This article is written by my good friend Manesha Paryani. Like me, she works in the IT industry and keeps the habit of writing on topics she feels requires attention in society. Her writing has a flow about it and encompasses witty remarks the topics she is writing about that will make you remember her articles. This article is about Islam being blamed for terrorism almost everytime in our world. She expresses her views opposing this theory which is largely prevalent in our society these days urging everyone to spread love and harmony in the name of religion instead.
"Religions of the world have helped define the society we see existing today. The term “Religion” has many definitions. The word “Religion” is sometimes used interchangeably with faith or beliefs. In a simple language religion is nothing but specific set of beliefs, cultural systems involving variety of code of ethics or philosophies of life. Religious practice is nothing but reverence to the Gods. Religions were created to advocate for love and peace. In Sanskrit “dharma” translated as religion means “laws” which is supposed to guide religious practice, beliefs and many aspects of daily life. Some of the largest religions in the world are Christianity, Judaism, Islam, Hinduism, and Buddhism.
Islam is the second largest religion after Christianity. There are total 195 countries in world out of which approximate 50 countries follow Islam as their religion which account for a total population of 1.6 billion. Islam is the religion mostly prevalent in North Africa, Middle East and South East Asia. It is also prevalent in china, some parts of Europe and North America. Islam is the fastest growing religion in the world. Indeed, one out of every five persons on this earth is a Muslim. Yet, unfortunately, Islam is also the most misunderstood religion. Islam means the active submission to the one God. Muslims are those who believe in one God and in Muhammad as the final Prophet of God. The Qur’an, according to Muslim belief, is the word of God revealed to Prophet Muhammad. The concept of jihad (wrongly translated as holy war) refers to the duty of Muslims to struggle for their faith and the welfare of the Muslim community. The Qur’an does not permit aggression against anyone and Prophet Muhammad propagated his message in a peaceful manner. Warfare is permitted only in self-defense.
Now a days we have been seeing that the terms Islamic or Muslim are linked to extremism, militant as if they belonged together inextricably and naturally. It is perceived that by default all the Muslims have the tendency to be terrorists. They are always looked down as some slaughterers or hooligans always on their toes to smash heads of innocent people. Muslims are often viewed as people living with the only propaganda of “kill the infidel” which many believe as the ideology which they have against non – Muslims. To be very free-spoken, Islam is not a synonym for terrorism. Jihad is the not “Holy war”. Jihad means to struggle for God's cause. Unfortunately this word gets thrown around a lot and is almost always used incorrectly. Islam is the religion that suffers a lot of misconceptions. “All Muslims are terrorists” is a new stereotype now a day. This misconception is because of few extremists or fundamentalists with some agenda that they try to justify on the name of religion which eventually creates bad name for Islam as a whole. This has been further used by biased media as weapon in feeding the wrong beliefs that terrorism is attached to Muslims and Islam rather than other religions. This biased media is supported by the politicians who have their own agendas against some Islamic countries to get control of their lands and of their resources (nuclear weapons). It is very well known that West fears Islam due to some unspoken reason. If a terrorist attack does not fit the “Islam is the perennial and existential threat of our times” narrative, it is simply not paid much attention to. It is to such an extent that the average American cannot remember any Jewish or Latino terrorist.
On the FBI’s official website, there exists a chronological list of all terrorist attacks committed on U.S. soil from the year 1980 all the way to 2001. According to this data; there were more Jewish acts of terrorism within the United States than Islamic (7% vs. 6%). When terrorist attack occurs by non-Muslims (Christians, Jews, Buddhists,..), the terrorists are called, by media and politicians, by their nationality (not religion) but when this happens by Muslims it is called by their religion and not nationality. The rise of national resistance in some countries against occupation is logic and legitimate, as happened some time ago in France against occupation. However, when this national resistance movement’s rise in Islamic occupied lands it is considered rise of militant Islam or terrorist movements and are not called resistance and struggle for freedom. No Muslim would really support terrorism (like most Muslims didn't support Osama bin Laden) but they would get a bad reputation because of it anyway. We can't deny that some other non-Muslims commit terrorist attacks and with the support of their governments and with media support and sympathy.
Analysts say that if media were more balanced in their coverage of acts committed against Muslims to the acts that Muslims commit, there would be a better understanding of cultural balance within us. The study claims that TV news and documentaries have the strongest influence on people's views of Islam, followed by newspaper coverage. With the media’s spotlight and some governmental attitudes, the World has become a place where Islam is a name of negativity.
Biggest difference is that Muslims have stayed as close to original text/belief of their book while other religions (for some reason) evolve with times. It’s the need of hour to have better understanding about Islam and media should put an end to making Islam as object of unwanted attention when it comes to terrorism.We should admit that no religion in the world support terrorism. All world religions call for love and peace among people of the earth. Islam is not exception from those religions."
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