The reason for the latest aircraft disaster involving the aircraft of Germanwings is a highly unusual one. The co-pilot Andrea Lubitz deliberately downed the aircraft in a pre-mediated manner to kill himself and all the 149 others on the flight. The reason why he planned to kill himself and with him take the lives of so many innocent men, women and children of various nationalities but mainly Germans is still under investigation. It may be sometime before the details of the investigation why Andrea Lubitz committed the suicide cum mass murder cum terrorist act would be known. But then the investigators would no doubt make every attempt to explain Andreaz Lubitz’s action rationally, as if it was nothing but a simple matter of a young man going crazy.
But spare a moment and imagine if he was a Muslim of any type or of any nationality. What would have happened then? Two years ago, two brothers with Chechnyan connections – Dzhokhar and Tamerlan Tsarnaev – carried out the Boston Marathon bombings. It took some time for the investigators and the law enforcing agencies to find out that the brothers were Muslims. And when they discovered that they were Muslims, they placed Islam on the dock together with the two brothers one of whom had died while the hunt was on to catch them. In fact, in the frenzy, for months Muslims all over the United States became suspect because the media and the authorities thought Islam and terrorism were synonymous as the brothers were Muslims.
That has been the pattern since the 9/11 attacks when 20 individuals who happened to be Muslims carried out the attacks on the Twin Towers and Pentagon. That led the US to start the war on terror and invade Afghanistan and Iraq. Almost half a million innocent men, women and children died in the two countries for the sins of 20. Their fault was that the perpetrators of 9/11 were Muslims like them. Their deaths were insensitively dismissed as collateral damages. The western media was very careful though not to mention that the “collateral damages” were the lives of Muslims lest Islam gets the sympathy. And the western media that was in a hurry to hang Islam never cared for the fact that the 9/11 terrorists as well as the Boston bombers were not even practicing Muslims! Some of the 9/11 terrorists had frequented Las Vegas before their terrorist acts gambling and wining, acts unambiguously forbidden in Islam.
The western media is now using ISIS to pursue its agenda against Islam. They don’t want to leave any doubt in anyone that the ISIS terrorists are deriving all their inspirations from Islam. This is a distortion because many of these ISIS terrorists are former soldiers of Saddam Hussein’s Republican Guards and many supporters of ISIS were members of the dictator’s secular Baath Party that had no love for Islam. True the ISIS now say that they draw inspirations from Islam. But the fact is they are fighting fellow Muslims in an internecine conflict that on even casual inquiry would reveal is the outcome of the way the West had colonized the region leading to the First and the Second World War and more importantly and more recently, the way the US invaded Iraq on lies and untruths to attack the very dictator they had befriended and armed to the teeth in the first instance; to fight another Muslim country, Iran.
Andreaz Lubitz, the co-pilot of the German aircraft, did exactly what the 9/11 terrorists did when they flew their planes into the Twin Towers and the Pentagon. He deliberately killed the 149 other passengers not in any fit of insanity but with a cool head and a pre-mediated plan. Yet the western media refused to call his act an act of terror. Leading media giants as Reuters, BBC, called the act of the German co-pilot as “suicide” and the German Chancellor could not find any words besides the act being “simply incomprehensible”. The picture that the world was shown, thanks to the western media, was of Andreaz Lubitz “smiling peacefully” with the San Francisco Golden Bridge behind him.
What if Andreaz Lubitz was a Muslim? Would there then be any pictures of him smiling? Is there any doubt that he would then not just been made the excuse for the 149 deaths and instead Islam be blamed totally and completely for his act and the religion put on trial? And with that imagine what would have happened to anyone with a Muslim name travelling in Europe. Worse still what about any Muslim pilot in Europe? For months after the Boston Marathon bombings, Muslims were looked with suspicion and searched in US airports and public places till it became clear that the two brothers had acted in isolation. It took over a decade for Muslims in USA to travel in US airports and move about in public places freely for the acts of the 20 on 9/11. But still, despite clear signs that the US authorities are trying their best to free Islam and its followers from being held guilty for the acts of a few Muslims, misperceptions and distortions about Islam in the West is far from over.
The handling of Andreaz Lubitz’s act has underlined once again that the West simply will not accept that whites can commit acts of terror. And that is not bad enough. Simultaneously, they are committed to put on dock Islam whenever an individual Muslim or a few of them kill anywhere, even in internecine conflicts such as those taking place in Iraq, Syria, Pakistan and Yemen. Just because these misguided Iraqis/Yemenis/Somalis say they commit their acts in name of Islam, there is no question asked and Islam becomes guilty as charged. The bias of the West in refusing to call Andreas Lubitz a terrorist and his act as an act of terrorism because he is a white was underlined earlier blatantly in the case of Behring Brevik who massacred 69 school children in Norway in 2011. Initially, the western media had jumped to the conclusion that the massacre was the act of a Muslim terrorist. When it was found that he was not a Muslim, the terrorist description was instantly dropped and instead he was described as a “radical loser”; “angry fascist” although he was politically as motivated to kill as those who carried out the 9/11 acts. He could not be called a terrorist because whites cannot be terrorists!
The PEW Research organization released this week a report that has shown that by 2070, Islam would be the world’s largest religion because it is the fastest growing. And Muslims, who now are 25% of the world population, are spreading all over the globe as part of the West initiated globalization.
Therefore the western civilization must set aside its bias and distortions to equate any act of violence by individuals or small group of Muslims as reflection of the great religion while refusing to draw similar conclusions about their own when they commit similar acts of terror. If the West is honest and interested in a world of peaceful religious coexistence, they will find in Islam itself enough encouragement to change their mindset while at the same time realize that they themselves are responsible for many of the ills for which they blame Islam, for instance in the growth of ISIS as a menace.
The writer is a former career Ambassador. His email id is [email protected]