Americans just need a
I have already lost my belief in ideas
of "tolerance and compassion" after the numerous hate crimes that have
been committed. I have gone
through 10 times more depression and fear
as the "normal" American since, being Muslim, my fear that the terrorists
might strike any minute
is not my only concern. I also carry the
fear that anyone walking around might take it in his or her head to avenge
what happened on
Tuesday by beating me up.
Please. Don't make me lose my last hope
in Americans by not even reporting the atrocity the American media has
just committed: to incite
people to anger against Arabs if no one
You know, I don't blame the people who
commit hate crimes as much as I do the media for continuously juxtaposing
pictures of the World
Trade Center twin towers falling and Palestinians
celebrating. If those pictures didn't incense people to do what they just
did, harassing and
beating Arabs -- or anyone seemingly Middle
Eastern -- then I don't know what else did.
And even if these pictures turn out to
be misrepresenting the truth (there's a rumor that the footage is from
1991 during the Persian Gulf
conflict), I must say one thing: Are we
Americans surprised that there is so much hate around the world, not for
individual American citizens,
but for American foreign policies?
These policies hurt not just the Middle
East but countries in Latin America, South America, China and Asia. Please
don't take this to mean
that I justify what happened in New York.
This is another ordeal that I am facing.
If I utter anything (particularly now) against American policies, I am
looked at as un-American. Isn't the
right to one's opinion an American right?
Just because I look and am Muslim, does it mean that my critique of America
is being un-American?
Furthermore, my parents immigrated to America
because they, like everyone else, got suckered into the belief that they
could be safe here. In
Pakistan, every time we took a step out
of the house, we instantly knew it might be our last step: Someone might
kidnap us or shoot us in
drive-by firings, which were and are very
Do you think for one second that this hard-won
sense of safety is what Muslim Americans want to jeopardize? They left
their homes, their
wealth, the only way of life they knew
and risked it all to come here.
They found safety for a while, except for
times like the Oklahoma City bombing and now, when every terrorist act
is instantly thought to be by
one of those "crazy Arabs who in the name
of jihad" like to kill.
Does any so-called "true" American even
know the meaning of jihad? It is not, as the media likes us to believe,
To even go to jihad, a Muslim has to first
satisfy 11 requirements of why he is fighting. Then the group has to go
to a Mufti (scholar) and
have them approve going to jihad. If any
one reason is wrong, the whole request is denied.
Did any American know this? Does anyone
even want to know? Or do people just like to believe exactly what they
see in the media and not
even question the reasons beneath?
I, like my parents, was suckered into the
belief that America is for all; that there are opportunities for all; that
this is a melting pot; that there is
Yes, it is a land of opportunity -- but
at what cost? The loss of my faith, my beliefs, my dignity? The loss of
my values and my religion, which
have always guided and consoled me in
hard times, such as today?
Do people really believe that Islam condones
violence? Especially when even the meaning of Islam says that when you
submit to God, you
do not hurt others? How many more times
do I have to relive the unjust accusations and hate crimes, which have
become a trend since the
Oklahoma City bombing?
When, if ever, will people learn not to
transfer one person's crimes onto the whole group? Can I even hope for
that? Or do I need to face the
hard reality taught by this event: that
people need a scapegoat, and at this time in history, Muslims have become
that -- just what the Jews
became for the Nazis?
Doesn't anyone realize that during the
Cold War, when our enemy was the Soviet Union, the USSR didn't even have
the kind of power we
made them out to have? After the Cold
War, Americans needed another evil to feel safe and powerful, and that
evil is now the Middle East.
When will this end? Who will be next? How
do I fight? Can I fight? Will anyone help me, us? If they can't relate
to me as a Muslim, can
people relate to me as a human? Allah,
please don't let my belief in humanity die.
Hasan, a senior English major,
can be reached via firstname.lastname@example.org.