As the world watched the shocking images of American journalist, James Foley being beheaded by a member of the Islamic State of Iraq and al-Sham (ISIS), Muslims rightfully condemned the act as unIslamic. Islam prides itself in its treatment of prisoners and non-combatants based on the sayings of the Prophet Muhammad and Caliphs that came after, who showed mercy and protection to women, children, the elderly and even trees – these are evidently being ignored by ISIS.
Whilst most modern armies and governments would fail miserably in trying to emulate such a high standard of prisoner welfare which Islam teaches, it came as no surprise when the most powerful man in the free world stated God’s stance on the crime which Foley fell victim to. President Barack Obama said in a press conferenceyesterday that Foley’s execution was a “shock of conscience” and “no just God will stand for what they [ISIS] did.” Upon hearing those words I nearly choked on my sandwich. My immediate reaction was to throw a slipper at the telly after hearing such an audacious lie and blatant statement of hypocrisy. Unless, like his predecessor, G.W.Bush who claimed God ordered him to invade Iraq, Obama has clearly forgotten his own blood drenched crimes.
I wonder if a ‘Just God’ would stand for U.S. drone attacks in the tribal areas ofPakistan, Afghanistan and Yemen where hundreds of innocent women and children have been killed in schools and wedding ceremonies. Maybe Obama’s ‘Just God’ stood by him whilst his administration authorises 3 million dollars of military aid every year to Israel, advanced weapons to be tried and tested on Gaza. Is it possible that this ‘Just God’ gave the green light to the ongoing police brutality against unarmed African American teenagers in the state of Missouri?
As for “shock of conscience” – where was Jiminy Cricket when Obama silently consented to a military coup led by Abdel Fattah al-Sisi, whose forces killed more than a thousand peaceful supporters of Egypt’s first democratically elected president? I take it there is no shock of conscience when President Obama witnesses the violent butchery of Muslims in Central African Republic, Burma, Syria and Kashmir? And how can we forget America’s compassionate treatment of prisoners in Abu Ghraib, Bagram and Guantanamo? Clearly innovative torture techniques like waterboarding, mock executions, sexual assault, sleep and sensory deprivation, temperature extremes, pressure positions, and the use of dogs to strike fear into prisoners was no shock to Mr Obama’s conscience.
We have witnessed this kind of empty rhetoric from world leaders when it concerns their own citizens. President Obama quite swiftly shed a few tears when American children were killed at Sandy Hook Elementary School, but where were his tears when drones killed up to 200 children in Pakistan since 2009? It is almost as if murdering hundreds of civilians is acceptable as long their names and faces are unknown, but the murder of a single westerner, whose face and name will be on the front pages of every newspaper, is an act of barbaric terrorism.
There has to be a balanced approach by world leaders and humans in general to the death of civilians irrelevant of race, ethnicity, nationality or religion. President Obama’s selective wording in which crimes a ‘Just God’ would stand by and stand against is as farcical as his statements on global peace and stability.
The beheading of James Foley, a non-combatant journalist was wrong for so many reasons. However, the bombing of entire villages/towns with predator drones and F-16s, dismembering civilians is a completely different level of barbarity dressed up in political niceties of ‘fighting terrorism’.