#ParisAttacks: Blaming the refugees for the attacks on France is like blaming the victim for escaping the abuser

Published: November 14, 2015

A blood covered victim is assisted by a French police officer. PHOTO: REUTERS

As I write this, there are over 150 dead across Paris in one of the most revolting terrorist attacks in the history of France. Scenes are described as pure carnage. Reportedly, the attackers indiscriminately chopped (gunned) down innocent civilians with gunfire and explosives to horrific effect.

One witness inside the Bataclan simply said,

“It was a bloodbath.”

Another stated,

“They were shooting at us like we were birds.”

The Telegraph shared some stories of the lucky Parisians who escaped the theatre.

“Everyone got onto the ground. From that moment, instinct kicked in. With each volley you try to get as far away as possible from the gunmen – impossible to say how many, it all went by too quickly.

I tried, with some other people, to get onto the stage where there was an emergency exit on the right.

And there it was chaos, people were terrified, pleading to survive, and others pushed and pulled at us to get behind the stage.

We hid in a room on the right, by the stage, thinking that it was an exit, but no.

A member of staff in the room said that the emergency exit was on the other side of the room.

We still heard shooting. After a few more seconds or minutes, nothing, and we saw people edging towards the emergency exit – when I think about it, the gunmen must have been reloading at that point.

All of our group then decided to cross, passing behind the rear curtain. Then we found ourselves outside, and ran towards the boulevard.”

While further details will emerge with time, early reports clearly point to the origin of the terrorists. Reportedly, many of the shooters yelled “Allahu Akbar as they committed acts of violence, and some spoke of Syria and Iraq.

Watching the nauseating scenes unfold on BBC, CNN, Twitter, and Facebook, I felt sympathy for the victims as well as the entire nation of France itself. I was instantly taken back to the attack in Peshawar where around 140 school children were barbarically murdered in 2014.

French President François Hollande swiftly called a state of emergency, and ordered all borders to be closed. He condemned the ‘terrorist attacks of unprecedented proportions’, and vowed a swift retaliation.

Worrisome was the knee jerk response from experts on TV as well as social media blaming the refugees for these events. Already, there is talk of clamping down on the entry of refugees, when there should be more sympathy for their plight, after seeing first-hand what they try to run from.

We aren’t sure whether as of yet whether these militants came into France as refugees or not, but let’s assume they were, for argument’s sake. As the extremist chatter on Twitter reveals, France was most probably attacked by ISIS tonight. Regardless of how they came in, they clearly weren’t refugees. They were wolves in sheep’s clothing, and now we have taken to blame the sheep themselves.

The refugees who have fled Iraq and Syria in the thousands, of whom countless have perished in the seas including men, women, and little toddlers, have escaped the very sort of evil which attacked France.

For those who couldn’t understand why a refugee would find treacherous ‘water safer than land’, can perhaps find some appreciation after seeing on their television screens what these monsters are capable of. Just like the innocent Parisians who tried to escape Bataclan by any means necessary, the desperate refugees, through blood and tears, have travelled to Europe to survive the grasp of pure evil. To point a finger at them for the terrorist attacks is as inexcusable as grouping a victim with their attacker.

The last thing Europe should do is turn its back on refugees now. Like the Syrian baby Aylan Kurdi, there have been so many innocents who have faced unbearable tragedy. The world is at war and every victim deserves to be treated equally.

Noman Ansari

Noman Ansari

The author is the editor-in-chief of IGN Pakistan, and has been reviewing films and writing opinion pieces for The Express Tribune as well as Dawn for five years. He tweets as @Pugnate (twitter.com/Pugnate)

The views expressed by the writer and the reader comments do not necessarily reflect the views and policies of The Express Tribune.

