A year after Peshawar APS massacre; Islamophobia and yes, Humanity Trumps All

Rev Joe Robinson-Boston-APS-Islamophobia

Rev. Joe Robinson of the Christ Church of Cambridge addressing the gathering in solidarity with Peshawar APS victims, and Muslims. Photo: Beena Sarwar

Last Sunday as we geared up to commemorate the Peshawar APS massacre of Dec 16, 2014, when Taliban killed 144 schoolchildren, a bomb blast in Shia-majority Parachinar at the lunda bazar (second-hand market) killed over 22 people, most of them poor. We talked about that at our gathering that afternoon at Harvard Square where Reverend Joe Robinson and members of the Christ Church in Cambridge joined us in solidarity, as did many others from the local Pakistani and Indian communities. Rabbi Neal Gold of Temple Shir Tikvah couldn’t join us but we read out his letter of support and solidarity to the Islamic Center of Boston.

Many friends joined us from another rally in Providence, R.I., an hour away, attended by some 3-400 people of all faiths, including Muslim, Jewish, Christian and agnostics.

Here’s a link to a piece I wrote for Scroll.in on the issue: #NeverForget: A year after Peshawar school attack, voices rise in solidarity around the world

Signing cards for APS at Boston rally

Participants at the Cambridge, MA, remembrance for APS sign cards in sympathy and solidarity with the victims’ families. Photo: Beena Sarwar

Also below, the different venues where people gathered later that week to commemorate a year after the massacre #APSmassacre #NeverForget

– Peshawar – Tuesday 15 December 14:00 – Press Club
– Islamabad – Wednesday 16 December 15:00 – 17:00 , D Chowk , hosted by Aurat Foundation and EVAWG Alliance.
Karachi – Wednesday 16 December17:00 Shaheen Complex
– Lahore – Wednesday 16 December – 16:00 – Liberty Roundabout
Toronto – Wednesday 16 December18:00 Consulate General of Pakistan.
London – Wednesday 16 December18:30 Marble Arch
Washington DC – Wednesday 16 December19:30 at Dupont Circle Fountain.

Statement shared at the gathering on Dec 13, 2015, at Harvard Square, Cambridge, MA (Boston area)

Humanity Trumps All

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Members of the Christ Church of Cambridge stand in solidarity at the remembrance for APS Peshawar victims and against Islamophobia. Photo: Ken Shulman

We stand against attempts to subvert our common humanity in the name of religion, politics, nationalism or any other ideology

A year ago, on Dec 16, 2014, Taliban attacked the Army Public School in Peshawar, Pakistan. They gunned down school children, killing 144 students and several teachers, wounding many  others. This was one of the most brutal attacks in Pakistan where militants have killed some 50,000 civilians and 10,000 military personnel over the last decade.
 
Today on Dec 13, as we American and Pakistani Muslims and friends gather to commemorate the massacre of schoolchildren in Peshawar a year ago, another bomb blast claimed over 22 lives (and counting) in the town of Parachinar, Pakistan, on the border with Afghanistan.
 
The ideology behind these attacks is the same that lies behind many other attacks that have claimed headlines around the world – in New York, Paris, Beirut, Madrid, London, Mumbai, Bali, San Bernardino, and countless other places.
 
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Pakistani Americans, poet Irfan Malik and artist Ambreen Butt at the Cambridge rally. Photo: Ken Shulman

The militants claim to act in the name of Islam, yet they kill innocents, including Muslim women and children, and Muslims of different sects whom the extremists consider to be non-Muslims. These fanatics have killed more Muslims than non-Muslims in their quest for political power since 9/11.

 
We unequivocally condemn these senseless attacks committed in the name of religion. These are heinous crimes that go against all principles of humanity. Such barbarity has no place in the civilized world.
 
The motive behind these attacks, whether in Pakistan or Lebanon, Paris or America, is the same: to terrorize innocents and create chaos. Militants feed on the fear and divisions in the community in order to push their hate narrative and further polarize society.
 
We refuse to allow that to happen. We stand against attempts to subvert our common humanity in the name of religion, politics, nationalism or any other ideology.
  • We reject the radicalization of Islam or any other religion. The cancer of extremism has to be eradicated.
  • We stand united against the forces that are trying to hijack Islam, a religion that 1.4 billion Muslims peacefully follow.
  • We assert that religion is a personal matter and no one has the right to impose their version upon anyone else.
  • We refuse to allow the use of religion for political or business agendas.
  • We condemn and reject the radicalization of political thought in America and elsewhere. Violent and extremist political rhetoric leads to violent and extreme actions. It de-humanizes a community and encourages some to feel justified in attacking ‘the other’.
We saw this in Europe when the Fascists targeted Jews and Gypsies. We saw Americans of Japanese heritage targeted and interned during WWII. We saw the “communist” witch-hunt of the 1950s. We remember the origin of the term witch hunt, stemming from the persecution of alleged witches, burnt at the stake in the name of religion.
 
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Demonstrators at the Cambridge rally. Photo: Ken Shulman

History is replete with such examples. Today the target is Muslims.

 
Countless individuals have been attacked, intimidated and threatened in public places just for being or ‘looking like’ Muslims.
 
We stand with those who refuse to allow this witch-hunt mentality to prevail today. It is out of place in our value system. It violates the Constitution that ensures freedom, liberty and justice for all. We reject rhetoric in the name of religion or politics that polarizes communities, making them weak from within.
 
Endorsed by the following organizations (alphabetical order, list being updated):
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One Response

  1. Great article with treasure of information which can be the reason to find solution to such problems

    Like

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