No Terrorists In Belgrade

In the Name of God, the Most Merciful, the Most Compassionate

On Thursday, February 21, protesters in Belgrade, Serbia protested the declaration of independence of Kosovo, the former province of Serbia. The protests became violent, and mobs attacked and set fire to the U.S. Embassy in Belgrade.

Slobodan Samardzic, the Serbian minister responsible for Kosovo, blamed the U.S. for the violence: “The root of the violence is the violation of international law. The Serbian government will continue to call on the US to take responsibility for violating international law and taking away a piece of territory from Serbia.”

The violence was condemned by the U.N. Security Council unanimously: “[The U.N. Security Council condemns] in the strongest terms the mob attacks against embassies in Belgrade.”

I agree: it was terribly tragic what happened in Serbia, and one person was killed. Yet, I cannot help but notice something: no where, in any mention of the violence, was the word “terrorism” mentioned. Nowhere. There were no terrorists in Belgrade.

Contrast this, however, with the embassy violence in Damascus in response to the Danish cartoons against the Prophet Muhammad (pbuh). When that equally tragic incident occurred, everyone shouted “terrorism.” In Damascus, there were tons of terrorists.

Now, I know, the declaration of independence of Kosovo is not on the same plane as some cartoons published in an obscure, right-wing newspaper in Denmark. I agree wholeheartedly.

Yet, in both cases, protests – which are perfectly legitimate – turned ugly and violent – which is completely illegitimate. Yet, in the one case, they are called “angry mobs,” and in the other case, they are called “terrorists.” Something is wrong with this picture.

It just highlights the double standard when it comes to Muslims. More often than not, they are called terrorists, but if a non-Muslim commits the same crime, he is not a terrorist. This is wrong. Of course, if a Muslim straps a bomb on his (or her) chest and blows themselves up in a crowd of innocent human beings, then that is terrorism. It is the textbook definition.

Yet, I can almost guarantee you, if a non-Muslim does the exact same thing: he will not be called a terrorist. No, he will probably be called “deranged,” “mentally ill,” “disturbed,” or something to that effect. But, not a terrorist.

This is wrong. A terrorist is a terrorist: no matter what the religion, or race, or ethnicity. And terrorists come in all flavors. Let us always remember that.


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