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World shows solidarity with Muslims, despite ISIS attack

POSTED: November 17, 2015 10:29 a.m.
Herb Scribner/

After the Paris shootings left more than 120 dead and 300 injured, many Muslims feared they'd be blamed. Instead, there was a sign of solidarity, despite ISIS taking credit for the attack.

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The world went into shock Friday night as at least seven gunmen opened fire throughout the city of Paris, killing at least 129 people and leaving more than 350 injured, which I wrote about this weekend.

On Saturday morning, the militant extremist group ISIS claimed responsibility for the attacks, BuzzFeed reported, and said that the Paris attacks were just the beginning.

This caused worry among Muslims, who were concerned that people would group Muslims with the Islamic State, according to The Huffington Post. Muslims of all sorts were “bracing for backlash” and “were preparing to be ‘collateral victims of terrorism,’” The Huffington Post reported.

But instead, many worked in solidarity to show that terrorism doesn’t have a religion and that Muslims shouldn’t be blamed for the attacks.

This was especially seen in France on Sunday, when about 3,000 people attended a multi-faith event called the "Rally with Muslims of France for Peace and National Unity,” according to The Huffington Post. Another 13,000 planned to attend the rally “Prayers for Paris,” while others said they’d attend the “I am Muslim, Daesh [ISIS] Is Not” event, according to The Huffington Post.

Similarly, the hashtags #TerrorismHasNoReligion and #MuslimsAreNotTerrorists trended worldwide on Twitter Saturday morning, with social media users calling “for avoiding the grouping together of extremist groups such as ISIS with the Muslim community as a whole,” Mashable reported.

Similarly, French students organized a campaign called #NousSommesUnis (#WeAreUnited), which included a video that aimed to show ISIS soldiers aren’t following Islamic practices, Quartz reported.

“They think they are fighting Crusaders, and they invoke the Qur’an, and quote its verses. But shedding the blood of an innocent has no justification… not in Islam or anywhere,” a narrator said in the video below.

And the hashtag #NotInMyName also hoped to teach people not to group Muslims in with members of the Islamic State, according to The Huffington Post.

This hashtag started last September from the Active Change Foundation, a London-based group that wanted to show British Muslims challenging ISIS’ extremism, according to The Huffington Post.

But these hashtags and social media campaigns have been met with criticism, according to The Huffington Post. Some say that these messages “could further propagate stereotypes” about Muslims and extremism.

Also, some have questioned the validity of the social media users’ claims that ISIS and Islamic believers are different from each other, specifically the notion that ISIS members don’t believe in Islam. As New Republic reported on Monday, there’s been an ongoing debate over the last few years about whether or not the Islamic State follows Islamic practices.

“Here, after all, is a group that calls itself Islamic State; that claims the support of Islamic texts to justify its medieval punishments, from the stoning of adulterers to the amputation of the hands of thieves; and that has a leader with a Ph.D. in Islamic studies who declares himself to be a ‘caliph,’ or ruler over all Muslims, and has even renamed himself in honour of the first Muslim caliph, Abu Bakr,” New Republic reported.

Even Graeme Wood of The Atlantic wrote in March 2015 that the Islamic State follows Islamic beliefs.

“Virtually every major decision and law promulgated by the Islamic State adheres to what it calls — in its press and pronouncements, and on its billboards, license plates, stationery and coins — ‘the Prophetic methodology,’ which means following the prophecy and example of Muhammad, in punctilious detail,” Wood wrote.

Wood also explained that ISIS may be a darker version of Islam, but it is still Islamic and needs to be addressed as such.

"Muslims can reject the Islamic State; nearly all do," Wood wrote. "But pretending that it isn’t actually a religious, millenarian group, with theology that must be understood to be combatted, has already led the United States to underestimate it and back foolish schemes to counter it. We’ll need to get acquainted with the Islamic State’s intellectual genealogy if we are to react in a way that will not strengthen it, but instead help it self-immolate in its own excessive zeal."

Still, experts seem to agree that the Islamic State uses the Islamic religion to recruit members. In fact, William McCants wrote for Foreign Affairs earlier this year that ISIS will purposefully avoid certain aspects of Islamic scripture and only use parts that fit their agenda to recruit members and justify attacks.

“Indeed, even the ultratextualist followers of the self-proclaimed Islamic State ignore scripture that is inconvenient for their brutal brand of insurgency,” McCants wrote for Foreign Affairs.

That’s why we’ve seen all sorts of people from across the world and different religious backgrounds come together to mourn for France and show support for Muslims.

In fact, many French imams, or Islamic leaders, gathered together to sing the national anthem outside the Bataclan theater — one of the areas of the shooting — on Sunday, The Guardian reported.

And it’s that national anthem that may have the most important message of all for people around the world in how they support France and its people in this tragic time.

"Sacred love of the fatherland, lead, support our avenging arms,” the song goes. “Liberty, cherished liberty, fight with thy defenders. Under our flags, may victory hurry to thy manly accents, may thy expiring enemies, see thy triumph and our glory."
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