Terror- intense, sharp, overmastering fear
Terrorist- a person, usually a member of a group, who uses or advocates terrorism
Terrorism- the use of violence and threats to intimidate or coerce, especially for political purposes

In the wake of or advancing world and the daily unjustifiable increase in violence that follows its progressive “advancment” it would seem to many that the word terrorism has become synonomous with muslims only. Islam does not equal Terrorism. Muslim does not equal Terrorist. Faith does not equal Terror.

Since 2007 terrorism is frequently defined by many, including the government bodies of the western world, as Al-Qaeda. Al-Qaeda as is well known is a Muslim organization, Al-Qaeda is also a terrorist organization, ergo all Muslims are terrorists?

Tragic events such as the attack on the twin towers in New York, the bombings of Bali, Madrid and London are assumed to be justified by Islam in the minds of some people. This idea has been fueled further by many media channels which defame Islam by portraying these bombers as ‘Islamists’ or ‘Jihadists’, as though they were sanctioned by Islam, or had any legitimate spokemenship on behalf of Muslims. The actions of a few fanatical individuals who happen to have Muslim names or ascribe themselves to the Muslim faith should not be a yardstick by which Islam is judged. For the same reason, that one would not do justice to Christianity if it where perceived as sanctioning the genocide of the Native Americans, the atrocities of world war II or the bombings of the IRA.

Any discussion about terrorism in this age, fiction or non-fiction, is based on the fear and concern that the current situation generates. It should be obviously to any educated person that this is simply not true – but it is, however, the path that the ignorant often follow. The prejudice and harassment of Muslims that can be observed throughout the world is both appalling and inhumane. It is disgusting that anyone could believe without reasonable doubt that Islam as an institution could is a place where “terrorists are trained.” The Muslim extremists/fundamentalists shown by the media do not represent the entire Muslim community. They are only a small part of it. Perhaps this is an inherent flaw in the personality of people perhaps the media is to blme. However casting blame from one party to another is neither going to change the way in which people think or the situation, that because of it, now exists. Stereotyping and hating a particular religious and/or ethnic group is not going fix our ignorance and conflicts. Most of the people I know who make nasty comments about Muslims don’t even know anyone who is Muslim.

Unfortunately more and more often, Islam has been associated with terrorism and violence due to the actions of a few extreme individuals who’ve taken it upon themselves to do the most heinous crimes in the name of Islam. One of the often overlooked things that Bin Laden has done is redefine the way we look at Muslims. Like it or not, it is he that has had the biggest voice in defining what we think of Muslims, and like it or not, he has a following. To not understand this view, would be to ignore the current reality.

We need to quit looking at Muslims like they’re some foreign object that needs to be carefully inspected from afar. We need to get over our ridiculous prejudices and realize that they, too, have been targeted by terrorism. We need to get the facts and get rid of the false political nonsense. I believe the Muslim faith and the Muslim people are a blessing to this culturally and religiously diverse country, and I encourage you to learn, listen, and love rather than fear, stereotype, and hate.They are mothers. They are fathers. They are brothers. They are sisters. They are teachers. They are writers. They are neighbors. They are friends. They are people.They are not some radical, power-driven, grotesque group out to sabotage the country. They are people with lives and loves and hobbies and stories…just like anyone else. There are hard-working, compassionate, reverent people who adhere to the Muslim faith, and they sure as hell aren’t terrorists.

Although it is never possible for an outsider to understand completely how another feels I can empathize with the way, I expect that, Muslims must feel. It has become politically incorrect even to the point of becoming shameful to depict, without due cause people of African-american decent as criminals, despite the fact that there are Black criminals. The generalization and assumption made that all criminals are black has long passed. To discuss crime in America, you have to discuss race, and Blacks. To do it fairly you should also cover inequality and racism and the impact that it has. The issue is similar with terrorism. To discuss terrorism completely, the Muslim religion has to be mentioned; but to be fair, the root cause of Muslim extremism needs to be covered also.

To understand Islam’s stance on terrorism, one must refer to its original sources, the Quran and the teachings of Prophet Muhammad, which are explicit in their prohibition of any form of injustice including that of wanton violence, which seeks to instill fear, injury or death to civilians. Centuries before the Geneva Convention was drawn up, Muslims were bound by a code of conduct which the Prophet Muhammad, peace be upon him, set. He forbade the killing of women, children and elderly in war. In an authentic narration the Prophet (pbuh) warned that he who kills anyone who has a covenant of peace with the Muslims will not smell the scent of Paradise. In fact, he taught that justice is not only to humans but must be shown to animals and all living things. If such is the sanctity which Islam places on the soul of an animal, how much more grave is the killing of hundreds of innocent humans? Abu Bakr the first Calipha of the Muslims reflected these prophetic teachings when he advised his general Yazid, who was confronting Roman armies,

“I advise you ten things, Do not kill women or children or an aged, infirm person. Do not cut down fruit-bearing trees. Do not destroy an inhabited place. Do not slaughter sheep or camels except for food. Do not burn bees and do not scatter them. Do not steal from the booty, and do not be cowardly.”

The message of the Quran is clear as we have seen, that the sanctity of any human life is to be respected and any violation in that regard is paramount to the worst crime. Mercy is at the heart of the Islamic call, “We sent thee (O Muhammad) not save as a mercy for the peoples” (21:107); a totally different message to what the terrorists are sadly imparting to humanity.

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