The vast majority of terrorists’ victims are Muslims. One poll after the other reassures that citizens of Arab/Muslim countries are against what the jihad-inspired terrorists do. But why is there so little public reaction against terrorists especially if most of the victims are Muslims? The answer is threefold: denial, sense of victimhood and lack of religious reformation.
Many in the Arab/Muslim world would rather keep their eyes shut towards certain realities that they don’t like, including the fact that there are psychopathic bloodthirsty maniacs who call themselves Muslims. Denial mixed with chauvinism is huge in the Arab/Muslim world: we follow the best religion, we don’t have any homosexuals, we don’t have kids having premarital sex and definitely we don’t have terrorists. Denial is a river that runs across the Arab/Muslim world and not just in Egypt.
Sense of victimhood:
It is more comfortable to be confined in your sense of victimhood than look in the mirror and admit that something is wrong with you. This is how the Arab/Muslim world is reacting. It is so cocooned in the impression that the entire world is conspiring against it and it would rather indulge in that feeling than embrace the painful admission that there is something wrong, something rotten, within it. This is the reason why massive demonstrations would erupt when Israel attacks Gaza and kills Palestinians or when some Danish cartoonist draws the Prophet yet the massacre of school kids in Peshawar by the Taliban would trigger a much feebler response. Following the Peshawar massacre, moments of silence were held across schools in India; it was business as usual in Egyptian schools.
Lack of religious reformation:
Every religion believes that it is the best; however, what differentiates Islam from its fellow Abrahamic faiths is the lack of any critical thinking at the present moment. Christianity, after years of corrupt church rule, entered the furnace of critical thinking resulting in the Reformation. Jewish scholars produced various interpretations of their faith, ranging from the sane to the crazy. When a Jewish Orthodox magazine removed female politicians from the Paris March photo, the world did not freak out because the rest of the Jews made fun of that magazine. Islam does not have that at the moment because critical thinkers are killed, flogged or tarnished.
Islam that was once rich in scholarship and analysis got reduced to one puritanical line of thought that dominates the current religious discourse. This line of thought cannot revolt against terrorists because it shares many of the things that terrorists do and believe in. Take stoning the adulterer as an example. It is not practiced anywhere outside areas that are under the control of hardline extremists such as ISIS and the Taliban. Very few in the Arab/Muslim world would welcome the legislation of such a cruel punishment; however, very few would actually confidently say that it is not sanctioned by religion as a punishment for adultery. This is the problem. Stoning is mentioned in Islam’s religious texts just as it is mentioned in the Christian and Jewish holy books. Christians and Jews managed to find an interpretation that makes stoning an unacceptable behavior in today’s world, however, the Islamic religious discourse is still mired in the outdated interpretations of the ancient religious texts because critical thinkers, such as the Saudi blogger Raif Badawi, get flogged.
There won’t be a million man march in the Arab/Muslim world against terrorists because there is no strong religious counter argument to refute these terrorists.