I planned to take a break from writing about violence, but after reading about the bombings in Moscow’s metro, I felt compelled to respond. Yesterday, two women with bombs strapped to their bodies went to metro stops and detonated them as the doors of the carriages opened. The reports now are that 38 people were killed and more than 60 injured. Although it has not been confirmed, officials in Moscow are suggesting that a Chechen group is behind the attack.
As I read about this story, I was already worried about people’s reactions to the story since most Chechens are Muslims and many will be quick to condemn Islam for these attacks. I was not wrong. But I must say first that targeting civilians is simply unacceptable and unjustified. So, the fact that innocent people on their way to work were killed in such a manner deeply troubles me. However, I feel this way about any situation where civilians are the target; so, I am also troubled when Chechen civilians are killed by Russians. The fact of the matter is that Islam is still not the culprit; rather, the source of the problem is political realities, power struggles, and an attitude of us and them that is prevalent in our world today.
While Islam is being utilized as a front or motivation for some groups, I am reiterating that it does not condone violence; in fact, many scholars and groups have spoken out against it. Millions of Muslims are committed to their faith and live by its peaceful beliefs. I am frustrated like everyone else by non-stop violence and destruction, but it seems to me that we need to address how we use terms and recognize the grievances of all groups instead of continously adding fuel to the fire by blaiming a major world religion. Islam is not the only religion that has been manipulated for political ends. In fact, some have suggested that the Qur’an is far less violent than the Bible.
What were your reactions to the bombings? Do you think religion is the problem? Please share your comments below.