Rest in peace

The Internet has its fair share of trending articles that I’d like to share and react to, from the dramatic responses from the EU and western nations to the Syrian refugee crisis after the photo of Aylan Kurdi was seen worldwide, to the dropping out of Rick Perry from the presidential race. But a lesser-covered event that occurred just yesterday, and the response to it, has caught my attention instead: a Mecca crane collapsed in Saudi Arabia, killing over 107 worshippers.

According to the head of Saudi Arabia’s civil defence, “strong winds and heavy rains had caused the collapse” at the largest mosque in the world. Here were “thousands of worshippers [attending] Friday prayer” who lost their lives to a scary accident, but even scarier, and the part I want to focus on most, is the reaction this event elicited from many American social media users.

Yesterday was 9/11, a day of remembrance for our fallen heroes and the victims of a terrorist attack on the Twin Towers. And on 9/11/15, a mecca crane took the lives of 107 innocent worshippers. Coincidentally, a certain word has popped up in the headlines of right-wing media outlets as well as throughout the comment sections of other news sources: karma.

Today, only 27% of Americans hold Muslims in a favorable light, according to a 2014 survey conducted by the Arab American Institution. 9/11 is a event that certainly we, as a nation, should never forget, and the terrorist organization who orchestrated the attacks must be stopped; however, we must also, as a nation, never forget that only 0.01% of Muslims are affiliated with terrorist organizations, and that the deaths of innocent people, no matter the religion, should never be lauded.

That we find it horrifying when Muslim terrorists justify their slaughter, rape and attacks in the name of Islam (and indeed it is), yet when comments such as “Sorry but God sent a beautiful rainbow over New York on the even of the 9-11 anniversay to remind us He is still with us. Then on 9-11, violent storms and wind come through, knock down this crane killing 100+ as they were going to worship Allah by making this once in a lifetime journey to Mecca. I think God was sending a message loud and clear – He is the only God” (taken verbatim from the comment section of ABC News) garner over 150 likes more than highlights the hypocrisy of a good portion of our society.

9/11 is a day that brings together all Americans, allowing us to momentarily step away from our political ideas, our religious beliefs and our cultural backgrounds and to unite as a nation of people dedicated towards the ideas of life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness. Let’s not turn this day into the justification for bigotry, hypocrisy and laughter at the loss of innocent lives. I once interviewed several Muslim-Americans about being Muslim in America, and to quote one of them, “There are some unfortunate people who made Islam have a bad name. It’s ridiculous that people have this idea that every single Muslim they come into contact with is going to be an extremist baboon.”

Rest in peace, the 2,977 victims of a terrible attack on our nation. And rest in peace, the 107 victims of an unfortunate crane collapse.

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