These past five days, the world has been in a deep grief following the siege in Martin Place, Sydney, Australia, and an abrupt massacre at a supported-by-military high school in Peshawar, Pakistan (Yet the not-yet-solved case in Palestine and other cases in the other parts of the world). I was stuck in sadness and bitterness when I read the news :( Those killers were sick! Some men labelled themselves in the name of holy religion (or politics or any other parties) killed innocent citizens. The reasons behind their inhuman actions are being investigated further. The perpetrator in Sydney called himself as a Moslem and forced two hostages to hold a flag with a Shahada*) written on it. This siege scene in Sydney triggered the anti-Islam attitude across the city. However, the citizens’ reactions moved me into tears.
This movement started from what did Rachael Jacobs’ encounter on a Brisbane train. She met a Moslem woman who silently took off her hijab**) that covered her head after the incident at Martin Place. Ms. Jacobs approached that Moslem woman and told her to put her hijab on. Ms. Jacobs shared her story on her Facebook account and moments after, her friend shared it on social media. This action went viral with the #IllRideWithYou hashtag started by an Australian anchor who got inspired by what Ms. Jacobs did. The #IllRideWithYou movement proved it to me once again that humanity does exist. In short, #IllRideWithYou has restored faith in the world.
This movement was one of the examples how human acts as a human towards each other. With respect and not being affected by any religion, skin colour, or race label. As a Moslem with a religion attire covering my head and an Arabic name written on my passport, the anti-Islam movement I heard on the media was one of my biggest fears before coming to Europe. I come from a country where Moslem is the majority, yet I was going to live in a new country where I was in a minority state. But then once again, what I had encountered in the EU for two years had successfully proven to me that humanity did exist. It does exist. It is everywhere around us.
I encountered experiences such as being yelled “Osama. Muhammad” when I walked crossed the Dom Luiz I bridge in Porto, having people looked at me or talked about me in public because of my hijab, being told by someone to take off my hijab, etc. But the saddest thing was when I almost got tricked by a man who told me he was a Moslem but forced me to give him money in Granada, Spain. But those were nothing compared to how respectful, caring, and gentle the people and friends I met in Europe were. For instance, there were many gentlemen who helped me putting my 10-kg luggage into a cabin (you know I often traveled solo and I was that short). There were also some nice locals who helped me when I was lost (I often took a wrong bus, getting lost, and somehow being so desperate that unconsciously put a miserable face). These generous people and friends are the main reasons why I terribly miss Europe. Thank you, because of you, I wasn’t afraid having my hijab on.
My friend, mbak Utami Irawati, wrote on her Facebook status: Imagine if what happened was the opposite? The non-Moslems in Indonesia were the one in fear and Moslems were the majority. Would we do the same as what did the Australians do? Would we ride with them? My answer: insha Allah YES.
In the end, I have no doubt that humanity, respecting human rights, and tolerance are taught and practiced in our social life, not only on class and text book (Indonesians have them on PKn subject). Let’s spread the love, not hatred.
My deepest condolence to all victims and my pray also for the families’ and relatives’ strength and patiences.
*) Shahada is a sacred sentence about faith in Islam. It means “There is no God but Allah. Muhammad is the Messenger of Allah.”
**) To put it simply, hijab is a term used to call the scarf that covers Moslem women’s head.
- #IllRideWithYou: Sydney Stands Up To Racism And Bigotry With One Beautiful Hashtag
- Pakistan Taliban: Peshawar school attack leaves 141 dead