What do you think of when you hear the word Islam? Maybe you think of "terrorist", "inequality", "oppression"? Or maybe you think of 9/11 and the sight of airplanes come to your mind. Maybe none of these things even cross your mind when you think of Islam and you think of positive things. If you fall into the category of the latter, then you're on the right track.
Islam is not only a religion but a complete way of life. It promotes peace, justice, equality, and it is the backbone of a fulfilling life. It encourages patience during difficult times and it requires that one should be good to his or her neighbor. Muslims all over the world came to learn that they had to be patient and stick to their faith after 9/11. They were accused of being terrorists when Islam condemns terrorism and strictly values human life. In the Holy Qur'an it is said: "Killing one person is the same as killing all humanity and saving one person is the same as saving all humanity."
After 9/11 Muslims all over the world were targeted as terrorists, and many faced hardships which ranged from name calling to life-threatening attacks. Many Muslims in the US already suffered a lot of pain after being forced from their homelands. They came to America to live a better life and perhaps to find liberty, freedom of speech, and security.
America is the country where in the past African Americans were victims of prejudice. They were beaten, lynched, and degraded simply for being black. America is also the country that has overcame prejudice and embraced equal rights for all. In the past memories of America women were not given the right to vote, own property, and were denied many other basic rights. Women did not have the same educational opportunities as men did. However, America is the country that now gives women the right to vote and promotes equal rights for men and women. America is the country where currently Muslims are targeted for simply being Muslim.
The media exploits Muslims as a whole as being terrorists. Not enough attention is being focused on educating Americans on Islam and reiterating the common sense that one should not judge Islam simply on what one so called "Muslim" does. Islam can only be judged by the Qur'an, the Sunnah (teachings) of the Prophet Muhammad, and by the righteous Muslims.
When will America be the country that doesn't repeat mistakes of the past; that doesn't exploit certain people negatively; that lives up to her promises? We need to start questioning authority, effectively analyzing the credibility of what we hear and see in the media, and we need to be truthful to ourselves. We need to start to open our hearts to those around us because we are all human beings who deserve every basic right no matter where we may come from or what religion we may be.