  • rationalising argument.

    beggars always asking to protect their human rights from others while they themselves are abusing human rights of non muslims.Recommend

  • http://thoughtsandotherthing.blogspot.fr/2015/09/vegetarianism-ritual-killings-et-al.html Supriya Arcot

    Geez .. Ever the politically correct NA. Err . BTW whats the point of this well elucidated blog ?Recommend

  • Jayman

    Do you seriously think anybody will buy this? Islamic terrorism has to be rooted out and the terrorists don’t wear a badge identifying themselves.Recommend

  • Soul Speek

    Mark my words. This is the watershed moment against Islamic Terrorism. Henceforth life of muslims (including innocent ones) will be difficult. There will be widespread hatred against the community. Many people are saying that terrorists are not really muslims but the fact that almost all terrorists are muslims can’t be hidden.

    If general populace of muslims still do not rise up against their extremists fellows, then be prepared to face the collective wrath of whole world community. I might be sounding a bit harsh but it is a reality.

    Now there will be a widespread consensus in the EU to send back the refugees.Recommend

  • Ahmedi,Quadian,Punjab

    Dear Noman you are a good person but the fact is a clap is done by both hands…let us take the case of pakistan….pakistan is the champion of human rights of muslims around world…..lets see some hard facts…

    1.Killed 3 million bangla people and raped 2 lakh women and than 90,000 surrendered.
    2.Gave lot of kashmiri school children suicide bombs instead of giving books..sending terrorist to india and perpetrated mumbai….
    3.Zia-Ul-Haq killed 25000 palestine people..
    4.Made life hell for afghanistan than claims they are giving refuge to afghan people.
    5.Balochis/Mujahirs…
    6.London bombing..Faisal shahzad, Afiya siddiqui,Bangkok bombing..26/11 some perpetrators and planners were caught in pakistan,..Osama bin laden…
    7 Harboring Indian terrorist like daud ibrahim who lives in clifton karachi….
    What can i say more…..

    ET…Facts should be published…..Recommend

  • Parvez

    I’d agree…..a sensible point, well made.
    I hope and I feel they will catch those behind this atrocious act and they will be punished…..but lets be clear, it will be like treating the symptom and not the disease.Recommend

  • Parvez

    If I may…I feel he’s saying not to succumb to a knee-jerk reaction and blame the refugees or this……and he’s right.Recommend

  • mazharuddin

    Islam is a religion of peace. They were not Muslims.Recommend

  • Pakistani

    I’m shocked to see some comments here saying this is because of the refugees or Islamic terrorism. Give us a BREAK. French troops, aircrafts and bombs have been part of the coalitions attacking Muslim countries for more than a DECADE now (at least since I was old enough to start watching the news), in Asia and in Africa, and the people in this countries are suffering from this type of violence EVERY SINGLE DAY. The French cannot go bombing Muslim countries for oil and expect the chickens will not come home to roost. I’m not supporting these attacks- in fact these killers are not even Muslim, which anyone with any know how about Islam would know already. But the French cannot live on blissfully without the consequences of their governments’ actions coming back to bite them. On top of that, to blame the refugees, rendered homeless by the actions of the very people who now can’t tolerate having to shelter them, shows hypocrisy and hate at its highest. If the French are at all sensible, they will reject the divisive rhetoric and unite under the French flag. But if they begin attacking their own Muslims populations in retaliation, infighting will begin and their own society will collapse. In that case, their days are numbered. It’s up to them how they deal with this situation, and their survival depends on their own choices.Recommend

  • http://thoughtsandotherthing.blogspot.fr/2015/09/vegetarianism-ritual-killings-et-al.html Supriya Arcot

    Hmmm time to rethink their ‘ally/ partner to … ‘ formula . V cant leave a gloomy dark future for our kids here .Recommend

  • Milind A

    Hang on!! Don’t generalize.. The French opposed the Iraq invasion and were not part of it… They were pilloried, bullied by the Americans for this act.. And what about your own Muslim countries inviting the Americans & Europeans to attack fellow Muslim countries? Didn’t the Saudi king call for American intervention in Syria, or ask the Americans to ‘cut the head of the snake’ (Iran)?Recommend

  • Talha Rizvi

    It’s funny that you are commenting on different blogs with different names but the bad grammar and the blind hate for Pakistan always exposes who you really are.Recommend

  • Yasothan palanisamy

    well saidRecommend

  • singh

    Why can’t they take refuge in Islamic country where they don’t have to fight for Sharia Law later on?
    Why west?Recommend

  • singh

    then who they are? Are you serious?
    Last 1400 year history of Islam is full of this.
    Prime example is yourself. Form picture you posted, it doesn’t look like a Arab person.Recommend

  • Ahmedi,Quadian,Punjab

    Yes,i know but cant calculate the quantity of peace..pakistani’s revered muhammed bin qasim and ghauri as if they were true islamic…they were also very peaceful people of islam…and they converted most of like u people…to propogate peace in todays world….Recommend

  • Swaadhin

    “The world is at war and every victim deserves to be treated equally.”

