“Muslim Man Beats His Wife”
“Islamic Militants Fire on Crowd”
“Islam: Religion of Peace or Terrorism?”
You may have heard or read captions similar to this on the news. You can’t really watch the news without hearing about “them” — Muslims. What’s wrong with those people anyway?
My name is Maryam Shahani and I’m a young Muslim girl and a proud American. I follow the religion of Islam. My religion teaches how to live peacefully and with dignity. I have to be kind to my neighbors and respect my parents and teachers. It’s wrong for me to ridicule any faith or its followers. If I kill one person, it is as if I am killing all of humanity, because God gave life and I don’t have the right to take it. These are just a few principles of Islam. Unfortunately, Islam is a very misunderstood faith.
There’s a new term going around for Muslims. What’s that word again?
Oh yeah, terrorist.
Well, what is a terrorist? The dictionary defines terrorist as a person who spreads terror on the land. I hate terrorism. Any domestic violence is totally against Islam, so why is it consistently linked to my religion? Nowhere in my holy book, the Qur’an, does it justify the killing of innocent human beings.
Now there are some bad people out there who call themselves Muslims. They kill and do terrible things. Islam does not teach them to do this though. In fact they are going against Islam by committing such sins. If a Christian man kills his wife, would Christianity be brought into this issue? In the newspaper would you read about any Christian beliefs? Would Christianity be blamed at all? Of course not. Christianity teaches people good morals and respect. There’s no question of such a thing.
Then why Islam, I ask?
In April of 1995, when Timothy McVeigh bombed the city of Oklahoma, killing and injuring innocent people, his religion was not brought in to it. No one dared to blame the church of The Holy Bible. So why is it that when I read the article in the newspaper about the shooting at Fort Hood, the word “Islam” came up twice. I read the word “Muslim” three times.
The man who is responsible for it, Nidal Malik Hasan, has committed a horrible crime and there’s no doubt of that, but why is Islam being brought into this? He may have been born a Muslim, but he surely didn’t act as one. His thoughts and his actions are nothing but pure ignorance. Osama bin Laden, Saddam Hussein, and any other killer, in no way, shape, or form do they represent my religion, my beliefs, or the millions of innocent Muslims living throughout the world. It’s just like how Timothy McVeigh does not represent us Americans in any way.
Yet many Muslims feel that they are being judged. I’ve been asked before if I’m related to Osama bin Laden and if I know anything about the terrorist attacks. Some people think that because I’m Muslim I think killing is OK. Has our image been tarnished that badly? Do people think we are barbaric?
In the beginning of December, a young man in our school stabbed another boy. We all know what reputation Schenectady High School already has. The New York State Education Department has labeled us as a “persistently dangerous school.” A lot of people think that this is a terrible school filled with bad students. The action of that boy only made us look worse. We are stereotyped. This is wrong because the majority of our students are well-mannered and non-violent. So why do people blame Schenectady High School for the actions of some people. Likewise, why does the media blame Islam for terrorism? Why are Muslims stereotyped as violent?
I ask the reader one thing. Next time you hear something about Islam, just think to yourself. Would a religion teach such a thing? People who laugh, love, cry, and have feelings like you and I, other human beings, could they really be this bad? The media may not always be 100 percent accurate with you. If it sounds inhumane it may be completely false.
Don’t let the media fill your mind with lies. Don’t let it decide for you. If you want to find out what the real truth is, do the research. Search it online, look up verses of the Qur’an, or ask a Muslim you know. Don’t judge without knowing. One of the worst diseases of humanity is ignorance. Please don’t be a victim.
Maryam Shahani is a senior at Schenectady High School