Muslim lives don’t matter: why we don’t hear much about the Mina Massacre, or the one in Nigeria

TEHRAN, Dec. 18 (MNA) – I used to think that the pseudoscientific theory of social Darwinism has been over for years. Seems it’s live and kicking in the depths of the minds of most of us!

A long title; but it would have got longer if I had decided to add the names of all the other places where Muslims are dying in large numbers and nobody seems to care: Iraq, Afghanistan, Palestine, Syria, Yemen... So I thought to remain focused on the most recent crimes against humanity, if Muslims are considered human beings at all.

Thinking about the recent events in Nigeria, where hundreds of Muslims have been killed, and the prominent Shia cleric Sheikh Ibrahim al-Zakzaky has been injured and arrested, the by now famous slogan: “Black Lives Matter” came to my mind. Faced with the apparent lack of respect for the lives of black people, African Americans came up with a simple, three word sentence that says it all.

I used to think that the pseudoscientific theory of social Darwinism has been over for years. Seems it’s live and kicking in the depths of the minds of most of us! So, white people are at the top, especially if they are European or American. The whole world is in grief when a few journalists are killed at the Charlie Hebdo headquarters, or a few hundred people are terrorized in Parisian restaurants, cafes and stadiums. But have you ever heard about the one thousand or so people who met their gradual and painful death in the Hajj pilgrimage, due to Saudi mismanagement (no, it was not a stampede!), or about the one thousand African Muslims slain the other day in Nigeria? No one is changing their social media status to “Je suis Nigeria” or anything like that. That’s because, generally speaking, Muslim lives do not matter. Muslims are near the bottom of the hierarchy, and black Muslims, I guess, are the very last group!

I really don’t like to enter the numbers wars, where the number of our slain is compared to yours, to prove that we are the real victims, something like what ensued in the aftermath of the Holocaust, where certain Jewish-Zionist organizations (and not Jewish people) started a battle to prove that the Holocaust was the single most evil crime against humanity, because six million Jews were killed. And no other nation is allowed, ever, to make a similar claim, because it was six million. I believe that numbers do not necessarily demonstrate the severity of the crime. As Islam teaches us, killing one human being is equivalent to killing humanity, and the text states clearly: human being and humanity, not Muslims, believers, or anything like that: “For that cause We decreed for the Children of Israel that whosoever killeth a human being for other than manslaughter or corruption in the earth, it shall be as if he had killed all mankind, and whoso saveth the life of one, it shall be as if he had saved the life of all mankind” (Surat l-Maidah, verse 32)[1].

 So my point is not to complain about the high numbers of those killed in Mina or Nigeria as opposed to those in France or America, since spilling the blood of one innocent civilian is enough to burry one into deep sorrow. I do not want to complain why people are shocked at, angry with, and expressing grief at terrorism in the West, but to question why similar attention is not paid to civilians getting killed in other places on the globe. Why do we not hear a single news article or analysis of the massacre that the Nigerian army has just committed? Why is it that a government that is helpless in confronting a terrorist like Boko Haram is able to massacre one thousand people in one day? Do we not have a responsibility towards all of humanity?

Part of the answer to these questions lies with the concept of representation. The media, through their full coverage of atrocities committed by barbaric groups like al-Qaeda and ISIS, have managed to instill a stereotypic image of Muslims in people’s minds. Muslims are the ones who blow themselves up for no acceptable reason, and don’t have any respect for human lives, whether it be the lives of fellow Muslims or of infidels, or even their own lives. As the infamous Aladdin lyrics put it, Muslims are the barbaric people who “…cut off your ear, If they don't like your face[2]. So, why should anyone care about such violent, death-loving beings? They are less than human, and death and bloodshed has always been part of their everyday lives. You might not hear such sentiments expressed explicitly (although nowadays, people like Donald Trump have managed to raise the threshold for overtly racist and Islamophobic language), but lack of concern for Muslim lives that are lost in large numbers reflects that such beliefs are implicitly held by many.

The situation is extremely bleak, and no optimistic future seems to await us, unless we decide to make change. We here refers to both the Muslim and the Western worlds. As the Iranian Leader’s first letter to Western youth suggested, remedy for the mistrust and misconceptions that have existed for so long and are damaging the lives of all of us, can be obtained through a mutual endeavor towards more accurate understanding, and a reference to original sources to understand the true message of Islam. As long as Saudi supported Wahhabism is able to reflect itself as the manifestation of Islam, our troubles are going to worsen. This deadly ideology has been successful so far because of the liberties and privileges that the West has endowed it, it’s economic and political interconnectedness with Western governments, and the Muslim world’s lack of effort in representing the true face of their religion. The Western world has to realize that free and unrestricted access to oil is not worth the global bloodshed that the Saudis are financing. It has to disentangle itself from the World's largest exporter of terrorism!


Elham Kadkhodaee is a PhD candidate in North American Studies in University of Tehran and a regular contributor to Mehr News Agency.



[1] Pickthall English translation of the Holy Quran, at:



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