Yesterday, on July 1st, 2016, in my motherland, Bangladesh, there was an attack in a café. ISIL was targeting government officials and foreigners in the diplomatic area of Gulshan, Dhaka. After a tense hostage situation, the gunmen killed 20 hostages and 2 police officers. The attackers used rifles, explosives, and sharp objects.
What disgusts me the most isn't the fact that this was a targeting of foreigners who represent democracy, or that those killed were harmed with sharp objects. It is that this so called "Islamic state" carried out this attack on Laylatul Qadr, the holiest day in the month of Ramadan, and during iftar, when people were breaking their fast. Laylatul Qadr is celebrated in the last few days of Ramadan to commemorate the writing of the Quran. So to those who say this terrorist group is Muslim- what devout Muslim does this and what devout Muslim does this during the holiest month in the Muslim calendar? If I was in these people's position, it would have greatly shaken and disturbed me to be taken hostage when I am breaking fast. After fasting for more than 15 hours, one wants nothing more than to enjoy the food and the prosperous life that Allah has given them. Muslims fast for a month to be less materialistic and more appreciative of what they have. ISIL took the precious lives of 22 people.
Once again, a terrorist attack in a Muslim country has gotten less media coverage than an attack in a "Western" country. When Paris and Belgium were attacked, I saw hundreds of social media posts. When İstanbul and Dhaka were attacked, only a select few people were acknowledging what happened. I believe that this is because of the bigots that think all Muslims are bad. Haven't İstanbul and now Dhaka shown that ISIL is in no way Islamic and other Muslims should not be judged based on their actions? The "I" in ISIL has the same significance as the "R" in the Republic of Korea (South Korea): no significance at all. Outright discrimination against Muslims is rare, but ever since 9/11, everyone has the "terrorist" image of a Muslim stuck in their heads. This stereotype needs to be broken before it gets to the point when Muslims are put in internment camps like what happened to the Japanese during World War II. Please do not be ignorant and judge 1.6 billion Muslims based on the actions of a few sick monsters.
I am saddened that ISIL is now brainwashing and poisoning the minds of my countrymen because I know that Bangladesh is in no position, in terms of infrastructure, to fight this. But I am grateful that the police officers were able to rescue 13 people. Bangladesh is a developing country in which poverty stricken people live on the streets and the government is corrupt. Bangladesh is the country in which my grandparents and parents were born and it is the country that gives me my ethnicity and mother language and heritage and culture. Please pray for my country.
For those of you who don't know what happened, on Tuesday, June 28th, 2016 three assailants killed 44 people at the Ataturk airport in İstanbul, Turkey. They had explosives and assault rifles. It should be noted that Turkey is targeted often by terrorist groups. This is because Turkey is the perfect example of a majority Muslim country that has achieved a true democratic and secular society. ISIL targets Turkey because the country represents pluralism and gender equality and democracy. İstanbul is most definitely the most beautiful place I have traveled to. Please pray for this beautiful country.
The terrorists cannot win. We can't let them win. It is their goal to bring about some sort of social or political change by inflicting violence. It is their goal to scare us and frighten us into meeting their demands. We have to fight back. Our greatest weapons are our values and what we stand for.
Learn more about what happened in İstanbul and Dhaka.