Thanks New Zealand!

The world has been shocked by a series of horrific events these past years, and it is unfortunate to say that terrorism is not going anywhere for a while. Nonetheless; the way in which world leaders address this sensitive issue differs in terms of objectivity. Some leaders tend to be extremely subjective and only allow themselves and national media outlets to attach the adjective “terrorist” to “Muslim extremists”, as if a part of its definition is that the person has to be a Muslim.

This idea may sound like whining to some, or at least exaggerated to a Western reader, but the irony is that the problem with this particular stereotype is actually prevalent in Arab news media outlets and newspapers. To be exact, horrendous terrorist attacks that take place by non-Muslims are referred to as “acts of aggression” and never by what these acts truly are -”terrorism”. However, Jacinda Ardern changed that. The Prime Minister of New Zealand Jacinda Ardern officially addressed the issue as a “terrorist attack”, making a long-awaited miracle finally happen, which is calling an extreme act of violence against civilians done by a non-Muslim an act of “TERRORISM”.

New Zealanders have sung songs of sorrow in front of the mosque, placed flowers, offered to walk Muslims to the mosque and have even given them a drive back home. They are protesting against white supremacy by carrying signs that say “This is not NZ”. As a Muslim, I have personally felt a great warmth in my heart to see how New Zealanders have emphasized with the friends and families of the victims of that horrendous terrorist attack by Brenton Tarrant, the Australian terrorist, who cowardly chose to attack during Friday prayers, in which all the worshippers’ backs were turned against the front door.

The white supremacist terrorist had also written on his modified gun the historical dates and names of figures relating to European Dark Age holy wars against Muslims. The 28-year-old terrorist expressed his promise to his community that he will execute his terrorist attack on many occasions. And the world can now feel a lot safer to learn that he was stating these promises in video and textual forms using social media platforms that did not inform law enforcement about his admissions, and only deleted his account after he had all the time he needed to carry out his devilish plan and upload it fully via live stream.

Needless to say, Tarrant has admitted by his own volition that the main source of his inspiration was Donald J Trump’s racially insensitive, politically incorrect and hateful speeches. However, there is more to the story than what it seems, as like in all stories – there are both heroes and villains. Abdulaziz, an Afgan Muslim who was late for Friday prayers was outside the mosque when the shooting started.

In an interview with TRT World, he said: “At first I thought someone was playing with firecrackers, then I thought it was ISIS…I didn’t feel any fear in me, I just wanted to save as many people as possible….I knew that shotguns had limited amount of bullets.” So he courageously started following the terrorist and screamed swear words at him, then began ducking down between the cars when the attacker rushed outside with the intention to murder Abdulaziz.

Brenton knew that Abdulaziz only meant to distract him. Failing to detect Abdulaziz, Brenton jumped into his car, but to his surprise, Abdulaziz showed up again, and started throwing projectiles at the car. Abdulaziz was trying to give even more time for the victims to flee and for police forces to arrive. Regardless of the fact that he was risking his life, Abdulaziz succeeded in doing so.

By Jeri Al-Jeri

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