban was to avenge the loss of their militants at the hands of Pakistan Army ever since the launch of Operation Zarb-e-Azb in June 2014. The question the terrorists asked before shooting was, “Is your father in the army?” Almost every child and staff member was related to a soldier in some way and so, they paid the price of fighting terrorism in their homeland. Pakistan Army has killed 2763 terrorists so far (reported June 2015) in this ongoing operation.

Ahmed Merabet

January 7, 2015, Paris; let’s remember the French officer on duty who was shot point blank by the escaping terrorists after they’d gunned down 12 artists at Charlie Hebdo.Ahmed, a 40 year old French Muslim, had been patrolling the neighborhood where Charlie Hebdo is located for the past 8 years, fully aware that this was the magazine that dished out satire, at times crudely ridiculing the religion he claimed to follow. Yet, he never posed a threat to them despite being armed at all times that he patrolled those streets. Instead, he tried to stop the terrorists who claimed to have killed in the name of his God, and died in the line of duty. French President Francois Hollande was sure to place a police hat and a blue Legion d’honneur badge on Merabet’s casket as the country paid its last respects to the hero and laid him to rest.

Lassana Bathily

January 9, 2015, Paris; another hero emerged while one of the terrorists attacked a kosher supermarket where he worked. The 24-year old Malian man hid his customers, at least 6 persons, in the freezer while he risked his own life and snuck out to inform the police about what was going on. His bravery not only saved those people that day but also earned him French citizenship that was fast-tracked after approximately 300,000 people signed a petition online to grant him legal status.

Adel Termos

November 12, 2015, Beirut was rocked by two explosions leaving 43 dead. The carnage would’ve been much worse if not for one 32-year old Lebanese dad who saw the second bomber approach the crowd minutes after the first one detonated his suicide jacket. Termos was on the phone with his wife that time. His last words to her were, “I’m going to help the wounded.” After that, there was a second blast and his phone went dead. Termos had tackled the second bomber from behind, locking him in an embrace while they were some 50 yards away from the target crowd gathering after sunset prayers. The bomber, then, detonated his vest. Termos died in the blast, saving dozens others at the expense of his own life.

Safer (may be pronounced Safir)

Paris again; November 13, 2015 when a series of terrorist attacks killed 129 civilians. A Muslim of Algerian descent was behind the bar at Casa Nostra restaurant when he heard explosions and screams as glass shards literally rained down on everyone present.Amidst the chaos at his restaurant, he spotted two women on the terrace, bothwere hurt and bleeding. Safer waited for a lull in the firing and the first chance he got, he ran outside, picked them up and rushed them downstairs to the basement. He stayed with them, trying to stop the bleeding as they could still hear heavy gunfire above. If that’s not a hero, I don’t know who is. Safer said of the attackers that “Real Muslims are not made for killing people. These are criminals."

Kurdish Fighters

Not just the regular Kurdish army but their female fighters! Remember our beloved ‘girls with guns’ or ‘angels of death’ who just might be ISIS’s worst nightmare? The Kurds are predominantly Muslim. You will find ample images online showing Kurdish soldiers praying to Allah. One image has a female Kurdish fighter donning a head-to-toe burka style covering as she stands on the prayer mat, eyes cast down in prayer. The 2nd Battalion, a 500-strong force based in Sulaymaniyah in Kurdistan, northern Iraq, is led by Colonel Nahida Ahmad Rashid, aged 49. These women are relentlessly defending their homeland against the hordes of ISIS. They are fighting the same war as France or America or any other western country claims to be fighting against terrorism. And yes, they are women – from a predominantly Muslim country.

In many of my previous pieces where I made similar pleas to be peaceful and fight hate with love and such, I was hit with comments like ‘you cannot love a piousness snake.” Pray tell, who is the snake? If you’re referring to the terrorists then by all means, wage war and you shall find us by your side, in the lead, as the above examples signify. But if you’re lumping all Muslims together then, again, read through the above stories for a clearer perspective.

It is true these terrorists cite Quran but so did the Sufis. If you can trace a connection between ISIS and teachings of Islam, then do have the intellect to trace a connection between Rumi or Nizamuddin Auliya and Islam. The killers of Hussain, an epitome of Islamic beliefs and Muhammad’s beloved grandson, shouted ‘Allah-o-Akbar’ as well as they butchered him and his family members and friends in the Battle of Karbala. That chant didn’t make the actions of those terrorists any righteous then and it doesn’t so even now.

When you ask, “where are the moderate Muslims?” look around you. They are everywhere. I am one. Every Muslim I know is one. And we are all vocal in the best ways we know. However, if you’re looking for a Muslim who is ready to renounce his religion or parts of it, then, you’re basically going around carrying a box to fit Muslims in according to your own definition of what an acceptable Muslim is to you. That’s bigotry.

Every Muslim who may or may not dress to show their religion off, regularly or even occasionally prays, fasts, says Allah-o-Akbar, quotes the Quran and Hadith and tries to live by it as much as possible and does not want to renounce or necessarily reform Islam. That doesn’t make him or her a terrorist.

The stories mentioned above have no glittery frills attached to make those heroes look awesome because there is no need for that. They are/were real people and they did what they thought was the right thing to do. This is the stuff real heroes are made and fortunately for the world, heroes come in every race, religion and gender. 

Let’s not hate. The world has no need of that emotion anymore.