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America’s Perception of Muslims Needs to Change


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By Dr. Zahid Bukhari, President, Islamic Circle of North America
 
As a Muslim American, I strongly condemn the atrocious attacks on the diplomatic facility in Benghazi, which resulted in the murder of four Americans, including Ambassador Chris Stevens, and the continued violence throughout the Middle East. Contrary to the images that have been replicated around the world, Islam is a religion of peace and does not justify attacks against innocent people.

As this violence proliferates abroad we must ask ourselves a question: How is this affecting the image of millions of Muslim Americans who live here in the U.S.? The American public continues to view Islam through two basic lenses: First, there is the 9/11 lens that brings to mind images of religious fanatics and terrorism, and second, the disrespect to Prophet Muhammad (PBUH) lens, in which communities throughout the Middle East have responded violently to parodies or insults of the Prophet.

The American public needs to better understand the Islamic faith and what it stands for by getting to know their Muslim neighbors, approximately 7 million of whom live in the United States. If they did, they might realize that the Islamic faith prohibits any Muslim from criticizing or making fun of any other religious figure such as Jesus, Buddha or Moses.

Like Jews, Christians and Hindus, the vast majority of Muslims in the world practice their faith peacefully while devoting their lives to worshipping God. No practicing Muslim would advocate violence in any form in response to cartoons or films, no matter how offensive. What is important to note here is that the fundamental elements of our faith are grounded in the belief and respect of Prophet Muhammad (PBUH) and an insult on his noble personality is injurious to more than 1.5 billion Muslims across the globe. Images of terrorists and extremists are being used by politicians and hate groups alike to misrepresent Muslims and propagate religious intolerance.

All good Muslims live their lives in accordance with The Prophet, who was known for his nonviolent compassion, even when he was faced with mobs that threw trash on him. According to the teachings of Prophet Muhammad, when garbage was thrown on him as a sign of disrespect, he did not fight back. In fact he prayed for the recovery of a sick woman who was known to have been throwing garbage on his path.

It is incumbent on Muslim Americans who live in this country to correct the myths and educate our fellow citizens about who we are and what we stand for. Muslim Americans respectfully uphold the United States Constitution which guarantees the rights of freedom of speech and freedom of religion, which enables every citizen to practice his or her faith freely.

Those who take offense to the film, as I do, should follow the examples of another Prophet, Jesus Christ, who is revered and respected in the Quran. Jesus practiced humility and kindness even as he was faced with those who wished harm upon him, as Prophet Muhammad did.

Let’s not forget that a handful of religious extremists here in the U.S. produced and disseminated this film, provoking religious extremists abroad. At the end of the day extremism is our enemy. A great American, Dr. Martin Luther King, once said, “The ultimate weakness of violence is that it is a descending spiral, begetting the very thing it seeks to destroy. Instead of diminishing evil, it multiplies it.”

Hate undermines the righteousness of our cause. Muslim Americans are devout in their faith toward God and at the same time they are good citizens who believe in and are willing to defend America and its freedoms.

In response to the recent rise in anti-Muslim hate groups and the demonization of Muslims in the media, the Islamic Circle of North America has embarked on an Islamic education campaign to explain our faith to the American public. The ongoing campaign is traveling to 36 cities with billboards, PSAs, town hall meetings, college campus seminars and a 24-hour hotline inviting people to ask questions about Islam and engage in positive discourse.

We still have a long way to go, and the violent protests in the Middle East only reinforce the need for Muslim Americans to reach out and talk to their neighbors. Our American community needs to address the elephant in the room which is that millions of Americans are being discriminated against, simply because of the God they choose to worship.

To make matters worse, extremists in the United States continue to prey on American’s Islamophobic fears for personal and political gain. As a result, we are calling on members of our Muslim community and on our fellow Americans to stand together and defend our right to religious freedom as citizens of the United States of America and as guaranteed by our Constitution.

Article Courtesy: Huffington Post

 

  • Tanya Aziz via Facebook

    And the Koch’s need to stop financing the fear.

  • http://www.facebook.com/dean.cranswick Dean Uncle-Ruckus Cranswick via Facebook

    No.

  • abdul basit malik

    you have given examples of prophets life in makka . After that when sora hujrat came , it was even said by ALLAH to the muslims , as not to be loud , may be their disrespecting attitude will destroy all their deeds . So respect of the HOLY PROPHET is part of our eeman and any disrespecting act pinches us too much , .what is hurt ? a trauma , physical or psychological which is giving pain , is hurt in usa there are rules and courts for such hurts , and if a persons act is hurting 1`5 billion ppl , there is no rule to contain him right of freedom of speech does not allow me to abuse you if one abuses the other in usa , does it comes under act of freedom of speech ? what is abuse ? an insulting word purposely said for hurting the others?there comes law to stop it / if there is no law ? people will go fighting and killing each other just for an abuse . what we muslims are saying to usa they must make a law for such bad acts which is more than an abuse to a muslim to disrespect our prophet .in absence of such law muslims want to kill such person by them and they kill or hurt americans as symbols of such a state who is protecting thes people , now who is the beginner ? muslims or the person who makes movie ? this is not so simple there is war mafi behind this who wanted to make justification of their killings in iraq afghanistan pakistan and tell americans that all muslims are terrorist / , lets see what happens ?

  • http://www.facebook.com/hafizabdulbasit.malik Hafiz Abdul Basit Malik via Facebook

    the act of movie was to provoke muslims responce and to tell americans that all muslims are violent so kill violents in iraq afghanistan and pakistan by drones is justified this is game of war lords , weapon manfacturers

  • Jason

    With all respects, i wish to know how and when the Muslim community will handle this extremism. I don’t care what governments and nations plan to do, i want to know what muslims plan to do. I think must people would like to have a different opinion. It just seems there is a lot of emphasis on separation from the situation, i.e. “they aren’t real practicing muslims”. Try telling extremists that. They think the same way about you. If you aren’t fighting you’re not a real Muslim. Only politicians care if you condemn attacks, the rest of us want to know what you plan to do about it.

  • Mushtaq Hussain via Facebook

    sorry

  • tim

    I think all Muslims should be erraticated as stated by my God in the old testament. They are the devil in disguise! Try to push your pathetic religion on the world . If it was a good religion you would have the support of God’ witch you do not. God ordered all of you destroyed without mercy. But they failed God and Islam we allowed to exist. Now we have to deal with Muslim garbage destroying this planet. I will vow to uphold Gods will and destroy Islam and e pose it for the scum that it is! God bless!