Each time a perpetrator of violence in the west purports to be Muslim, there is no dearth of calls for the world's 1.6 billion Muslims to denounce these acts of hatred. The dominating narrative on the right is that one-sixth of the global population is somehow complicit in the actions of the small clusters of people who use Islam as a tool to justify violence.
What many choose to ignore is that the most frequent targets of Islamic extremists are Muslims themselves. After the terror attacks at Ataturk International Airport in Istanbul last week claimed at least 40 lives and injured more than 230, author and activist Iyad El-Baghdadi fired off a series of tweets that made clear how Islamophobes often miss the point in discussions about Islamic terrorists.
"Idiots the world over give ISIS a huge boost by aiding its narrative that it's representative of Islam and/or Islamic tradition," El-Baghdadi wrote. "ISIS kills Muslims. It crushes Muslim lives. It wants to dominate Muslims. We are the first and biggest victims of ISIS, always."
It's a truth that isn't as universally accepted as it should be. But many non-Muslims do indeed hold that view, and among them is journalist Xeni Jardin, who tweeted that exact sentiment over the weekend.
The response to Jardin's tweet was incredible. Overnight, there was an outpour of kind, grateful messages from Muslims all around the world who thanked her for her words and sent her love.
Taken aback by the positive responses, Jardin later tweeted that it was an indication of how heavily skewed the narrative has become against Muslims.
In stark contrast, Jardin noted that she received the most hatred from racists and white supremacists on social media.
"The volume of response was dizzying and frightening. I've been on the internet for a long time. I know that the mood surrounding a viral moment can shift at any time. Many Trump supporters and other racists responded to me, a fellow white American, with ugliness and threats," Jardin wrote in an op-ed for The Guardian about her tweet.
"I blocked the worst, muted the rest, and went on reading the amazing love coming out of accounts with Arabic in their handles."
Cover image via Eugenio Marongiu / Shutterstock.com