Islam in the Eyes of the West
By Mariam Lutfullah

Islam is a religion portrayed in a very negative manner by the media. It is showed to be a religion that promotes terrorism and the killing of innocent men, women and children. This is generally what is believed by masses of people due to the extensive reach of media and its influence.
However, these images are not at all true. Islam is not a religion that promotes any kind of violence, but is believed to be that way due to many extremists that ruin the reputation of an entire race. A whole religion cannot be judged on the basis of what just a few people from that religion repeatedly portray, because not every single person belonging to that religion is the same. Most Muslims themselves disagree with how these terrorists and extremists are brutally destroying the image of a peace-loving and fraternal culture.
These terrorists that declare jihad (holy war) on various groups of people are often wrong. Jihad is only permitted under the condition that someone fought or persecuted you. Also, suicide bombers are also not correct. Islam prohibits the committing of suicide and declares it haram (forbidden)
Many non-Muslims wordlessly accept, or even support, the oppression and humiliation granted to Muslims throughout the world. This is completely unfair as they have no true knowledge of Islam. Nobody should be punished without proof. What happened to innocent until proven guilty? Nobody has any right to oppress or punish Muslims based on what a few of them are doing without first knowing the true beliefs of the religion. Many people from other religions murder, rape and commit other horrific acts, however nobody labels Christianity or Judaism as being a violent religion, or all Christians and Jews as being terrorists. Why is this persecution reserved solely for Muslims?
The headscarf of a Muslim girl was her honour and now, it has become a curse. It is now used to easily pinpoint her for discrimination. A bearded Muslim man can be stopped at the airport for a baggage check while a Christian companion is allowed to pass through. This kind of direct and indirect discrimination from higher authorities gives leeway to others to do the same.
The Prophet Muhammad (PBUH) went to war with various tribes and he told his men not to harm women, children, or even plants, as they are also alive. The men were told not to harm people in prayer. Once, after a battle, the Holy Prophet (PBUH) released any prisoners who could pay their ransom, and he released the poor and the old without any ransom at all.
The rulers of Muslims after the Holy Prophet (PBUH) were called Khalifas. The second Khalifa, Hazrat Umar, laid siege to Jerusalem. The city surrendered on the condition that Hazrat Umar himself would come to receive the key to the city. He came and asked for a place to pray. He was told to pray in a church nearby and he refused, saying that he did not want to give future Muslims to break down the church and build a masjid in its place.
These are the kinds of ideals that Muslims have to follow. Just because a few extremists do not follow these rules of peace, does not mean that all Muslims do the same thing.
Islam teaches us that saving one life is like saving all of humanity and killing one innocent person is like killing all of humanity. This shows just how violent Islam is.
Religions should be understood globally if there is to be any peace in this world.

(PBUH): Peace Be Upon Him

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