Sunday, February 20, 2005

A Religion of Peace.

Something disturbed me today. I am an American. I am also Muslim. I cried when the towers fell. I weep when I see American servicemen and women come home in caskets. I'm outraged when someone equates my faith with terrorism. Islam is a religion of peace. It is not a religion that advocates bombing innocent civilians. It is not a religion that asks its followers to attack innocent men, women and children. I read a blog today that claimed that:

"These folks are trained to have a religious frenzy seemingly every week, pray so often that they can't possibly get any work done and to hate and despise everything within reach."

Nothing could be further from the truth. Do Muslims have more religious events than Catholics? The answer: NO. Do we pray more than a repentant Catholic reciting so many Hail Mary prayers? The answer: NO. It is painful to see my religion dragged through the mud by extremists. By extremists I refer to terrorists abroad who plot the deaths of innocent civilians. By extremists I also refer to prejudiced Americans that are simply unaware about the true nature of my religion.

There exists those in this country that will point out every right wing action by a Muslim group and naively claim, "See, they're savages!" Such faulty logic, I argue, will bring about the very downfall of this nation. What is needed is a deep understanding what Islam truly is -- A religion of peace that has been hijacked by a militant minority. As Lao Tzu once said:

"Know your enemy, know yourself, and you can fight a hundred battles with no danger of defeat. When you are ignorant of the enemy but know yourself, your chances of winning and losing are equal. If you don't know both your enemy and yourself, you are bound to perish in all battles.... Know the terrain, know the weather, and your victory will be complete."

A word to the not so wise -- you are not battling Islam. Those that conducted the atrocities observed during 9/11 are not Muslims. Just as most would not refer to abortion clinic bombers as Christians, I claim that terrorists cannot be Muslim. Even President Bush proclaimed:

"The face of terror is not the true faith of Islam. That's not what Islam is all about. Islam is peace. These terrorists don't represent peace. They represent evil and war."

True story: On 9/11, after I saw the planes hit I went outside and sat on my steps and cried. Two construction workers came up to me and said, "You motherfuckers should go back to where you came from." Two hours later, my car was vandalized. I was shocked. I realized then that I would have to fight two extremists -- terrorists abroad and the prejudiced at home.

I was again angered and saddened by what I read today. It reminded me that those two construction workers aren't the only ignorant ones out there... What's an American Muslim to do?


Blogger mindful said...

Maybe all you can do is have faith that those who insult you and your religion are also nothing but a militant, ignorant minority.

7:28 PM  
Blogger thc said...

This is a great post. Perhaps Tedrow Drive could occasionally feature more about Islam.

7:54 PM  
Anonymous tomw said...

Every once in awhile THC and I agree... this is one. Thanks for the insight.

9:52 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

A meaningful post which fills me with sorrow about the lack multicultural understanding found in this country.

7:47 PM  
Blogger Julie D. said...

Great post. I think this is exactly what American Muslims need to do ... to speak up and point out the outrage and sorrow of every regular person out there, regardless of religion. Also, I'd love to see more about Islam from your point of view. It is something we get to hear all too little about.

8:18 AM  
Blogger Vavoom said...

All: Thanks for the kind comments. Yes, I will be sure to post more about Islam.

8:52 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

This was wonderfully insightful to others who are not aware of the unjust prejudice Muslims endure. I can only hope people show tolerance and respect to all those different than themselves.

11:43 PM  

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