My heart sank when my mum uttered the words "Did you hear about Paris?" It sank further when I heard about Baghdad and Beirut. I felt the same sickness in my gut I felt when I heard about the two attacks that happened in my own country. It seems as though the world is falling apart right now, and while I have met one or two people who greet the news of these attacks with an apathy and resigned shrug which says it's not shocking anymore that people are dying in such horrible ways, most people are just as saddened and hurt as I am.
What is uplifting however in this time of hatred and terror is the messages of peace and acceptance coming from every day citizens. As one who can still remember clearly where I was when the September 11 attacks happened, I know that for the longest time, the word Muslim was a dirty word. This time, not so much. This time we are more educated, We know who the real enemy is, and it is not the Muslims of the world. Hashtag movements like #illridewithyou and #notinmyname let the world know that the terrorists still haven't won as long as normal people like you and I show compassion and love in times of great fear. As long as we keep in mind that this is not a war against a religion, but a war against extremists, good will always prevail, no matter how many attacks ISIS want to claim responsibility for, or how much they try to scare us into rejecting Muslims.
For a complete and concise explanation as to what exactly it is we are dealing with, the best person to ask is Waleed Aly. He is an Australian newscaster, and he is also a Muslim. He used his power as a television personality to educate the people of Australia as to who the enemy is, and his words need to be heard by everyone.
So please, watch this video, hear his words, share it with your friends, and above all, don't give hatred a chance.
My thoughts and prayers are with the people of Paris, Beirut, Baghdad, Syria, and every other country that is being affected by extremists and terrorists alike.