The internet is pretty cool. It connects and informs people. The news is constantly updated with the latest happenings in the world. People from around the world constantly update Twitter with all the latest. Instagram and Snapchat update you with personal pictures. You can search for topics with hashtags and read, write and like posts.
What’s really incredible and unique though, is being able to really interact with someone in another part of the world, in a one on one conversation and be able to get an intimate account of their views. To talk to someone about their religion or their country or their view on a current event without filters or public broadcasting is a truly unique experience that you can only really get if you travel the world.
Chatous is kind of like traveling the world through your phone, at least that’s how I think of it.
Today I was interested in seeing what people around the world had to say about the tragic terrorist attack on Charlie Hebdo. After scanning Twitter, I took to Chatous and joined the tag #JeSuisCharlie. What I found was pretty interesting and led me to meet some amazing people with interesting views on terrorism, Islam, and life in general.
When an act of terror occurs and the perpetrators are Islamic extremists, I think all Muslims tend to feel the brunt of the accusation and an entire group of people feel inadvertently blamed for the actions of a few. So I want to talk about my friends, Emad and Dani, whom I met on Chatous.
Dani and I got matched in #JeSuisCharlie. From his bio I learned that he is 25 years old and a Muslim living in Yemen. I asked him how he felt about the Charlie Hebdo terrorists being Muslim. He said “These terrorists are not true Muslims they are just defaming Islam. Islam does not teach this. Its a religion of peace. They are just using the name of Islam. They are not Muslims, I’m sure of it. How can they be? They must be brainwashed. And we Muslims are the ones who are mostly affected by them.”
Yemen is riddled with violence and terrorism so I asked Dani, how he deals with that and if he is scared all the time. He said “We’re just used to it, and if my time ends, I’ll die on my bed. Everything is in Gods hands.” Not fearing death is an important principle of Islam. Then I asked him how he distracts himself from the violence, he said he focuses on his school work, he is studying to be a medical equipment engineer. He said when he’s not studying his second priority is his friends and girlfriend. Sounds pretty normal right? It’s truly remarkable how Dani maintains the livelihood of a “normal” 25 year old man when he is constantly surrounded by imminent terror.