Fear The Preacher
Around the world, peace is being whispered into the ears of individuals in open spaces, closed quarters and on religious grounds. Through the pages of religions, Holy Books, & through movements of unity and non-violence, it once felt like peace was achievable. But different ideologies and traditions dominate, and with politics pulling the strings, it seems we are far off from obtaining it. Different people have different sets of rules and thoughts, with religion as the base for it all. Religion has been a driving force in most of our lives. We worshipped gods of the various elements in our environment, laid down rules which were provided by those Gods, sacrificed lives to please those Gods, and waged wars because the Gods willed it. The gruesome acts of our ancestors were committed for something that they could not even see. We still perform such malicious acts in the name of religion.
But why is it that only one religion is being thrown under the spotlight? Why the hate? Why the fear? Why the Islamophobia?
There has always been a gap between religions. Initially, it was the bigger religions that spread around the word of God and their religious ideologies while bringing in new followers. Mostly, these followers were forced to convert, and if they refused,, they would be tortured or executed. In some way or the other, most religions share the same ideas. But in spite of that, they still fought. Wars were waged, lives were lost, and countries and nations were burnt down. Currently, though things look better, hate and the desire for dominance keep finding ways to overcome peace and understanding. The world has seen a rise in hate crimes against religion or because of religion. People are held against their own and treated with malice. Human rights are completely ignored.
The question is: why is it that only Islam is being framed? It has been termed as a “terrorist religion” while, On the contrary it is one of the few religions which speaks about how to be a true servant to society and what it means to be human. It speaks about peace and love for your neighbours, charity to society, and the importance of science. Islam helped to push science to the forefront and even spawned a very illustrious art culture.
Yet, due to the actions of a few terrorist organizations it has been thrown down the bus. True, the Quran states that both peace and violence may be used, but only under certain circumstances. Using Jihad, which actually means “striving in the way of God”, to justify the killing of innocents and bringing the lives of people to a standstill is not right. The Quran, the Holy Book these terrorists swear to adhere to, doesn’t even acknowledge the hostage, torture, and murder of innocent individuals. If we consider these terrorists as representatives of all of Islam, then why should we not remember the Klu Klux Klan & the Nazi Skinheads (who are Christian racist groups) or the Hindu Extremists who slaughtered Muslim minorities in Gujarat, India? Why is the green and white of Islam, and the peace that embodies it being ridiculed and framed? Shouldn’t the world that we call so civilized realize that all religions preach the same teachings of knowledge, unity, love and peace?
Islam is a religion that is commonly feared. Though Islamic extremists take credit for major terrorist acts, we forget that it is only a few people attacking us and not an entire religion. Why are we letting the actions of a few ruin the lives of millions of innocents?
While we see a number of incidents related to Islamic organizations, we forget the innocent Muslims who are targeted each and every day. From point blank shots on the streets of New York, to the blood ridden streets of Gaza, Muslim civilians are being targeted for the acts of people they don’t even know- people who believe that the fields of prosperity are irrigated by the blood of the innocent.
Peace can easily be achieved, if only we know who our true enemies are. If people are not shown the truth, an equal society without hate and prejudice is unattainable. After the so called ‘Islamic attacks’, a number of Muslim communities came out to join other mourners in solidarity to prove the attackers wrong. These are the true advocates of Islam, not the 600 rounds per second of an AK-47. The Holy Books can be our way of life. A sort of cushioning for society to live on and not the voices of a few hiding behind masks. Somewhere out there while a young boy is studying in a Madrasa, another is picking up a gun. Maybe, just maybe, words can change our views about one another and provide us a reason to love.
- Arcangelo Anthony