Six Things Muslims Wish You Knew
Being a Muslim in America right now is… let’s be honest, a pretty shitty experience. We’re consistently referred to as terrorists, towel-heads, sand monkeys, and all kinds of cutesy names that kinda hurt, but that we’re honestly over already because we’ve heard it all at this point and the sting wears off after that brief nano-second of hurt. We have friends and acquaintances that smile in our faces and don’t hesitate to post nasty shit about us on social media that are contemptuous of us and what we believe in. But are we really that different? Be honest with yourself: The Muslims you’ve interacted with on a daily basis; your classmates, colleagues, your doctor, your deli guy – what have they done to harm you? In light of recent events, maybe it’s time to put things into perspective:
- No, We Don’t Want To Kill You
There is something called extremism. It differs greatly from the norm. It’s like saying all Christians are like the Westboro Baptist Church members, who tell grieving widows and parents, brothers and sisters of war heroes that a fallen soldier “deserves to be killed”. Do you represent them? No? Then why do you assume Al-Qaeda represents me? The same is true of (some) Orthodox Jews who refuse to sit next to a woman in an airplane because their faith doesn’t allow it. Does this sect represent you? No? Then why do you automatically assume that ISIS represents me?
- No, American Muslims don’t Hate America
In this map, there’s a flag visible in each region. Those flags represent the countries that each region feels are a threat to world peace. Take a close look at that map.
The truth is, American Muslims more often than not love America, or England if they happen to be British. Or Australia if they’re living down under. American Muslims work, study, marry, absorb the culture of, and are even buried in the United States. They know how to sing the Star – Spangled Banner. They think Kim Kardashian is amazing (or whatever) and their brother thinks he’s Fetty Wap. We have our coffees and our iPads, and shovel snow in the winter. We are not the enemy – don’t put us in the same category as terrorists because we’re just as against them as you are. The problem is, every time a nutjob with the name of Ahmed blows something up, we ALL have to speak up for him and we ALL have to be punished for it.
- Yes, Muslim Women Wear Veils and it Forces You to Acknowledge Their Person
The purpose of the veil is modesty – pure and simple. It’s not meant to oppress women, even if a lot of people make it seem that way. Its main function is to divert attention from a woman’s physical appearance and obliges speakers to focus on the woman’s words and substance – not just her tits if a man is so inclined. No men are like that? Here’s one of America’s forerunner candidates expressing his views on women. Muslim women who are veiled and follow more orthodox branches of Islam aren’t interested in that kind of attention. So if you find yourself feeling off-put when you see a woman wearing a veil – congratulations, the point is not to have you objectify her and instead, it obliges you to see her as a human. “But I know a girl in a hijab who’s a total slut!” You may think – yes, that’s possible when there are 1.57 billion of us out there. There’s bound to be a bad apple in the bunch. It’s not rocket science, just probability. By the way – Islam doesn’t blame Eve for the original sin. It places responsibility on Adam and Eve equally. In the dark ages, Muslim women were given rights Christian women only very recently received, such as inheritance rights and a right to refuse marriage if she so wants. Don’t believe me? Research for yourself. Those child brides in Yemen you see? Those are ruled by tradition and tribal ignorance, but mostly poverty, and are not the norm.
- We Are Targeted Every Day, and Some Of Us Are Killed
A lot of people like to make their hatred of us well known. We’re glared at when we shop, we’re started at in the bus. Some people physically hurt us. Rallies occur against us. Imagine a bunch of people protesting against Kosher – or Catholicism. “But they’re non-violent!” Nope – not all of them. Catholic churches have prosecuted people for centuries, and a lot of Jewish people hate Christians. It’s like living in a jungle. News stations like Fox are hell-bent on painting us as barbarians. We hear passive-aggressive comments like “go back to your country” when we were born and raised in frikkin’ Brooklyn. A lot of people hate us, lots and lots of them. And if your name is Mohammed and you happen to be bearded and boarding a plane – well, let me show you how that usually goes:
- We Really Hate Terrorists
You read that right. Not all of us want to strap a bomb on our person and blow up a nightclub. The vast, vast, let me repeat that: VAST majority of us are against ISIS. We are just as terrified of them as you are, and we resent and despise them just as much. They do not represent us, and they never did and never will. We want them exterminated just as much as you do, but every time we try to show you that, you refuse to believe us.
6. We’re Humans Just like You
We fall in love, we make mistakes and cry when we hold our babies for the first time. We fight with our siblings and we seek shelter, dignity, safety, and respect. We have our famewhores and our idiots, but we also have doctors, lawyers, and engineers. We have awkward teenage phases, acne, and we fight with our parents. We also make great friends, and we are tolerant of others. It’s an honor for us to have you in our homes, because we’re taught to treat visitors with respect and we love our moms to boot. We’re humans just like you – and we wish you’d look past what you see in the media and recognize that.