Middle-east Arab News Opinion | Asharq Al-awsat

Between Quebec’s Mosque and Paris’ Louvre | ASHARQ AL-AWSAT English Archive 2005 -2017
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Quebec City Imam Hassan Guillet. Getty Images

The imam of the mosque that was attacked in Canada’s Quebec City last week said during the funeral of three of the six victims of the shooting: “We have 17 orphans. We have six widows. We have five wounded.”

Hassan Guillet prayed for their speedy recovery and described the shooter, Alexandre Bissonnette, as a victim brainwashed with extremist thoughts.

He said: “Before planting his bullets in the heads of his victims, somebody planted ideas more dangerous than the bullets in his head.”

What Imam Guillet said has become more important than the debates on racial statements.

The world is indeed passing through a crisis of sick ideas managing to surpass borders, languages and values by making use of technology, political developments and chaos.

In Quebec, one man killed six worshippers. However, those engaged in wars of hatred and incitement are in the millions, an unprecedented situation that is affecting all societies in modern times.

What’s the difference between Alexandre, who attacked worshippers, and Abdullah al-Hamahmy, who traveled to Paris to attack and kill people at the Louvre Museum?

Both men are racists and extremists, yet they are victims of the era of extremism and hatred.

Hamahmy could have become a different person and could have lived his life as a moderate man, or he could have become an extremist and a victim of any of the other ideologies whether nationalist, communist, leftist, racist, Christian, Jew or Hindu.

The apple doesn’t fall far from the tree and this could be a curse or a blessing as a person could become the victim of his environment.

The world has become contaminated amid this global negligence and recklessness toward extremism in general.

As Imam Guillet said, the ideas planted in both men’s heads are more dangerous than weapons and terrorist crimes.

Extremism is currently more evil than all the weapons possessed in the world today.

Wars nowadays differ from historic battles, which were waged by commanders, governments and where compromises were reached and there were winners and losers. However, that’s not the case with the wars of extremist ideas and hatred battles.

The international community is still confused on how to stop a possible conflict among nations and followers of religious groups. All societies are suffering from this crisis whether Buddhists in Myanmar, Muslims in Syria and Iraq, or Christians in the West.

The blaze of hatred is spreading as fast as messages of incitement through various communication means.

What about U.S. President Donald Trump’s stance that put him in the center of this controversy?

Of course, we cannot accept Trump’s stances as long as they are hostile to Muslims or Arabs or to other people from different religions and races.

As long as punishments imposed by Washington are limited to countries it politically disagrees with, like Iran, and as long as the decisions it takes are against countries that suffer from wars and a collapse in authority, like Syria and Libya, we cannot consider the U.S. decisions racist and hostile.

Many of our region’s governments have also shut their doors on the citizens of these countries out of fear and cautiousness.