Why Isn’t the World Mourning for Istanbul?

June 30, 2016

We are Orlando. We are Brussels. We are Paris.

We are never Istanbul. We are never Baghdad. We are not Maiduguri, a city in Nigeria, where 86 people were killed by terrorists, some burned alive.  Or Aleppo. Or, it seems, anywhere outside the West.

The attack on Turkey’s Ataturk Airport, where 42 people were killed and at least 230 injured, did not receive the same level of international solidarity that attacks on European and other Western cities received.  Terrorism has changed the entire globe, both politically and in our daily lives.  When we are culpable in the conspiracy of silence for victims of terrorism outside the US, Europe, and Israel, then we all lose to terrorism.  In fact, Muslims constitute the majority of victims of terrorism (between 82 and 97% according to a 2011 report by the National Counterterrorism Center).

Every terrorist attack is reported by international media outlets, as they should be, but some are afforded more coverage than others. There is a deep-seated cultural bias that determines actions in the aftermath of a terrorist attack.  We are not given the opportunity to make temporary Facebook profile pictures featuring the Turkish flag. Prominent musicians do not put on concerts to benefit survivors and their families of attacks in Iraq. The White House is not lit up at night with the colors of the Lebanese flag.  And today, another terrorist attack in Kabul has taken another 27 lives.  The perception is that we do not care.  If human rights is selective to certain populations, then it is not human rights.

We know it is not realistic to end the double standard now, but we must begin in this month of Ramadan to reflect and stand up ourselves for justice. Victims and survivors of terrorism should be supported and remembered regardless of where the attack takes place and regardless of the faith or skin color of the victims.  We are Istanbul.  We are for the oppressed who do not receive the dignity of prayers from the rest of the world when they perish.  We will strive and struggle to align US policies with American values.  We will work to end the artificial and racially-biased division between “Islam and the West.”




View All


Help us continue our work with a quick
one-time or monthly donation.