Feature Img

JIHADI saw the images of the aftermath of Colorado shooting in a place called WeiHai, Shandong Province in China. Late in the afternoon on Friday I had just gotten back to the hotel and was passing the lobby and someone called me over to watch TV with pictures and the breathless narrative by a blonde CNN Talking Head. The first thing that entered my mind is not sympathy with the victims or the sorrow for the whole situation. No, the first thing that entered my mind is that I hope this is not yet another act of senseless killings by some Jihadi!

I live in Colorado not far from the movie theatre. I have been to the movie theatre number of times and the senseless shooting was beginning to gnaw on me. But, who done it? As time went on CTV (China TV) launched into a long and boring discussion about the US gun culture. There I was trying to figure out if the shooter was a Jihadi or not? No answer was forthcoming from anywhere. It was late in Colorado so I decided not to bother family and friends. As time went on the news trickled out that a madman indeed has snuffed out 12 mostly young lives and injured some 58 people. The picture that is emerging is actually a no picture. Apparently a well-adjusted brilliant young man went on a murderous rampage. The reasons are murky at best. These sorts of things happen in America every now and then mainly because people who lose touch with reality are able to get lethal weapons and go on murderous binges. The Virginia Tech shooting, shooting of Congresswoman Gabi Gifford and many large and small incidents testify to this uniquely American tragedy.

Photo: Reuters
Photo: Reuters

I am against severe gun control laws in the US because the Second Amendment is clear on the rights of people to bear arms. What I agonise about is the inability of the system to stop people for acquiring veritable arsenals without so much raising an eyebrow. So, I guess we have to pay the price of the freedom with lives lost to senseless violence. This gets me back to the Jihadi murderous rampages. I kept wondering why I was so concerned about the Jihadi role in the Colorado killings.

With a start I realized I was worried about the impact on me in broad terms. As a Muslim American my life has definitely changed after 9/11. There has been fear and loathing at all levels against any Muslim sounding name, or someone that may look like a potential Muslim. FBI has launched and maintains a vigorous informant network in the mosques and religious schools. The snitches are paid to set up sting operations to snare the hapless aspirants of Jihadi mayhem and murder. Most recently, Rezwan Ferdaus, a would-be terrorist of Bangladeshi descent, has pleaded guilty to conspiring to destroy two little Federal buildings, um, the Pentagon and the US Capitol. He was caught by a sting operation. Now, it is virtually certain that he will face 17 years in Federal Penitentiary. As I was mulling these things over I realized I was in fear and loathing of the impact of a Jihadi killing spree on the immigrant communities, especially, the Muslim communities.

Ten years on from the days of 9/11 we are slowly getting back to whereby our names (Muslim names) do not automatically trigger additional scrutiny and verification. The Officialdom in the US has put in place all sorts of non-discriminatory policies and enforcement mechanism. As it has been the case for a fairly long time. It is a crime to discriminate against any person based on race, nationality, colour, gender and sexual orientation. Occasionally these are enforced with lots of fanfare. But, the fear and loathing of the general public a.k.a. Joe Six Pack is harder to abolish with a decree or a law. Anytime I went to a bar or a Football game people give me that indefinable suspicious look. For couple of years after 9/11, every time I tried to fly somewhere the airlines folks had to get clearance from the unseen folks in dark glasses. This was despite the fact that I have been a frequent flyer for over two decades.

6968980Now, at least I do not merit a second look at the airport. Actually I breeze through the airports as a Trusted Flyer and go through immigration without ever talking to a human being. I love those little ATM like machines that scans your Iris and says things like welcome home! I loathe the thought of getting back to the days when I would merit a second look because of my name or my religion. Even though I know it maybe justifiable. One has to only remember that all of the 9/11 hijackers were Muslims and it is probably normal for the population at large to be suspicious of people with similar names and faith. We in Bangladesh still treat the Biharis with disdain and contempt after 40 plus years. We simply deny these people any of the rights that they deserve because of perceived associative sins of their ancestors. This simply would not happen in a place like the United States.

America in general is a tolerant place and people are generally a forgiving lot. There are crazy people like the Colorado mass murderer who goes off every now and then. These defective people are triggered by some inner demon that is hard to predict and harder to control. In case of Mr. Holmes the truth may never be known. Here is apparently a brilliant guy pursuing a Ph. D. in one of the most difficult disciplines just has a meltdown of some sort that allowed him take so many lives in minutes. I have come to accept these acts as almost like natural disasters. These defective people go off and create mayhem. Unless we as Americans change our way of living and our worldview we just have to live with these periodic time bombs going off. However, it is so very different when it comes to Jihadi violence. The Jihadi violence is caused by defective philosophy and worldview and not a diseased mind. If the Jihadi violence is permitted to go on unanswered one ends up with limitless violence a la the tribal areas of Pakistan, Somalia and other hot spots. On top of that Jihadi violence disrupts the community that the practitioners of Jihadi violence seem to want to serve. If unchecked you get failed states like Pakistan and Somalia. Talk about a mind bender! Destroy the very communities that you wish to serve.

As I get ready to go back home to Colorado, my thoughts are with the victims and their families. I, however, cannot shake the loathing of some religio-philosophy based violence that is lurking just around the corner. Yes, I am carrying fear and loathing in head, maybe for the rest of my life.

Kayes Ahmed lives in Boulder, Colorado, USA with his three dogs. He runs a small yet global apparel and design business based in Boulder.

