Originally published in the Hufington Post
You’re seven times more likely to be shot by a right wing extremist in the United States than you are to be shot by a Muslim extremist. But I guess facts don’t stop many Americans from being deathly afraid of all Muslims. I know it’s crazy to think that just because a few radical extremists do something horrifying, the faith of Islam is not to blame. But as an American who is part of the Ahmadiyya Muslim Community, the world’s largest organized sect of Islam, I can wholeheartedly say that there is nothing in Islam that justifies any acts of terror. In the Quran it says that if somebody kills another person, “It shall be as if he has killed all mankind.” (5:33) This is just one of many parts of the Quran which tells Muslims to not use violence unless in the case of self-defense. But if any members of Daesh are naïve enough to think that the atrocities they are committing are acts of self-defense, they are out of their minds. The concept of “Islamic terrorism” as brought about by many Islamophobes, like Donald Trump, can be simply attributed to often uneducated people being brainwashed by hate preachers. Additionally, if Islam is a violent religion, then out of the 1.6 billion Muslims in the world, why do only the most uneducated ones who live in war torn areas become terrorists? It’s easy to blame Islam, but when viewing the bigger picture it’s obvious that these other factors are the true causes of extremism.
However, if you’re one of those Confederate flag toting “True ‘Muricans” who still think that Obama is a Nigerian Muslim, you might not be fully convinced by my argument. You might think that all Muslims, including myself, are terrorists. As ridiculous as this may seem, people that fit this description do in fact exist and are incredibly common. How else do you think Donald Trump is leading the Republican polls? The reasons for this are clear. Muslims are a minority in the United States. Approximately over 60 percent of Americans haven’t met a Muslim. With statistics like these, it’s not surprising to see that the general public is afraid of what they don’t understand. But being surprised at this statistic isn’t going to do anything. We need to educate and inform the American public that Islam isn’t the cause of terrorism; it’s the misinformed and brainwashed extremists.
This is especially important because I’m sure none of us want a bigot to be holding the office of president. Politicians who promote xenophobia with ideas like shutting down mosques or giving all Muslims special ID cards, are not true Americans. It is evident that Donald Trump, Ben Carson, Jeb Bush and most of the GOP candidates are xenophobic fear-mongers. America is a melting pot, and was created by our founding fathers to be a country for people of all races, religions, and cultures. It’s scary to think that the most xenophobic of the Republican candidates are the ones with the highest polls. It’s disturbing that the Republican frontrunner can scoff and shake his head at a Muslim woman being ejected from one of his rallies. It’s disgusting that his poll numbers increased after he proposed banning Muslim entry into the U.S. But this only goes to show how important it is for people to know what the true Islam really is.
As a third year student at The Ohio State University and the president of our branch of the Ahmadiyya Muslim Students Association, I’ve been doing my part. In the past three years we have held multiple interfaith events as well as “Stop the crISIS” events, which aim to diminish the idea that Daesh has any relation to Islam. Additionally, we’ve consistently held “Muslims For Life” blood drives with the Red Cross to honor 9/11 victims and to fight negative Muslim stereotyping. Just next month we’ll be holding a True Islam event, letting people know what the actual teachings of Islam are, rather than what they see in the media. Some people might still be intent on thinking that I’m intending on causing terror with my degree in biomedical engineering and future medical degree, but if anyone wants to say that Muslims need to speak up more against terrorism: we are, you just aren’t listening.