#NotJustANumber: ISIS attacks in Istanbul, Dhaka, Medina, and Baghdad
In the last week of the Muslim holy month of Ramadan, ISIS attacked multiple targets within predominately Muslim countries. On June 28th, the Atatürk airport in Istanbul was bombed. On July 1st, militants took hostages and executed shoppers in a bakery in Dhaka. On July 3rd, a bomb went off in a crowded shopping center in Baghdad. And on July 4th, three separate locations in Saudi Arabia were bombed, including the burial place of the Prophet Muhammad in Medina, the second holiest site in Islam. These attacks have been seen as retaliation for the significant loses that ISIS has suffered in the past two years.Many Muslims pointed out that the recent attacks show that ISIS is at war with "true Islam," rather than representing it. They point to the fact that the attacks in Saudi Arabia happened at the place where the prophet Mohammad is said to be buried, and that the attacks have happened during Ramadan when Muslims should be fasting and praying. Even Hezbollah, the Taliban, and other militant groups have condemned the attacks.Others expressed frustration that the world doesn't seem to mourn as deeply when Muslims are the victims of terrorism. The Western media tends to weigh heavily on tragedies that impact Western countries but it doesn't give the same attention to those in other parts of the world. For the 250 people who died in Baghdad there was no wave of Facebook profile pictures with the Iraqi flag, or even a Facebook safety check. #PrayforIraq did not trend worldwide. There were no candle light vigils in major western cities attended by thousands of people. Landmarks around the world did not light up in red, white, and black. And far fewer world leaders and celebrities offered their prayers and condolences or even mentioned the attack. The same is true for the attacks in Istanbul, Dhaka, and Medina. Perhaps the lack of sympathy has to do with the perception that the Middle East is a perpetual war zone, as it is often portraying in the media.When the May bombings in Baghdad happened, we at Euphrates resolved that "we must not become numb to these events or accept them as the new 'normal.' We must continue striving to see humanity as the norm." The same is still true. We must recognize the shared humanity with our brothers and sisters in Iraq, Turkey, Saudi Arabia, and Bangladesh as equal to the humanity of our brothers and sisters in North America, Europe, and Australia. It is our humanity which unites us, not our place of birth.In the past few days, some have tried to refocus on the humanity of the victims. Mustafa al-Najafi, an Iraqi man living in London, created the hashtag #NotJustANumber to highlight some of the stories of the bombing victims. The stories are indeed heartbreaking, but they are important. They remind us that the victims are not a faceless "other" and truly do deserve our thoughts, prayers, and actions to end the cycle of violence and hate.AJ+ highlighted one victim in particular, a 23-year-old dancer, Adil Faraj, who 'just wanted to fly.'As Ruba Ali Al-Hassani put it, they are "Law students, high school students, entrepreneurs, pharmacists... fiances, husbands, wives... and children. Musicians, dancers, painters, and athletes... professionals, students, faculty, and stay-at-home moms. Grandmas, Grandpas & parents... favourite cousins, cool uncles & siblings... colleagues, acquaintances & BFFs." You can see more stories by clicking #NotJustANumber.