Tuesday, February 5, 2013

The Shame of Islamophobia

The original article can be found here.

Since September 11, 2001 and even before that date, a disturbingly large part of the world has lived with an irrational fear of the Islamic Faith. The actions of an extremely small minority within the Muslim population have tarnished the reputation of an entire peaceful, religious community.
Recently, the mosque in Villeneuve-sur-Lot, France was the sight of anti-Muslim, pro-Hitler vandalism and attempted arson. The vandals scrawled "88," referring to the letter 'H' and standing for "Heil Hitler," as well as swastikas and "Get Islam out of Europe" on the doors of the mosque, and attempted to set it ablaze on Saturday after shooting at the walls earlier in the week.
While there have been many terrorist attacks in the past years due to Muslim extremists, there have also been a number committed by non-Muslim groups. Organizations such as the Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam (LTTE or Tamil Tigers), the Irish Republican Army (IRA) and the Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia (FARC) are decidedly non-Muslim, yet extremely deadly terrorist organizations. Yet no one fears the Irish, Colombian, or Sri Lankan extremists like they do the Muslims.
This prejudice against Muslims is, in my opinion, shameful and unjust. Their situation is somewhat unique in that an entire group of people is more feared than hated. Throughout history, different ethnic groups have been hated (Serbs, Jews, African-Americans, and Tutsi just to name a few), but few have been feared by a significant portion of the human race, as modern Muslims are. This fear has been fueled by a media frenzy over any Muslim attack or act of aggression, causing the appearance of a violent, extreme culture bent on destruction. This is not the case: Islam is, like most religions, very peaceful. It has, like most religions, outdated customs and rituals that many see as harsh, archaic, and (specifically in the case of Islam) sexist. On the whole, Muslims are just like Christians, Jews, Buddhists, or any religious follower. They strive to bring honor and glory to their God, and to follow the commandments handed down in their religious tradition. Unfortunately, an extremely small group has perverted the Prophet Mohammad's message and are spreading their own form of violent, hurtful and vengeful Islam.
Muslims are people just like you and me, and deserve to be treated as such. The racist writings on the walls of the French mosque, the ruckus over the mosque in New York, and the general anti-Muslim sentiment are, in my opinion, clear violations of the rights of the Muslims. They should have every right that every other human being has, and are entitled to their rights as citizens of their respective nations. Taking that away from them is its own form of cruel and unusual punishment

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