Misconceptions of Islam
By Yusra Qaiser

Fundamentalism! Radicalism! Terrorism! We’ve all heard these words, but not alone. By putting the term “Muslim” behind this word, we end up with a phrase that never ceases to follow Islam. To others, Muslim may be considered a general term, but for us it is our pride, and this pride is attacked when news reporters endlessly mention our religious perception. While reading a news article, have you ever wondered why religion is always mentioned for a Muslim crime, but not for any other?

“Islamic terrorists using You Tube to spread propaganda”, a headline in the recent article for Fox News didn’t fail to condemn the religion. Posting videos of violence against the US troops in Iraq and suicide bombing was the reason for this article to be brought into public notice. There was also a mention about it being nearly impossible to stop such videos from popping up, and Islamic extremists having meetings in chat rooms which, on the internet, are as if trying to find a needle in a haystack. I ask, why mention Islam in the headline? Why not just say “Terrorists using You Tube to spread propaganda”? Sitting in the bus, while flipping through a newspaper, and seeing this headline would really give the citizens another reason to criticize Islam. Another example was “Man arrested on terror charge” which did not mention our religion in the headline, but it sure was the first word of the article. Pickton, an accused murderer of 27 women in British Columbia, has been mentioned in the news lately, but why is it that his religion isn’t mentioned? Even after continuous research on Pickton’s trial news articles, I failed to find the religion he belongs to.

“Islamophobia” is a newly developed term infecting the European and Western societies. This term affects the mentality of individuals towards Islam. After publicity of Muslim terrorists belonging to Al-Qaeda or Jihad, any Muslim crime that occurs is mostly related to one of these groups. Have you ever heard about a Muslim crime that is not related to terrorism? It could just be another one of those crimes committed by a citizen having nothing to do with Islam or terrorism. Media has resulted in discrimination against ordinary Muslims wherever they go. “Little Mosque on the Prairie”, a comedic show about the stereotypes against Muslims is favoured all around North America and Europe. I’m sure we all remember the first episode when Amaar is at the airport, talking on his cell phone and just as soon as he mentions Allah’s name, the security takes him in because they think he’s a terrorist. We know it was a joke at the time, but it’s no joke in real life. The European Monitoring Center on Racism and Xenophobia, which tracks ethnic and religious bias, has declared in a recent report that Muslims constantly suffer physical attacks and discrimination in the job and housing markets. Beate Winkler, the group's director, said that since the September 11 attacks, many of Europe's nearly 13 million Muslims feel "put under a general suspicion of terrorism."

A certain episode of “The Tyra Banks show” was about racism. There were different individuals representing their culture or religion, and among those individuals was a Muslim woman. In order to evaluate which group is the most discriminated in America, a group of people were brought and were asked some questions. An African-American woman was asked “Who would you choose as your friend?” Her answer was: The Muslim woman, because if I get into trouble, her brothers probably have guns, so they can protect me. These are not her exact words, but this is close to what she said.

The idea that every Muslim is related to terrorism somehow, is appalling. If we take a look at what’s happening now, a clear picture of the future can be seen. I’m sure it hurts when your religion is criticized or discriminated against. Every religion is equal. Every religion deserves respect. Why not give some to Islam?


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