BY: NADIA ZAIDI
Islamic terrorism and Islamic extremist are words that should be eliminated from the vernacular of news and global dialogue. It ruptures any semblance of objectivity, and our ability to decipher between individual acts and religion.
Nothing good comes out of segregation, as we have so painfully learned and continue to unravel.
We need to stop prefacing terrorist attacks, or terrorists with the word “Muslim.” It’s clear that anyone who uses religion as a scapegoat to incite terror and warfare on others is acting out of ignorance and cowardice. People are taking it upon themselves to be martyrs in the name of God, when all they do is mock their own religiosity and deplete the humanity that was put forth before them.
Blaming religion or culture for the actions of some is irresponsible and justifies hatred toward select groups. It makes it okay to place groups on the outskirts of society, and demonize them based on the actions of a few.
We are starting to recognize, discuss and challenge the notions that have riled us against certain communities for too long — and that’s a good sign. But we’re perpetually thrust in a discourse of miscommunication and fallacy. Religion needs to stay out of the matter, because frankly, it has no place there to begin with.
This piece and its sentiments are not about terrorists. I refuse to give them the attention that fuels them. This article is about acknowledging the errors of news culture in a post 9/11 era, and accepting the rights of all people in efforts to harmonize and strengthen diversity. Media is power. It is the dissemination of information and a pathway to heightened awareness. It can also be a means of blind indoctrination, and conflict building. We must use this tool to fortify the world, not denigrate it.
We talk about body shaming, slut shaming, and other forms of shaming and dehumanization. Yet we fail to acknowledge religion shaming. We are shaming people of select religions because somehow we have equated religious scripture with malevolence.
It is never okay to expect certain groups to apologize for the acts of other people who use their same religion to rationalize inhumanity. There are countless acts of terror that are justified in misinterpretation, and if only some people have blood on their hands, why should everyone else’s be stained, too?
If I occasionally consume alcohol and learn that drunk drivers are killing people, does this put us in the same boat? The commonality here is alcohol, not the act. Not the person. In one instance, alcohol has been abused and misused to inflict harm. In the other, it’s been used responsibly. The analogy of alcohol seems ironic, doesn’t it? But it’s just as absurd to paint everyone with a single stroke.
Muslims are the biggest victims of terrorism all over the world. In fact, according to the United Nations, they are the biggest victims of ISIS. It’s revolting to think that people are ousted because they are associated with a similar identification. Everyone should be given the right to their faith without it being equated with terror. Do not question select groups on their humanity simply because a select few distort religion for their own gain. Either way, nobody wins.