    The world is not at war, the Muslims are at war with infidels and this is not a recent phenomena though the West needs to take the blame for making Iraq and Syria what they are today.

    Iraq and Syria were better off with Saddam and Asad, democracy brings people like Mohammed Morsi into power as it happened in Egypt who belongs to an extremist organisation like Muslim brotherhood.

    “Already, there is talk of clamping down on the entry of refugees, when there should be more sympathy for their plight, after seeing first-hand what they try to run from.”

    Even God does not help those who do not help themselves. One cannot be sympathetic to others at the cost of putting your own lives at stake.

    Secondly, all these people who are coming as refugees, a great number of them will stay put in these countries and when the dust is settled will start asking for Sharia in Europe.

    Europe needs to wake up before their way of living is being snatched away from them. The political correctness and inherent tolerance levels of non Muslims does not help their cause either when dealing with Muslims who despite living in democracies believe the holy book to be the final authority even in public life.Recommend

  • Swaadhin

    Yes even Al Baghdadi is not.Recommend

  • wb

    Do you know what is knee jerk? When you are suddenly charged up, your knee cap actually jerks.

    And that happens in a fraction of a second.

    However, starting from the bombing of US embassies and USS’s in 1960s to this day, there have been 55 years of Islamic terrorism on all countries of world. Not one major country has been free from Islamic terrorism.

    So, you see, this is a very thought out, calculated reaction and not knee jerk.Recommend

  • http://thoughtsandotherthing.blogspot.fr/2015/09/hyderabad-as-i-know-and-feel.html Supriya Arcot
  • vasan

    Biggest joke. Who are u to say they were muslims or not. It is upto them to say. From what you read they were nothing but muslims. Recommend

  • Sid

    @Noman
    Don’t you think the right thing for muslims is to fight back the terrorists in their home country rather than taking this as an opportunity to get citizenship in EU through asylum ? And to do what ? Claim the same rights they had in the country they fled ? Send kids to madarsahs where they indoctrinated and these children join groups like IS to cause mayhem back in country which gave them and their family asylum and new life?
    I understand what I stated is gross generalization. But carefully check the statement and verify with the pattern of events in past decade. Is this generalization absolutely incorrect ?
    Do you see the unfortunate perpetual circle of deceit the host nations faced from the people they give asylum to ? The three brothers who were part of terrorists group who killed people in France were French citizens who were raised in France and had all chance to make their life progressive and enjoy the culture of country their parents themselves choose to make their own. How many jews, christians, budhists, sikhs or hindus have attacked their nations where they have received citizenships ?Recommend

  • maynotmatter

    If French are so bad why are muslims seeking asylum in France ? Why not in Arab or Pakistan ?Recommend

  • https://twitter.com/shoaib_112 Mirza Shoaib Ahmad Jarral

    Joke of the century…Recommend

  • Yash Vora

    it would b better if v can overcome our fear , insecurities & frustrations ;

    know ur enemy to defeat it ;; on d other hand have a sense of differentiating between culprits & victims – tough but a must 1Recommend

  • Parvez

    Thanks….have already seen this, but looking at the overall picture I still say the blog makes a good point.Recommend

  • Parisian

    FYI, the mastermind pretended to be refugee when he smuggled himself back into Europe. Read the news and stop sharing your un-researched opinions.Recommend

  • Vish

    Better to be safe then sorry. Even if one takes your point that refugees are victims, there is always a possibility of bad elements slipping in masquerading as refugees. Why take a chance?Recommend