War in Ukraine: Shaking Off the Numbness

The sheer outpouring of support for Ukraine has left me with a chip on my shoulder.

It’s clear that the biggest losers in this war are the innocent. Any group of photos sadly shows that.

I hate admitting this. I know in my mind that these people are innocent victims of war, but the usual upset that I feel when seeing such images—as I see from Yemen and Syria for example—it isn’t there. And I feel guilty for this.

I’m guessing a lot of you can relate.

The clearer hypocrisy that’s bubbled up from this conflict we can identify almost automatically. The US’s constant antagonizing of Russia, for example—as if they have never done harm (how about bombing civilians a few months ago) or had bad intentions (how about invading and terrorizing Iraq for years) or intervened in another country’s elections (they even did it in Russia)—is laughable at this point.

Of course, it’s not like Russia is innocent. We need not forget the harm Russia caused and continues to cause in Syria. Although the scale of the bombing in Syria has been greater (at least by the picture shown here), their crimes there seem to have given them time to test weapons, technology, and methods that have helped them in Ukraine.

Eastern Europe has typically been unwilling to take in refugees from Syria. This time though, they have opened up to refugees and seem sensitive to the tragedies of war.

Other aspects of the hypocrisy reactions to this war have been discussed on this site. Unfortunately though, the hypocrisy and myopic reactions of so many keep coming, and I do blame them in part for my own inability to focus on the victims of the war.

Israel is also allowing around 20,000 Jewish Ukrainians to seek refuge in Israel. In addition, it will allow up to 5,000 non-Jewish migrants to seek refuge—a cap they’ve met. These 5,000 refugees will neither have the right to work, nor access to the school system for their children, nor access to the health care system.

This isn’t much of a surprise (although at least one of Israel’s own finds it grossly hypocritical), but just imagine if the US, Israel’s lifeline that loves to talk about how it is the only democracy in the Middle East, also imposed a religion-based cap.

Trump’s ‘Muslim ban’ made the democrats and many upset (with good reason), but when Israel does that, we don’t hear much at all.

RELATED: Israeli Software May Be Monitoring You Right Now

On Sunday the UK’s foreign minister supported President Zelenskiy’s call for people to go to fight Russia in Ukraine. Reuter’s points out, however, that the UK advised against traveling to help fight against al-Asad (whom they also oppose) in Syria, warning citizens “that they could be arrested on their return, saying they may pose a security risk to the UK.”

Meanwhile, the UK has also streamlined the visa process for Ukrainians seeking to join relatives in the UK. Now, the whole process can be done online (no going to a facility to give biometric data, etc.).

While the UK did take in refugees from Syria, the process has been anything but streamlined. What’s perhaps even more shameful, the UK rejected around 75 percent of refugee applicants from Iraq and Afghanistan, applicants fleeing wars in which the UK played a part.

There is also a growing concern that Biden is working to get the Saudis to lower oil prices in response to the war in Ukraine and that the Saudis will only do that if the US increases support for the ongoing was in Yemen. The war in Yemen has destroyed the lives of countless Yemenis. It has starved children to death, and it continues to do so to this day.

It’s simply hard to put aside all the double standards and hypocrisy.

Helping Kith and Kin

Others are making a different, fair point: the Europeans are just helping their own now; why didn’t Arab countries help their Syrian brothers and sisters? This was put well by this Syrian man, now displaced and living in a camp in his country:

“‘We do not blame European countries, we blame Arab countries’…‘European countries welcome those from their people. We blame our Arab brethren, not the rest.’”

For those of us in the West, we see his point and certainly understand that this is an Ummah-wide problem. It’s certainly an important reminder. But we’re also here, watching on as the actions of Russia—as terrible as they are—are vilified in a way that makes them seem unique to Russia, while the long list of crimes of NATO countries are forgotten or dismissed. It’s Putin who’s evil. No one else.

Maybe the challenge here is being compassionate to those who seem foreign to us, regardless of all the hypocrisy that surrounds this conflict. Maybe we won’t feel the surge of emotion like with our own, but we can certainly imagine the horror of invasion. After all, we’ve seen it happen to our own. That’s what we can bring to this conversation, this common thread of destruction and personal-interest-above-all that all the current major powers share and the threat they continue to impose on civilians near and far.

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Sardor

The best reaction to this war that I have seen. Kuffars doing what they are supposed to do. It is we who not doing what we supposed to do. Muslim brotherhood supposed to be the strongest brotherhood, but those bastard politicians of muslim countries making a lot of problems for ummah.

M.Z.

Al-wala wal bara
No matter how we try to deny it, this issue of loyalty to one group and disloyalty to another is consistent in all societies. There is no way we can treat everyone the same even the so-called equality advocators say that with their actions. So we just need to avoid shying away from it and accept it coz its the reality. Loyalty to the muslims and disavowal of the kuffar

M.Z.

