(I posted this on my FB the morning after the Nov. 13, 2015 terrorist attacks in Paris. I wanted it to have a permanent home, so here it is.)
I don’t talk about my religion and faith a lot, mainly because I firmly believe that it’s something very personal. There are moments in the aftermath of tragedies that compel me to defend myself. Defend my belief. Defend my religion. I feel compelled to remind people that terrorists don’t represent our religion, and by definition, they only use violence to instill fear in others. When I see articles and tweets of Muslims from around the world defending our religion, my initial response isn’t pride. Most of the time, the defense isn’t about educating, but immediately throwing dirt on others. We can’t show kindness, we can’t show solidarity, we can’t show our humanity…by slinging dirt on Christianity. By talking about other extremists groups. By bringing political commentary about how Paris is only getting attention because it’s a Western country.
That’s how hatred spreads. Those are how the seeds are planted. That’s how children can be brainwashed into believing that the world is against them, and that’s how they turn into the people who spread terror. Hate begets hate.
The truth is, right now, humanity is crumbling in every corner of the world. There is terror that is happening every day. There is evil all around us, lurking in quiet corners, taking innocent lives with more weapons than just guns and bombs.
So instead of pointing fingers, instead of throwing mud to show how clean we are in comparison, let’s just practice what preach. Let’s practice kindness. Let’s practice understanding. Let’s shine light in to the shadows. Let’s give the world something more than hate.
I’m Muslim. I’m human. I’m a citizen of the world.