Being Muslim is getting harder even in a liberal country like US. I blame it to the generalized ignorance that is gripping the land of the free. It was 5-6 years ago that I noticed ignorance was becoming the new trend. People were not smart, just smart mouthed. We started to over simplify theories, to summarize philosophies and lower standards and excuse continuous failure while accepting mediocre performances. At time, I didn't think much of the trend. I assumed it will die away with time. Obviously I was wrong. Ignorance became widespread between many layers of society and now it is the accepted norm. Just listen to some talk show hosts and news reporters and you will see what I mean. The content of their questions, the direction of their proposals and the background of their arguments are shockingly primitive and presumptive. You want to answer the question or argue the idea presented, but for immature debater like me, it gets confusing. Confusing because the question posed or the idea brought up for debate is inaccurate in the first place.
There are a lot of generalization and assumptions about Muslims and Islam. I believe there are two main reasons why Islam and Muslims are being perceived as terrorists overall. Islam has been politicized extensively for almost any purpose other than faith. The second one is non-Muslims fail to separate religion from cultural practices of different Islamic countries. It is a courtesy they fail to extend to Muslims all around the world. Current rise of Islamic extremists is a wave of terrorism that threatens not only non-Muslims,but Muslims, Islam and the humanity at its core. By no means, I want to minimize the devastating impact of jihadists, Islamic extremists, religious terrorists and enemies of mankind. The actions of these Islamic terrorists are unforgivable in any context. No faith, no injustice done by others, no suffering imposed on them by the developing world can justify their terrorism. To be honest, I don't believe these Muslim terrorists are actually Muslims. I don't want to rule out the theory that they are non-Muslims posing as Muslim extremists, just to defame Islam and promote hatred of Muslims and Islam. Another theory, with the higher probability, is that these people born to Muslim families, grew up as "Muslims" without any true knowledge of their religion. These people lived socially, financially and politically oppressed lives and thus became very revengeful in nature. Such vulnerable population is the most fertile ground for manipulation and misinformation. It doesn't take much effort on the part of the recruiter to gather an army of stubborn soldiers who wants to dedicate their death to some cause. In such case, what better cause than their Faith, especially when they are promised some form of security for themselves and their families. When they belong to a group, dedicated to a cause, they have an identity, their lives will have a purpose. They know they will die soon whether from hunger and disease or from a bullet. But somehow death from a bullet and for a cause is a dignified death. These people don't care about life and living. They want glorified death. You don't need to take my words for it, just use your critical thinking and find out when and where any terrorist group rose to power. Poor, uneducated communities have been home of many such terrorists groups. Look at Usama Bin Laden. He was an Arab but took refuse in Afghanistan where he was elected the leader of an army and "fought for Islam". Arab Emirates is a Muslim country, rich and well connected with the rich and powerful of the world. Why didn't he erect an army there?
To stay on track, I want to talk about the mix of religion and culture. Religions often come after a society has an established culture which isn't serving humanity. Religions are consulted to help improve cultural and societal practices to serve humanity better. Therefore, many different countries can be connected by the same religion but separate by their culture. Societies tend to modify their religion to accommodate for their cultural practices in order to stay within the known norms and practices. It is a way of them conserving their cultural identity. This is the beauty of religion, it is liquid to some extent that fits different practices yet maintain its promise to ethical and humane practices. Islam, and truly any religion, isn't a body of right and wrong practices but a philosophy, a series of decision making strategies to help man make the best possible choice in his circumstances. Religion, the true and reasonable format of it, helps man stay ethical and fair when making difficult and complicated decisions. So when criticizing actions, we need to target the person committing these actions and not the religion. The reason I am staying neutral by using the word "religion" instead of "Islam". Because any religion has extremists and crazies. It is not the religion that is extreme and crazy but people practicing it. Therefore, to minimize Islam to its extremists and lunatics is unfair to the faith and those practicing the faith in peaceful way that it was intended. To hold all Muslims responsible for the actions of the terrorist groups using the label of Islam is illogical. To stereotype all Muslims based on media propaganda and discriminate against them based on uneducated presumptions is another form of crazy and extremism. I, a Muslim, came to the US for all the securities that my religion wanted me to have but my country failed to honor. Now I am a US citizen, dedicated to this country. But my faith puts me on the other side of the fence from the rest of my fellow citizens. Now I am being perceived and treated differently. Now I have to explain myself and my ideology even when I haven't hurt anyone. People are upset that I am here, among them. I see my religion being tarnished openly, condemned publicly for promoting violence.
I want to say, I am not sorry I am a Muslim. I am not sorry I am here contributing to the welfare of this country. I am not sorry my faith is different than others. I don't want to apologize for Islamic Terrorists. I don't want to apologize on behalf of murderers wearing label of Islam. Instead, I am standing here, among all the rest of the US people, condemning violence and terrorism. I am questioning the real motive behind such extremist actions. I am hurt in a different way than many. I am hurt my faith is being blamed as if it is an acting body. I am sorry that I am being labeled or compared to some terrorists. My existence, my life experiences, my ideology, my achievements have been minimized to public perception of my Faith. Now, people hear my accent, ask my country of origin and change their attitude. I haven't experienced an open and harsh discrimination here yet. But I am afraid it might happen. We ran away from discrimination and persecution from our "Muslim country" only to face it here in the land of opportunity?
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