A few days ago, I was asked to write an article for The Bottom Line. I have to admit that I was quite reluctant because I didn’t know what to write about. Eventually, the editors managed to convince me.  I started asking myself why on Earth had I accepted the offer. I was living the classic case of the “white page syndrome”. Then, as I was looking at my Facebook feed, I noticed an article titled “The Most Hated Religions in the World”. I was unfortunately not surprised to see Islam on top of the list.  I usually ignore these posts because they’ve become quite common since the attacks on Charlie Hebdo. If I got mad for every hateful post on social media, I’d be going crazy. Since I have to write an article about something that concerns me, I thought that misjudgments of my religion would be a good place to start.

          Firstly, there are things that I’d like to make clear. If you’re reading this and you’re the type of person that thinks that Muslims are sexist violent pedophiles and try to justify your prejudice by bringing up statements written in the Quran conveniently picked off of the internet, you’re swimming deep into ignorance. In fact, the Quran was originally written in Arabic, one of the most complicated, subtle, and hardest languages to learn and especially to translate. You need a certain level of intelligence, academic knowledge and cultural understanding to even try to interpret these passages. So, bringing out translated sentences without context to prove your opinion is wrong and illogical.

           The second thing that bothers me is the fact that Muslims are always associated with the immoral and criminal actions of terrorist groups like ISIS. However, people must know that terrorism has no colour, no religion and no soul, in fact. Its only fuel is hatred. It’s as foolish as saying that all Quebecers are child killers because of Guy Turcotte, that every Italian is linked to the mafia because of the Rizzuto clan or that all Christians support the Ku Klux Klan. We’re all affected by these attacks and Muslims are not spared. ISIS has over 28 operation zones, among them: Iraq, Syria, Egypt, Libya, Nigeria, Algeria, Lebanon, Yemen, Saudi Arabia, Gaza, Tunis, Afghanistan, Pakistan, Mali, Somalia, Bangladesh, Indonesia and Iran, which are all Muslim-majority countries. Therefore, it’s foolish to think that all Muslims are behind all terror attacks when we consider that they’re the main victims.

           It’s sad that even in 2017, we still see and hear hateful comments in the media since they have such a big influence on the average citizen. Imagine a twelve-year-old watching the news and hearing people talk about Islam in such a gratuitously resentful manner. How do you think his perception of the Muslim community will be? Do you think that he’ll even consider being friends with a Muslim child? It’s so frustrating to consider that the media’s portrayal of Islam might be a person’s introduction to my faith. The Islam that I’ve lived and experienced has always been a religion of peace, respect, forgiveness, mercy, honesty, and knowledge.  These are the values that have been inculcated in me by my parents since I was a little girl. What you see on TV about Muslim parents beating up their kids and forcing their daughters to wear the veil in the Western world is not a common occurrence.

If there’s one thing that can be learned from the Las Vegas shooting, it’s that unraveling the true motives of a killer isn’t as easy as it may seem. Investigators are still looking for the reasons that pushed the Las Vegas shooter, multi-millionaire Stephen Paddock, to kill innocent people, in vain. Many self-proclaimed Jihadists try to make us believe that it is because of their faith that they are killing. But it is important for people to understand that it’s not because they say it’s the truth that it is so. No faith can lead a healthy person to kill before taking away his own life. There are tangible reasons at play that people often don’t want to acknowledge. Instead of further marginalizing innocent Muslim minorities by wrongly criticizing their faith, which they have always lived with peace and love, I encourage you to think about the reasons that push distraught human beings in a very dark place to commit such horrendous actions.

Hopefully this has enlightened some of you and, perhaps, opened your mind.

Nihad Chanane
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