Sept. 11, 2001—everyone knows about that fateful day and the horrid events that occurred on it. The victims that died in one of the deadliest terrorist attacks on American soil deserve every moment of silence we give them as each year passes. Something else happened that day that goes unnoticed and most people don’t realize. From that day forward, the world developed a fear of Muslims.
For most, the fear stayed hidden, only showing in their eyes when a man with a beard or a woman in a hijab boarded their plane or any other form of public transportation. For a select few, unfortunately, the fear turned to anger that later transitioned into hatred—a feeling that has been termed as “Islamophobia.” These people have so much malice towards Muslims that their actions show no mercy. Countless Muslims have been harassed, abused or even killed simply for following their faith.
On Sept. 16, 2015, a national out roar occurred after the arrest of a 14 year old boy, Ahmed Mohamed, who happens to be Muslim. Reportedly, he had brought a handmade clock he engineered himself to school in order to impress one of his teachers. The school, in return, called the local authorities because they thought it was a bomb. Was this religiously motivated? Most likely. Will the teachers or the officials admit it? Definitely not.
After feeling relieved that everyone on social media was acting angrily towards the way this young Muslim boy was treated, I put the incident in the back of my head. Then soon afterwards, I got the other news. A beautiful mosque on River Road that I’m a member of had been vandalized.
Messages were sprawled all across the originally white walls spelling out hateful phrases, including “f*** Hamas,” “Nazis speak Arabic,” and the term “Sunni” crossed out in a distasteful manner.
I’ve never felt more numb in my life. So many thoughts went through my mind, but I couldn’t develop them into words. I don’t look like your “typical” Muslim and had never felt discrimination before this, but to know that there was someone living in this community who was capable of doing something so disgusting and cruel was shocking.
As for the members of the mosque, we’re not angry at this individual or group of people. We just want them to know that they aren’t going to stop us from going to our house of worship. However, we do apologize for any ugly misconceptions they may have about Muslims or the religion, but we will not take the downfall for the handful of terrorists that put the Muslim name to disgrace. That’s not who we are, and we can only hope that one day the world can accept that.
At the end of the day, I don’t want to use the word ignorance (although that’s how these actions may seem to most). These people know nothing about the religion, only what a select few have decided to portray it as. Islam is about peace, it’s about loving your brothers and sisters and it’s about respecting everyone, no matter what they may believe in. It’s also about believing in God, and that’s why I’m so grateful that no one was inside the mosque when the intruders came.
So just remember, at the end of the day, we will continue to show compassion, and only together can everyone rise above this.