Monday, June 13, 2016

The Massacre in Orlando

 Nasir Khan, June 13, 2016

The massacre of so many innocent people at the hands of Omar Mateen, a 29-year-old US citizen was a deplorable and savage act. What made him commit such a horrendous crime is not clear. The pieces of information we saw on the telescreens show him to have been a mentally unstable and violent person. Only the psychologists or criminologists may come up with  some further clarification of his behaviour, but one thing is clear. He acted alone. Will we escape the usual practice where a crime committed by a person belonging to Islamic religion is attributed to his religion and by implication, all Muslims are stigmatised?

We should also keep in mind that such random killings are common in the United States. People kill people for fun or shoot innocent people if they want to. In the United States, violence is glorified and getting weapons is so easy; therefore, such crimes as the massacre in Orlando are not exceptional. The only distinctive nature of the present crime is the large number of people who fell victims.

However, America is not the only country where violence and killings are common. For instance, in Pakistan sectarian killings are common. Religious fanatics, mostly belonging to the majority Sunni sect, target Shias, Ahmadis and other religious minorities. The burning of some young girls alive recently shows the force of inhuman traditions and customs of patriarchal society and its coercive methods. Then, come the Taliban and other Islamist militant groups on the scene who target people to advance their version of Islamic state under a pristine Islam that existed in the Arabia of the seventh century AD.

The massacre in Orlando also shows that police or security agencies cannot prevent the actions of individuals who want to commit such crimes as Omar Mateen did. This is an inescapable sad reality.

Much has to change socially and politically both at local, regional and global levels to combat violent crimes. However, there is no sign of any such movement towards that direction.

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