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Don’t blame the Muslim world for America’s own failings

The massacre of 59 people at a concert in Las Vegas was “an act of pure evil,” declared President Donald Trump. We all know that this kind of behavior is an act of evil, but why has evil, especially violence that targets innocent people, been so active in recent years? The entire world, including the US, is probably guilty of stimulating evil acts — or is at least neglecting to deal with these evil incidents properly.
The initial assumption made by many Americans that a “Muslim terrorist” was behind the Las Vegas shooting does not come as a shock to us Muslims. What truly surprises me, however, is that the US is not addressing its own internal challenges. American citizens continue to perceive their challenges from the narrow perspective of their party political affiliations, with Democrats believing that Republicans are the cause of many problems, and vice versa. Neither party seems willing to accept that US society has its own incremental problems that are unrelated to party ideology.
Most Western citizens believe in the principle of cause and effect. When faced with an unsatisfactory result, they try to revisit the cause to better understand its consequences. They work on understanding the motivations behind a terrorist’s behavior, but never work on preventing its repetition.
Westerners tend to perceive world dynamics in terms of the domino effect, completely discarding the notion that a given environment can influence people’s behavior and the acts that they commit, regardless of this succession theory. The universal dilemma we face today is the inability to truly and effectively tackle the spread of violence and terrorism in many parts of the world.
Unintentionally and unconsciously, world citizens today have become either the victims or the perpetrators of countless violent and terrorist incidents. We are affected by many unjust events, which individuals comprehend and decipher according to their personal outlooks, very often deciding to act irrationally when they are vulnerable. We, the ordinary citizens of the world, are powerless in the face of almost all the tragedies that are taking place — which a handful of world leaders are either triggering or not truly working on preventing.

As the Las Vegas shooting showed, many in the West presume that a terrorist is either a Muslim or an Islamist extremist because this relieves them from having to deal with their internal challenges.

Mohammed Nosseir

Western politicians and scholars initially explore whether a suspected terrorist is affiliated to any international terrorist organization or originates from a Muslim country. Where such connections don’t exist, they tend to accept what has happened as a domestic social defect that should not be allowed to affect the freedom and the lifestyle that they enjoy. Sadly, many in the West presume that a terrorist is either a Muslim or an Islamist extremist because this relieves them from having to deal with their own internal challenges.
The debatable gun laws that permit US citizens to carry guns not only give them the advantage of using their guns when faced with a crisis; they also toughen people’s state of mind, allowing them to use the weapons option rather than solve their conflicts peacefully. In my opinion, US domestic policy on the right to bear arms somehow reflects that country’s international policy of interference, and the many incidents in which Washington decides to use military power before exhausting all peaceful options. The recent debate between the US president and his secretary of state on the best method for addressing the North Korean crisis is a clear example of the “Negotiation vs. Power” dilemma.
The US needs to revisit many of its internal policies and external engagements. Banning people from several Muslim-majority countries from entering the US won’t solve any of the country’s internal challenges, while integrating Muslims and other immigrants into American society would better harmonize society. Citizens and nations go through tremendous struggles that affect their behavior; allowing either to enhance their gun purchases in peacetime may lead to the misuse of gun power in tense situations.
The entire universe needs to work on developing a strategy, not only to combat terrorism, but also to address its causes and work on preventing its occurrence in the first place. We need to develop and reinforce channels of dialogue among nations, as well as between nations and their citizens; this kind of dialogue is almost non-existent. We should not leave the most challenging issue of the 21st century in the hands of a few world leaders. World citizens have the capacity to contribute much more than blood to arrest the spread of this dilemma.

Mohammed Nosseir, a liberal politician from Egypt, is a strong advocate of political participation and economic freedom.
Twitter: @MohammedNosseir