Tuesday, June 14, 2016

Perspective: Don’t let anger, fear divide us in fight against terrorism | Huma Munir


What is needed is a bridge between our struggles to help us understand that we are all frustrated when it comes to extremism.

Times of Ahmad | News Watch | US Desk
Source/Credit: The Dallas Morning News
By Huma Munir | June 12, 2016

The first time I remember being afraid of a Muslim was at a basketball game two years ago in San Antonio. Behind my row, there were three men who I assumed were of an Arab descent. Throughout the entire game, I kept looking over my shoulder to see if any of them were up to something suspicious.

The most shocking part? I am a Muslim woman and I was wearing the headscarf.

Following a horrific mass shooting in Orlando, fear is once again going to leave us suspicious and doubtful of one another. And while I think it is somewhat natural for human beings to judge an entire book by its cover, I know we are better than this. As people, we must challenge ourselves to rise above stereotypes and to reject suspicion and derision of one another. Not all Muslims are killers just as not all white males are mass shooters.

Omar Mateen, the Orlando shooter and an American citizen, swore allegiance to ISIS before killing 50 people and injuring many more. Following this senseless tragedy, many American citizens are struggling with their views on Islam. But they are not the only ones who are struggling. Many peace-loving Muslim citizens are trying to spread awareness that Islam is not a faith that condones killing innocent people.

As a member of the Ahmadiyya Muslim Community, I write for newspapers across the country on a regular basis, condemning these attacks. Members of my community host and participate in blood drives during every anniversary of 9/11. We also host interfaith events in hopes of bridging the gap between Muslims and other citizens of this country. Every Fourth of July, we proudly march in parades to show loyalty and love for our nation.

And today, we stand in solidarity with other citizens as we mourn the death of innocent people at the Orlando night club. This shooting affects us all one way or another. Our struggles may look vastly different on the surface, but they are interconnected. What is needed is a bridge between our struggles to help us understand that we are all frustrated when it comes to extremism.

This is why we cannot let anger divide us. After the Orlando shooting, Florida Governor Rick Scott said that the attack on the night club is an act of terrorism and that it should make every American angry. As an American citizen, I can feel that anger in my heart as I think about the barbarity of this incident.

I feel angry at the loss of innocent lives. As a Muslim, I feel my blood boiling at the thought of a “Muslim” hijacking my faith. But I am not going to let anger push me to become suspicious of other Muslims or other citizens. Muslims across the world are fasting during the month of Ramadan, something that is meant to help us better ourselves in all aspects of our lives.

I am going to channel this anger into action to make this world a better place. I am going to speak up against injustice wherever I see it and I am going to stand in solidarity with people suffering everywhere in this world. I hope other citizens of this country channel their anger into doing more positive things so we can emerge from this tragedy stronger and more unified.

While it is human to be doubtful of one another in the face of great tragedies, we must continue to challenge ourselves to be better than that. Every day, countless tragedies unfold in our world. If we let every single tragedy drive us to be hateful and divisive, we are looking at a terrible end for mankind.


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Huma Munir is a high school journalism teacher in Austin. Email: humamunir1989@gmail.com

http://www.dallasnews.com/opinion/latest-columns/20160612-huma-munir-dont-let-anger-fear-divide-us-in-fight-against-terrorism.ece

Read original post here: Perspective: Don’t let anger, fear divide us in fight against terrorism | Huma Munir


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