Even tho i hesitantly sometimes add the innocent nonmuslims to my du’a of safety, i never knew i had the ability to feel nothing regarding a whole country being bombed. I found myself wanting revenge for my muslim brothers and sisters and sayinv Russia has the right to defend itself just to make a point.
I dont like it and i dont want to b a supporter of injustice. Two wrongs dont make a right. This is why i love the shariah coz we all hv emotions but Allah is the judge and we submit

Wee Jim

How is Russia defending itself? How has Ukraine – which has only been independent for less than forty years – and Ukrainians done anything to inspire muslims’ vengence?
It’s an amusing example of muslims’ forgetfulness and general historical ignorance that Putin’s strategy and tactics in Ukraine are the ones he used in Chechnya twenty years ago on a larger scale.

Dar

“How has Ukraine – which has only been independent for less than forty years – and Ukrainians done anything to inspire muslims’ vengence?”

Ukraine took part in the US occupation of Iraq with several thousand soldiers.

M.Z.

I bliv its obvious that stating “Russia has the right to defend itself” is a way to show the hypocrisy of the west in saying the same thing regarding our muslim brothers and sisters
secondly, I don’t think any part in my comment shows I support or like Russia/putin. My loyalty is to the muslims

S.F.

This article has really summaried my own thoughts. Honestly I’ve also been a bit conflicted with the crisis. As Muslims we condemn all injustice but it really doesn’t seem like it’s Russia vs Ukraine more like Russia vs the US and its allies.
So I’ve been asking myself who really is worse? The US has a higher death count (as far as I know) but Russia’s actions in Syria and Chechnya are also a bloody record that can’t be overlooked.

May Allah punish the oppressors

Russia always sucked

Even before the Bolshevik revolution, Tsarist Russia did horrible things to Muslims, like in the Caucasus, inlcluding the Circassian genocide

Umme Ilyas

It’s hard to feel empathy for the Ukrainians, the plight of whom we understand well, when the people beating the war drums for Ukraine, show the victims empathy and hospitability, while they beat the war drums for our country and lament their representatives for not doing more destruction to our Muslim lands. Look at the Russians, launching an offensive against Ukraine, yet allowing the women and children to leave, even escorting them out. Where was this empathy for Afghanistan, Iraq, Syria?

Minhaz Ahmed

As I am reading I feel sad of our situation.

Minhaz Ahmed

When my non-muslims friends asked me why not Muslim nations show support for vast number of displaced humanity, it makes me speechless. It’s your own who turn their back. May Allah SWT forgive us.

Wee Jim

It isn’t a matter of letting people “into Europe”. Ukraine is already in Europe. The reason Ukraine wants to join the EU and NATO is fear of Russia. As for Eastern Europe’s lack of enthusiasm for admitting Syrians or other muslim, refugees, an important aspect of the self-identity of many East European countries is memory of muslim – Ottoman – invasions and/or rule. What looks like infiltration appeals no more than open invasion.

Wee Jim

Ukraine was historically part of the Russian empire throughout its existence. Russia originated in Kievan (or Kyivan, if you prefer) Rus. In the eyes of Russian nationalists, Ukrainian is a provincial dialect, Ukrainians yokels, and desire for Ukrainian independence a murderous nationalist and racist fantasy. Look at the life and opinions of the Ukrainian nationalist Bandera. Equally, in the last century Ukraine was part – the main part – of East Europe’s “Bloodlands”.

Wee Jim

It was fought over in both world wars and the Russian civil war, the site of the Holodomor and the nazis’ extermination camps.
The EU was originally founded to establish an economically united peaceful Europe – that was one of its attractions to East Europeans. There is now talk of a European army, so Putin may be creating what he most fears – a powerful hostile neighbour.

عبدالله

So, ‘Isreal’ should never let the German’s in because of the memory of the holocost??

Or the Japanese should never let the Americans in because of the memory of the Nuclear bombings.

Or the entire African continent should never let Eroupeans in because of the memories of slavery??

Nasik

Asmk, “Trump’s ‘Muslim ban’ made the democrats and many upset (with good reason)”

With good reason? Trump’s Muslim ban is a good thing. Why should Muslims come to the U.S.? How many youth have been lost? How many daughters have been feminized, and commited zina? Alhamdulillah for a Muslim ban, it saves them from what is bad.

What percent come for da’awah, 0.0001%? I can tell you of maybe 1 person. If you are not in the US for intentions of Da’wah, you have no valid reason to be here.

Nasik

Indeed, those whom the angels take [in death] while wronging themselves – [the angels] will say, “In what [condition] were you?” They will say, “We were oppressed in the land.” The angels will say, “Was not the earth of Allah spacious [enough] for you to emigrate therein?” For those, their refuge is Hell – and evil it is as a destination.

Wake up, none of us will have ANY excuse to why we disobeyed Allah. We can never tell Allah “we lived in a secular country, the fitnah, the pressure…”

Nasik

Most Muslims should be making hijrah out of the western countries, most Muslims are not fulfilling Allah’s obligations in the West, with my own eyes I see most Muslims don’t come to the Masjid in the US. The US is not for most of us.

And don’t think you are the exception, I will admit the West is not for me and I avoid haram much easier in Muslim majority countries, will you?

Last edited 8 months ago by Nasik
عبدالله

I didn’t think of the Muslim ban like this. Only about their hypocrisy.
But I agree. Jzk

Mohammad Talha Ansari

If we Muslims show compassion to the invasion struck Ukrainians, unlike the hypocritical, triple standards, 2 faced European powers, this might present a unique opportunity for Dawah.