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May 19, 2013

“Sometimes I feel like the only Muslim in the world”

image via Reuters

image via Reuters

In light of news coverage that often over-emphasizes the race, ethnicity or religion of criminals and terrorists in the U.S. and abroad, some Muslim Americans have found themselves to be the target of suspicion and discrimination in their own country. 

Mahin, a 7th grader from Plainfield, Illinois, writes to NewsHour Extra about his feelings on being Muslim in America and what his religion means to him.

Reuters states that, “American Muslims adherents rose to 2.6 million in 2010 from 1 million in 2000.” This statistic is surprising to me because sometimes I feel like the only Muslim in the world.

Walking into school every day is a routine. I am used to stepping through the doors and seeing four types of people; Asians, Hispanics, Caucasians and African Americans. Never do I see a Muslim. By now I am used to it, but there is a feeling of emptiness. This does not affect me greatly, but when you hear something about shootings in Pakistan by the Taliban or bombs going off, I do feel like the only Muslim in the world.

Mahin, Plainview, Ill.

Mahin, Plainview, Ill.

All around North Africa and the Middle-East, civil wars are taking place, bad societies are being formed, and innocent Muslims are dying. According to BBC News, a young girl named Malala Yousafzai was shot in the head by the Taliban on October 9, 2012 just because she was standing up for education for women and for everyone. What the Taliban does is not what Islam represents. However, many Americans associate what happens in the Middle-East as something condoned by all Muslims.

Islam is a religion that respects all others; we believe in one God and we do not associate companions with God. We believe in fairness, the fact that everyone has a choice, to be good and to be much more. Islam’s “laws” are very similar to American law. We do not believe in killing innocent children or harming them, like what the Taliban did to Malala.

It is said in the Holy Quran chapter 5 verse 32, “We ordained for the Children of Israel that if any one slew a person — unless it be for murder or for spreading mischief in the land — it would be as if he slew the whole people; and if anyone saved a life, it would be as if he saved the life of the whole people.” This means if you kill a person, unless it was because they committed a crime, it is as if you have killed a whole community. If you save a life, it is as if you saved a whole community’s life.

Islam forbids terrorism, which means that terrorists are not Muslims. They just either interpret the Holy Quran in the wrong way or have no iman. Iman is one’s belief and faith in their religion. I am not the one to say “Muslim” terrorists have no iman but why else would they attack innocent Americans on September 11, 2001?

According to CNN there are 1.57 billion Muslims in the world, but only a fraction of them are terrorists. Just because a small percentage of these 1.57 billion Muslims in the world are in the Taliban or Al-Qaida, not every Muslim is a dangerous person.

Muslims are true-to-self people, and even though I cannot say I am the best Muslim, I can say I am not a terrorist and never will be. Muslims are not cold blood killers and I stand by that whole-heartedly. Muslims are men and women who will respect you for who you. Martin Luther King Jr. once said, “Only in the darkness can you see the stars.” I am Mahin, a Muslim, not a terrorist.

Mahin Azam is a 7th grader from Plainfield, Illinois. He enjoys acting, volleyball and baseball. 

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