Today I was awakened again. I’ve been asleep for quite a while in this affluent, quiet suburbia that I call home. My life here is routine and safe, my biggest worries are academics and what I’ll be pursuing following my graduation from a four year University. I’ve been sick for three weeks now and I considered not attending class today, but I rallied last minute, grabbed a coffee from our kiosk, and stumbled into my Immigration in a Global Age classroom 5 minutes late.
I whispered to myself as the professor turned off the lights. The video was about the Muslim communities in the United States after September 11th. These people are a minority group who have been marginalized from society because of a smaller extremist group who has misrepresented Islam. The U.S. government has asked mosque leaders to help them find extremists within their own congregations. These measures as well as the accusations and racist crimes that muslims have endured in these past 12 years have fostered an environment of fear among Allah’s followers. Please realize that I understand that measures must be taken to protect the United States and snub out any form of terrorism that could be present, but as one of the workers for IMAN (Inner-City Muslim Action Network) stated, “We are not tolerated guests in this country, we are citizens.” Keith Ellison, a Minnesota representative, and a practicing Muslim, swore into office using a Koran instead of a Bible. This was not just any Koran, but the Koran of Thomas Jefferson. Yet, even so, there was an enormous amount of backlash from fellow politicians and other citizens. The scariest thought of all is the realization that European Muslims are even worse off. For example, a muslim woman in Turkey cannot legally wear her hijab (head scarf) when seeking an education at a university. Wake up.
The marginalization and dehumanization of whole groups and cultures is not the solution, but the root of conflict and civil unrest.
It is much easier to find a scape goat than it is to find an answer for why violence or terrible things continue to happen.
Take for instance today, Boston’s bombings, it is impossible to understand why terrible events such as this occur. It seems as if they are happening now more than ever. But do we sympathize, maybe even cry while watching the news, and then forget? How are YOU going to foster equality and peace within your communities? Let this tragedy, let the hardships of others, shape your life into one of love. I challenge you to a life of deep deep hunger for social justice and a unquenchable desire to reach mutual understanding across religions, across languages, across boarders, and across the street.
”What is true of the individual will be tomorrow true of the whole nation if individuals will but refuse to lose heart and hope.” -Mahatma Gandhi