Originally Published in Beliefnet
For many Americans last week looking to spend some holiday time with family and friends at the mall, what they thought was going to be cheerful moments taking pictures with Santa and flying new toy drones in their local Brookstone store turned into a nightmare with panic and terror. All across the country, we were witness to waves of disorder and chaos at our malls caused by disturbed individuals hoping to unsettle the holiday spirit. While the facts have yet to be confirmed, the prevailing theory by law enforcement is these attacks were planned on social media by teenagers and coordinated all over the country.
Hundreds of shoppers can be seen on video rushing towards exits in the malls where these disturbances played out. The scenes are quite chaotic, with reports of gunshots fired in some areas.
The holiday season is meant to be a time where we come together to spend time with our loved ones in peace. As Ahmadi Muslims, the protection of our neighbors and friends during the holiday season is one of utmost importance. While the prevailing view of Islam may be one of intolerance towards other people and faiths, this view is completely baseless and without merit. Islam commands that Muslims protect and serve those of other faiths. This is why, in obedience to these commandments, we have members of our faith serve in the armed forces and police departments. It is with this spirit that we condemn such acts and pray for peace.
While thankfully no lives were lost in this ordeal, these events could have very easily taken a turn for the worse. We are lucky that most everyone was safe from any sort of physical harm. The mental harm caused to these people is bad enough. What will happen the next time these families think of going shopping to the mall? Will they remember this terrible incident and think of staying home instead? This type of disorder and chaos has no place in society. The Holy Qur’an teaches Muslims not to create disorder and chaos in this world. To prevent people from freely leaving their homes by instilling fear into society is an egregious act.
We must look within our society and determine what the root causes of these incidents were. Was it because of the vicious election cycle and the divisiveness of this country? We must not accept to live in society where such fear is instilled during joyous times. Most importantly, we must pray for these individuals who committed these crimes.