Forbidden Love

Isti Toq'ah
5 min readApr 3, 2021
Source: Vecteezy

"It was terrifying to love someone (something) that was forbidden to you." (Cassandra Clare)

The intolerant, the extremist, the fundamentalist, the fanatic, the radicalized, the terrorist, etc are not always the poor, the fool, and the ugly ones. Look at the case of 911. The perpetrators were engineers: smart, rich, and good looking. After the birth of ISIS, more people with these three qualities got recruited. Hence, for those who believed that the people who joined this kind of group were only the Arabs or the Asians; they were totally wrong. Take a look to the numbers of the Caucasians who signed up. Then, for those who believed that the people who joined this group were only Muslims; they were totally wrong. Take a look to the numbers of the Atheist, Agnostic, Christians, etc who also signed up. Next, this group also recruited women and girls where in most of any other groups women were forbidden to take part. This trend got more well-known in many places including in Indonesia. In two bombings such as in Surabaya and Makassar, women involved and took roles as the main actors.

Certain assumption is not always quite right. Why? Because intolerance, extremism, radicalization, terrorism, alcoholism, drug abuse, etc is about love. Indeed, but it is forbidden love. Either good or bad, anyone, anybody can fall in love, can be in love to someone or something. A person who is or falls in love usually closes her/his eyer or gets blinded. Love can happen merely caused by internal push factor or brought on by the love target/object or supported by both internal push factor and love target/object. Tragically, a person who is in love to a wrong person/thing will not only close her/his head's eyes, but also heart's eyes a.k.a. conscience.

Forbidden love is different from the love mentioned by Martin Luther King, Jr:

"I have decided to stick to love… Hate is too great a burden to bear."

"Love is the only force capable of transforming an enemy into friend."

"S(he) who is devoid of the power to forgive is devoid of the power to love."

Some aspects mentioned by King might be right, might work within forbidden love too. Those Caucasians, those non-Muslims who joined those kinds of groups shifted their perspectives from Islamophobic to lovers. This is interesting. Unfortunately, their loves were not agreeable nor acceptable by each and every Muslim. Moreover, their loves did not serve for a greater good of human race. This love only served certain interest groups who recruited them, who brainwashed them, who blinded them. And anyway, in other part of history, terrorism was and is not only conducted by Muslims. Take a look to KKK (Ku Klux Klan) towards any non-Caucasian Christians, Nazi towards the Jews, Myanmar's Military Junta towards the civilians, Israel's government towards the Palestinians, and many more. You help me add the list longer.

By the way, before someone talks about terrorism, s/he must be able to define it first. In the beginning, there's no specific or agreeable single definition. And terrorism is not just about religious movement done by religious groups.

OHCR (Office of the United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights) mentioned:

"Terrorism is commonly understood and refer to acts of violence that target civilians in the pursuit of political or ideological aims."

Moreover, in 1994 General Assembly stated:

"Terrorism included criminal acts intended or calculated to provoke a state of terror in the general public, a group of persons or particular persons for political purposes and that such acts are in any circumstances unjustifiable, whatever the consideration of a political, philosophical, ideological, racial, ethnic, religious, or other nature that may be invoked to justify them."

Another necessary meaning is worth to be highlighted coming from Prof. John Philip Jenkins from Baylor University wrote in Britannica:

"Terrorism, the calculate use of violence to create a general climate of fear in a population and thereby to bring about a particular political objective. Terrorism has been practiced by political organizations with both rightist and leftist objectives, by nationalistic and religious groups, by revolutionaries, and even by state institutions such as armies, intelligence services, and police."

Sadly, many people especially governments (particularly the powerful states) either forget or act like forgetting that they take part in the vicious chain of violence by denying diversity of human's identity, conducting discrimination (including racism, sexism, agism, etc), abusing power, corrupting authority, glorifying privilege, and many more.

"Everyone's worried about stopping terrorism. Well, there's really an easy way: Stop participating in it."

To read further explanation including the example of non-religious terrorism that is readable enough for laypeople, I recommend this:

Let me continue talking about love. Take a look to other cases like alcoholism, drug abuse, pedophilia, psychopath, etc. They loved certain thing/person too. But did their love serve for a greater good? You know the answer, I guess.

So, how to make sure the love we choose (sometimes not) is constructive instead of destructive? I can tell you now the below to-do list based on my own past dark experience.

  1. Make sure you don't lose your mind when you are or fall in love. (Though saying this to a person who is being or falling in love seems impossible.)
  2. Balance your love of someone/something with healthy lifestyle: eat, sleep, do various activities, and exercise as usual.
  3. Check if nothing's bad happened to yourself or surrounding when you are in love. Check again and again if the love you feel bring goodness for yourself and your surrounding. For instance, you become more energetic to do your daily activities.
  4. If everything is in line with your growth: both mental and physical health, you can proceed to continue loving whom or what you love.

Lastly, love that is based on anger or hatred or desire to revenge is destructive for sure. It must not be poisoned with other potions of destruction. Love is not anger. Love is hatred. Love is not revenge. Love is not destruction. Love is not killing. Love is terrorizing. Love is love.

“Anger destroys our peace of mind and our physical health. We shouldn’t welcome it or think of it as natural or as a friend.” (Dalai Lama XIV)