The character and the perspective that we possess today is a manifestation of thousands of experiences and interactions that happened during our lifetime. Ideally, what we really want to be, is shaped by a process of slow evolution of opinions, thoughts, actions, evaluations and inferences on what is right and what is wrong for us.
Unfortunately, this is not always the case. Most of us have our ‘40 seconds of blindness’ – where we ponder on a thought, which is completely contradicting basic rationale and pure thinking process. Often in a deliberate way, we imbibe some attributes or viewpoints and in later stages mould them in a way, when whatever counter-arguments that crop up in our minds is quashed by our clouding prejudice.
For Muslims in India and in the rest of the world, this 40 seconds of blindness often comes in the form of a man who proclaims a careless remark which suddenly becomes a turning point in their lives. It might be as trivial as statements like “Hindus worship devils” or “Christians are trying to wipe out Islam”. Being brought up as a Muslim, I have heard such statements more than once and it was there in the back of my mind as I grew up, interacted with people, made friends(incidentally, most of them Hindus) and without myself knowing it, those seemingly innocuous remarks were wiped out from my mind as rubbish. It is important to note that it is not a philosophical evaluation or the need for strong ideals, which results in such a development. It is just basic human nature of choosing what you think is right rather than having to refer to a book or a person who claims to be knowledgeable on distinguishing between the right and wrong.
It is rather unfortunate and disappointing to admit, atleast from my personal experience that, many Muslims do sympathize with Muslim terrorists. It is amazing how the very fact that these people actually “kill” is overlooked by a less obvious fact that they are Muslims. If McDonalds has managed to appeal to the health-conscious just by putting a few ads of slim and healthy looking people, then we shouldn’t be surprised on how these cold-blooded criminals were successful in positioning themselves as saviours or martyrs of Islam.
Every man without a purpose in life, with access to weapons and susceptible to the ‘40 seconds of blindness’ is a potential terrorist. Shoot down 10 of them and the 20 who are watching will only take up the cause. I believe, if we take initiatives on providing these people with opportunities and a good cause to live, the chances of them pursuing violence is minimal. And ofcourse, while teaching our children the values of our religion, they should be told that the shock and revulsion that they feel when they see a bleeding man, whichever religion he belongs to, is because killing a person is wrong. No cause can justify that.