Extremists causing discrimination toward Muslims

Though many base their opinions of Muslims off extremists and terrorists, religious texts promote peace.  (Photo provided by Taqi)
Though many base their opinions of Muslims off extremists and terrorists, religious texts promote peace. (Photo provided by Taqi)

A poll done by Newsweek shows 46 percent of Americans say this country allows “too many” Muslim immigrants. The same poll reflect that 41 percent of Americans believe the Muslim culture glorifies suicide.

Acts of terrorism have been making headlines since the late 1970s. Today, the FBI’s top priority is to protect the U.S. from terrorist groups like al-Qaida and ISIS. Recently, ISIS militants killed Baghdad civilians in a suicide bombing, launched attacks on Kurdish forces and killed a British hostage, Alan Henning.

Current news emphasizes the endangerment of the innocent by Muslim terrorists. The terrorists cause the harm. Muslims desire peace.

Over 80 percent of the U.S. follows Christianity with less than 1 percent of the population following Islam. Lack of representation in this country has led to misinterpretations of the Islamic religion. The Quran states,“All mankind is descended from Adam and Eve, an Arab is not better than a non-Arab and a non-Arab is not better than an Arab; a white person is not better than a black person, nor is a black person better than a white person except by piety and good actions.” Most Muslims share American values such as the need to seek equality and justice for all. Muslim extremists or Islamists believe in the merging of the mosque and the state under sharia law. Islam extremists use non-violent approaches to spread ideology and install Islamic supremacy around the globe. On the other hand, Islamic terrorists use violent acts to instill fear and force changes of government in their favor.

A common misconception made about Muslim men is that they are vicious for allowing the stoning of cheating wives and performing public honor killings. The Quran, like other spiritual texts, has a high regard for life and does not promote violence. Practicing Muslims are like practicing Christians; they sin. However, Muslims largely believe in encouraging peace and protection of wives. Muslim extremists believe all women should listen to the needs of the men and continually satisfy them. An extremist might go as far as threatening to divorce their wife because she spoke when she was not addressed. A terrorist could ruthlessly murder a woman for revealing too much skin.

People should not stereotype, but why do they? Anytime you think about international news, the first thing that comes to mind is the Middle East. Westerners do not realize the rate at which non-westerners are slain, mainly because reporters do not highlight this information. In fact, al-Qaida kills eight times more Muslims than non-Muslims. Why aren’t more Americans aware of this? It’s simple. If a Muslim man saves a drowning infant, religion becomes a pointless detail in the story coverage. However, if a man, who happens to be of the Islamic faith, drowns an infant the story becomes another outlet for more Islamic distrust in America.

In America, Muslims experience stereotype in various forms. Some cases of discrimination against Muslim Americans include inequity in the workforce or being denied a job, being heavily searched at airports, or even being harassed by strangers who see a hijab as an emblem of hate. There are many organizations in the U.S. such as Jihad Watch and the American Freedom Defense Initiative (AFDI) that promote Islamophobia; prejudice against Islamic doctrine or Muslims.

I have witnessed these prejudices first hand. A co-worker of mine had a customer refuse to talk to her, even though she was the only employee at customer service, simply because she was Muslim. Another friend of mine was forced by her father to break up with her boyfriend because he was Muslim. What is next; separate drinking fountains? How is this any better than discrimination against African-Americans before the Civil Rights Movement? Muslims are being generalized into this one erroneous identity, which is leading to division in the Islamic community.

There are different kinds of Muslims. To practicing Muslims, extremist views are senseless and do not reflect their beliefs and values. Non-extremist Muslims do not even want to be associated with their merciless extreme counterparts.  According to the Pluralism Project at Harvard University, mosques across the country are holding open houses and inviting non-Muslims to learn about Islamic beliefs and values. According to the same organization, Muslim student groups are holding “Islam Awareness Weeks” on their college campuses where they are reassuring Muslims denounce militant Jihad and Islamic fundamentalism. Muslims are constantly having to battle negative stereotypes, which can be frustrating and infuriating.

Terrorist acts harm everybody: Muslims and Non-Muslims. Negative stereotypes against the Muslim religion also hurt people. Don’t be an ill informed citizen.