14 Responses to “Fear and loathing in Colorado and Jihadis in my head!”

  1. Kazi Saifuddin Hossain

    The US is in trouble! Kindly read the article “America’s descent into darkness: Slouching towards Nuremberg?” by Morris Berman at Counterpunch.org (New Age of Bangladesh as well). Also the write-up on the Colorado killing by Michael Maeillo published here earlier is an eye-opener for all of us. I had commented on that piece.

    What you are saying doesn’t make any sense.

  2. Ananya Rahman

    The extremists and jihadis need to be contained. There’s no two way about it.

  3. Farid Ahmed

    The vast majority of readers are not American citizens and are not overly sensitive to what happens to Mr. kayes when he travels, we have our own problems most of which can be traced back to the depraved stay of the ancestors of these very same societies that Mr. Kayes is finding comfort in.

    Characterization of Jihadi violence as a phenomenon is quite simplistic, Jihad in Islam also enjoins resistance to oppression and injustice, whether state sponsored or within own society. In Syria at the moment, if you are being shot at or shelled, one has obligation to resist with force and that will necessarily involve violence. While that is not a preferable choice, it is a necessary choice.

    In a society at peace, there is still oppression, injustice and violation of social limits imposed in religion. Resistance to these ills is enjoined and necessary, but people must understand the appropriate method. That comes with knowledge and understanding, knowledge that some societies are trying to systematically erase or close off avenues to acquire. Therein may be the answer to what ails the world.

    • Kayes Ahmed

      Farid Shahib: It is not about just my travels but also about economic well-being of both immigrants and the people of Bangladesh. Immigrants suffer in jobs, businesses and many other ways because of we are all tarred and feathered with Jihad and its acolytes! Jihad manifests in only violence. There may be other thoughts but it is synonymous with violence. I am sure the Colonial rule was depraved and exploitative but the Islamic invasion of India was just that, invasion and subjugation of the local populace. We can debate history all day long but the problem is what do we do here and now. The Jihadi violence can turn off a country’s engine. I know one specific case. A business associate of mine had 200 people office in Lahore, Pakistan. Mainly doing firmware for Integrated Circuits. As the violence started he was unable to send his technical team there and over time he had no choice but close the office down.There goes 200 good paying professional jobs. Similar things are happening in other sectors. So, I again say, these Jihadis are not doing God’s work, they are the reincarnations of Devil and must be treated as such.

      • Kazi Saifuddin Hossain

        I wish to differ on one point. Regarding your view of the ‘Islamic invasion of India’, the Muslim sovereigns were actually expanding their empires and not preaching Islam, as they had nothing to do with religion. Islam was in fact propagated by the Sufi Gnostic, which had a lasting effect on the people of this Sub-continent. They embraced Islam for this sole reason. Hence, your inference that there was an Islamic invasion is simply not true. It was an invasion of Muslim sovereigns and not Islam.

        The British, on the contrary, had to leave the region in the face of strong patriotic movements and their religion had very little effect on the people of the Sub-continent. In other words, very little conversion to Christianity took place here. People of this Sub-continent are mostly Hindus, with the second largest population being the Muslims. In this case you are not terming this as Christian invasion. Why blame Islamic religion for the misdeeds of some Muslims? You should shun the word ‘Islamic’ when you are referring to militancy and radicalism; because Christian rulers have been more cruel and barbaric in their conquests and colonization. And what about the Spanish Inquisition? The Nazis? The two world wars that were fought on Christian lands and that cost so many lives? Even in the time of the Crusades, the Christians invaded Arab lands; the Muslims didn’t invade Europe! Why are you not terming those as Christian invasions and Christian militancy?

  4. Syed E Husain

    Kayes Bhai: I agree with Mr. Bashirul Haq. Do not blame the Jihadis only. Today’s Jihadis are the result of Western double policies and the failure of the Muslim leaders to stand up to Western hypocrites.

  5. bashirul haq

    But don’t blame the Jihadis only. The Western world is also to be blamed.

  6. Ananya Rahman

    We are lucky that we don’t have psychos like Holmes in our country. Think of the mayhem serial killers or mentally deranged criminals could cause!

  7. Akram Hossain

    This was a good read. I remember the cold treatment that I used to get from fellow Americans following 9/11.

  8. uchhas

    America is likely to face similar painful situations over and over agin mainly because what they have done to the Muslims worldwide.

  9. Mozammel Haque

    Jihad is also a factor of faith in the religion of peace.

    And please note two contrasting words — peace and battle (Jihad).

    God pardon-if someone sees to force someone to be nude to perform porno recording here is a question of jihad — the battle.

    Now the word force — it is important to decide and identify.

    And for this only the constitutional bindings come into effect.

    What is a must in Bangladesh that may not be so in Saudi Arabia. What is a must in Saudi Arabia may not be so in Africa. So the factor of battle must be decided by the social and religious experts in the place of episode.

    And we are not having the best model man with us to decide for the battle and in this situation declaration of battle becomes a matter of most regional matter of religious practice.

    The battle against corruption in Bangladesh is an accepted truth but it is not applicable in Austria or Canada and there must be some other factor. Battle against AIDs in Africa is a truth but that is in Arab world is valueless because before AIDs is infected in someone the culprit will be beheaded.

    The right religion teaches us tolerance and its limit is only decided by the best model man.

    So this model man is the leader for this battle.

    • Golam Arshad

      MH: Can’t agree more! Let truth shine in and that will take care of the rest!

  10. Golam Arshad

    Kayes: The “Colorado Massacre” is , barbaric and horrendous. My heart goes out for the families of the victims. May their soul rest in peace.

Comments are closed.