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Being a Muslim in today's fearful society is not all that easy. However, through a unique experience, I was able to overcome the horrors of the communities. The most common misconception about Muslims is that they are terrorists. In fact, it seems that one cannot seem to speak about Islam without giving thought to this point. However, this is not a true statement. It is nevertheless, a meeting point for hate crimes and propaganda against Islam. Each global disaster is blamed on the Muslims; consequently we are not given a chance to prove ourselves as a good community.
Terrorism took a record-high toll around the world in 1998, with 741 people killed and 5,952 injured (Chicago Tribune, 4-21-95). The World Trade Center, Oklahoma City bombing and even the airplane crashes were all being blamed on Muslims as terrorist attacks. As a Muslim during the time of the Oklahoma City bombing, I was usually the center of conversations. People were constantly ridiculing and whispering about me. I was tired of being pointed at while walking through the grocery stores, or department stores. I did not want to be the one that everyone was making fun of. I just wanted to be my old self again. The one thing I never understood was why just the Muslims? The Catholics were also bombing abortion clinics. Yet I was mocked; they were not.
One evening, after coming home from a long and exhausting day, I saw the newspaper sitting on the coffee table. Blasted all over the front page in big, black, bold letters was written, "HAVE THE MUSLIMS STRUCK AGAIN?" Reading that one headline made me feel as though someone had just ripped the spirit out of my body and left it to rot. I remember thinking...
Muslim Terrorists? I don't know any Muslims that are terrorists. What was going on? Islam was a religion of peace. Muslims believe in brotherhood, so why would they make any terrorist attacks? There could not be any room for terrorism! But my questions were left un-answered and my thoughts un-finished.
Seeing my blazing and raging face, my grandmother took the newspaper, opened it up and asked me to read the whole article. "It is likely that this attack came from the direction of the Mid-East", the counter-terrorist analyst said. Other overwhelming lies and exaggerations were printed throughout the whole article. My grandmother amorously explained to me that most people are uninformed and stereotype people easily, which I should not take personally.
The look in her eyes just made me feel so much better. She was so calm and cool about the whole situation. I could not believe that she could be so calm. Her loving gray eyes made me feel so secure and warm.
My grandmother tried explaining to me that if I had a problem with the article, I could write to the editor and ask them to print a retraction. I decided not to write to the editor, but it did make me curious as to see what other newspapers were printing. As I did my research, the anger that had built up inside me was unbelievable. I felt as though I was placed in front of the whole world, and everyone was pointing and laughing at me. Here are some examples of what the newspapers said:
· "The betting here is on Middle East terrorists," declared CBS News'Jim Stewart just hours after the blast (Naureckas, par. 1).
· "The fact that it was such a powerful bomb in Oklahoma City immediately drew investigators to consider deadly parallels that all have roots in the Middle East," ABC's John McWethy stated publicly (Naureckas, par 1).
· "It has every single earmark of the Islamic car-bombers of the Middle East," wrote syndicated columnist Georgie Anne Geyer (Chicago Tribune, 4-21-95).
· "Whatever we are doing to destroy Mid-east terrorism, the chief terrorist threat against Americans, has not been working," stated the New York Times' A.M. Rosenthal (New York Times, 4-21-95).
Once again, I felt as though someone had taken my heart and broken it into a million pieces, shattering it all over the floor. I could not even think that anyone could blame someone without having hard evidence to prove it. How could anyone say that Muslims out of all people would be the first to blame? The Muslim greeting of salaam, means peace. "This peace, which in heaven is called Dar Al Salaam, is the home of peace. In this sense, the meaning of the religion as well as the call to it is meant to be peace and to achieve peace" (Khouj 295). The question now becomes obvious: How is it that a religion whose very name means peace, is so troubled by violence? I was so confused and upset, I could hardly get to bed that night.
In the morning, I turned the television on and every station said
Terminology mentioned in this term paper
Names mentioned in this term paper
Timothy McVeigh, Naureckas, Dar Al Salaam, Georgie Anne Geyer, John McWethy, Abdullah, News'Jim Stewart,
Organizations referenced in this term paper
Chicago Tribune, American Muslim Council, New York Times, Delta Force, State Department,
Locations talked about in this research paper
Middle East, Oklahoma City, India, China, United States, Philippines, Hollywood, Sri Lanka, Burma, Thailand,
Facility referenced in this term paper
the Oklahoma City bombing,
Companies included in this research paper
Keywords referenced in this research paper
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