There are many, many different kinds of Muslims. There are practicing Muslims, non-practicing Muslims, Sunni Muslims, Shia Muslims, moderate Muslims and radical Muslims, ex-Muslims and cultural Muslims.
These groups can be further divided into subcategories depending on race, nationality, and propensity for murder in the name of God.
We’ve seen all of these Muslims in the media, on internet forums, and in real life adding their own personal flavour of Islam to public discourses, involuntarily representing the 1.5 billion other Muslims on the planet.
If you’re a black-and-white kinda person it’s probably incredibly confusing for you, trying to figure out which kind of Muslim is the majority kind. You know – the stereotype that makes it easier for you to identify and then understand a group of people. Well, life isn’t that simple and now, finally in 2015, we all know that stereotypes suck and don’t actually work as an identifier.
But dichotomies do still exist, especially as a result of media representation or, more importantly, lack thereof. After the incredibly sad and unjust attack on Charlie Hebdo that left 12 people dead as well as the 4 dead in the Paris hostage situation, Muslims were subsequently divided into two major groups: those who are offended by the Mohammed cartoons and react with violence, and those who are offended by the Mohammed cartoons but do not react with violence. Both of these are more commonly known as “angry” or “offended” Muslims.
But there is one more category of Muslim, of which I find myself a frequent card-carrying member – the sad Muslim. We’re not angry or offended or indeed blasphemed by the satirical cartoons of our Prophet – we’re just sad.
We’re sad that people who claim to follow our faith are killing innocents in it’s name, and supposedly in our name too. We’re sad that they’ve been led astray when they should be helping build up our communities with us and making sure every member of our community is happy and healthy. We’re sad that there are people who think we should be held responsible for the acts of strangers.
We’re sad that a satirical newspaper chose to ridicule a man we hold in esteem instead of the actual people who commit crimes against humanity. We’re sad that they choose to cruelly prod the millions of peaceful Muslims with disgusting images of a man who cannot defend himself, instead of going after the individuals who actually committed the acts that appalled the world.
This kind of kneejerk reaction to spread racist, stereotypical, and lewd images that took place after the attack victimises innocent Muslims and does nothing to tackle the problem of fanaticism and terrorism. It perpetuates racial stereotypes and marginalises a group of people that had absolutely no stake in this sorry state of affairs, instead of going after and lampooning the real nutters.
Our religion has been mocked – by Islamic terrorists on the one hand and Charlie Hebdo on the other. And as usual, our voices drowned out by the two extremes.
I’m sad that the ludicrous, delusional and downright silly fanatics and terrorists aren’t the butt of the jokes. Are we mocking the state of contemporary politically-charged fanaticism? Or are we mocking a dead man and his peaceful followers who simply don’t need to see a drawing of him as a hook-nosed, greasy-haired Arab stereotype in the nude, riding a pig?
Go ahead and draw whatever the hell you want, but remember there may be a community of people who may be offended by it and not for the reasons you think. We don’t appreciate racism or blatant disregard for our sensibilities. We do, however, appreciate it if you draw terrorists as the low-life scum they are.