Arabic letter, 'nuun'.

Arabic letter, ‘nuun’.

Recently, a large number of people have changed their profile pictures to the Arabic letter, ‘nuun’. For a little while, I had no idea what it meant. Then I saw a post that said something about ISIS painting the letter on the houses of Christians in Iraq in order to mark them.

Now, I know I’m going to get backlash about this either way – so I’m just going to put it out there bluntly. Changing your profile picture to the letter nuun is ridiculous. Absolutely ridiculous. Let me tell you why. I’m giving you the benefit of the doubt here (and think that you’re not purposefully trying to divide people), so I’ll raise a few points that you’ve probably not considered.

First and foremost, it breaks the victims of ISIS down to their respective religions. This is hugely problematic, because as a result, people with their little nuun profile pictures are saying they stand by the victims of ISIS who share the same beliefs, only. I don’t actually care if that isn’t the intention – that is how it comes across. That is what the nuun says. It says ‘I am a Christian who stands by the Christians’.

Fine, if that’s where the thought stops. It doesn’t. It continues with ‘against the Muslims’ and, because I am being kind today, I’m going to extend it to ‘against the Muslims who are persecuting the Christians’.

This is a problem for so many reasons. I wish I could draw this out in a huge brain storm, but I can’t, so I’ll do my best to make sense.

The aggressor

Clearly, the aggressor in this situation is ISIS. This group is quite clearly hiding behind the guise of Islam. ISIS is not just un-Islamic. It is ANTI-Islamic, as Nihad Awad so eloquently puts it:

If we want to stop ISIS, we must deny it any claim to represent Islam and starve it of the fuel of injustice. Despite misappropriating and misusing the name “Islamic State,” ISIS is little more than a criminal gang that attaches itself like a leech to revered symbols of Islam. It exploits counterproductive Western policies driving desperate people into its fold and uses injustices in the Muslim world as a smokescreen to cover its own cruelty.

ISIS is not acting in some religious war. They are not there to spread Islam. If that was the case, they would not have started beheading Muslims. They wouldn’t be spitting in the face of every Islamic principle. They. Are. Not. Islam.

You cannot give these people the right to abuse Islam and the beliefs of Muslims. It is times like these where people need to remember that we are all human. If you want to bring this down to a system of religious beliefs – fine. Islam is an Abrahamic religion. Islam, and Muslims do not see ourselves as part of a separate religion. We see the religion of God as the same one that has continued from the beginning of time, developing into Judaism and Christianity and finally to Islam. The only reason why we give other religions these names is to identify which Prophet of God cared for these people, and which Prophet they continue to follow. So when we talk about Jews, we’re talking about the people who were ruled by the laws of Moses. Christians were ruled by the laws of Jesus, and we see both as Prophets of God. Muhammad is seen the same way. Thus, one religion, worshipping one God. How is it then that you’re associating Islam with this group?

The aggressor is not Islam. It’s a group of barbarians.

The victim

Yes, Christians are being persecuted in Iraq. They’re not being targeted because they’re Christian. They’re being targeted because they’re standing in the way of ISIS; the same way that Muslims have been attacked for standing in their way.

It’s so convenient for social media warriors to break this down to some evangelical war, a crusade. A battle between Christianity and X-entity. It isn’t. This is not a war against Christianity and Christians. This is a war against people, against all of humanity. It actually amazes me that I have to explain this concept in the first place. Let me  reiterate – THIS IS NOT A WAR AGAINST CHRISTIANITY. ISIS was not formed to fight Christians.  They may call themselves a Caliphate. I don’t know how many more organisations need to stand out in the streets to yell about the fact that we do not accept them.

This whole thing started through Twitter with the hashtag #WeAreN. The person who started it was Jeremy Courtney, an American living in Iraq. The man himself said:

When Americans only defend the oppressed when they think they share their theology, that’s a problem. When they only defend those they consider their brothers and sisters, that’s a problem.

When ISIS first came into Mosul and 500,000 people fled the city, the majority of those were Sunni Muslims. It seems they left because they were not fundamentalists deemed to be compliant enough with this new Islamic authority. Why didn’t Americans get up in arms when Muslims were being driven from their homes? Why didn’t we change our twitter icons when Muslims were being slaughtered? We should be equally worked up about other minorities here who are suffering.  We can’t only have compassion on people that we think are like us.

(You can read more here)

Let me cover off on your questions before you even ask them. Even if there currently existed an Islamic Caliphate, it still would not be Islamic to prosecute people for their religions. The Prophet Muhammad created a doctrine which essentially stated that we are to love and protect Christians and Jews as our own brothers and sisters. Muhammad stated that until the end of time, Muslims are to leave other religions to govern themselves and to live their own lives. Not only that, but that we are to protect them if ever there be a time where they are under attack. You can read more about it here.

The number one victim of ISIS is Islam. It makes all of us the problem and takes out of the equation for the solution. It implies that we support what ISIS is doing. It implies that it is what we’ve all secretly wanted to do. It’s moronic. Stop it.


I know it’s hard for a lot of people to self-assess. To reflect. But let me help you do that. Ask yourself – what is it you’re trying to say by changing your profile picture? Every single one I’ve seen goes on about standing with the poster’s Christian brothers and sisters and branding themselves in an act of defiance against the Muslamic infidelz.

This entire concept, this division, is completely counter-productive. It does nothing but create further separation. It separates people out here in the Western world who are watching in horror. It separates the victims. It justifies the actions of ISIS. It legitimises their actions. It makes it a thing of religion, instead of humanity. It says that you would not give a shit if these people were not Christian. Is that what you want to say, because seriously, it’s what you’re saying.

And what is it that you are ultimately achieving? Your Christian brothers and sisters aren’t benefiting from it. They’re not seeing it. They’re not being helped. If you think you’re bringing light to the issues – you’re not. You’re turning the issues into something they’re not. You’re making them about religion when they are not. You’re implying that the only victims are Christians, when they’re not.


So. Stop it.


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