I do not and have never agreed with cultural and religious apologists who deny either the very existence of Islamic terrorism or confide to the illusion that terrorism, even if it exists is a sporadic phenomenon appearing here and there in form of such rare tragedies as 9/11 or 7/7. On the contrary, I believe that terrorism under the banner of Islam is an unfortunate and disastrous fact of our 21st century life.
As an Afghan, I can testify the reality and seriousness of Islamic radicalism better than the citizens of most other countries. It was in my homeland that the radical Islamists after killing, raping and torturing thousands of rural residents levelled our thousand year old capital to dust killing more than 60,000 people in the name of tribe, sect and ideology. It was also my country where Taliban carried out systematic genocide of ethnic and religious minorities, destroyed the 1500 year old and 53 meters tall magnificently standing Buddha statue, persecuted women to unimaginable levels, tortured detainees and burnt every trace of statehood and culture in the country. I have seen it real and alive. I have been its victim and its witness.
I am also familiar with its theological framework. Literalist interpretation of Islam has existed parallel with the mainstream definition throughout the history of the religion. Two of the four earliest leaders of Islam; the so-called rightly-guided caliphs were actually assassinated by people who considered them not adequately Muslim. Islamic fundamentalism has never been as mainstream as the philosophically sophisticated and historically cohesive Sufi Sunni and Shia schools, but the extremist and literalist interpretation of Islam has continued to exist for the past 1400 years be it in the form of the early Khawarij movement, the Takfiri approach of thirteenth century Ibn Taimiyyah or the modern schools of Wahabi and Deobandi Islam. It has been part of the bigger parcel and the superficial claim that terrorists are not Muslims is factually wrong and practically harmful.
But do I believe that Trump Administration's harsh and irrational measures taken in the name of fighting terrorism that are breaking up families and destroying lives and dreams are justified? The answer is a resounding and confident NO. Terrorism is a global threat on par if not greater than climate change. We cannot afford to make an issue of such humongous importance a prawn in our local politics.
Whilst such measures are definitely undemocratic and probably illegal, they are also based on entirely false premises. The people who are being barred from entering the United States as refugees and immigrants or visitors are actually representatives of the frontline warriors against terror. They are the ones who have suffered more than any other group of people and whose brothers and sisters are currently taking arms against the forces of terror from the icy mountains of Afghanistan to the burning deserts of Iraq and the violent plains of Syria. The media has done a good job showing the faces of Daesh fighters beheading innocent westerners but they rarely portray the suffering of our peoples and their brave and desperate resistance against not just petty killers but the agents of a civilizational crisis. There are a lot of courageous people keeping Daesh and the Taliban at bay and I assure you that most of them are Muslims, underpaid and underfed.
Those soldiers are Muslim and so are the thousands of interpreters, reporters and support staff that tirelessly work with their lives at stack backing up the efforts nobody actually gives them credit for. Of all this, it would be most cowardly and immoral to not remember and respect the thousands of unidentifiable brave people who work as our eyes and ears behind the enemy lines. Those individuals are our first line of defence against terrorism long before any terrorist reaches our borders to be curbed by our border control measures. The interesting thing is they are very much Muslim and of the terrifying-looking type who might never gain entry into a western capital.
Terrorism is too serious, terrifying and complicated to be countered by PR stunts of minimal tactical value let alone operational and/or strategic importance. All those people who rightly take terrorism seriously shouldn't delude themselves with rhetoric and vengeance. Our safety is bound to factors more complicated and intertwined than just a few controversial and emotionally-motivated measures. Let's make sure that even if we are not fighting terrorism like those brave men and women in uniform, our emotional outbursts do not become memes of propaganda for decadent forces in the Islamic world.