Prejudice and racism have reared their ugly heads at home in reaction to Daesh attacks
Getting to know one person well takes a long time, so how can anyone claim to know what more than a billion people think and believe?
“This is the problem, you’re talking about a religion of 1.5 billion people. Certainly it becomes very easy to paint them all with a single brush,” said Reza Aslan, a professor at the University of California, Riverside in an interview on CNN.
“We’re using two or three examples to justify a generalization, that’s actually an example of bigotry,” he said on CNN. The interview aired and went viral last year and recently resurfaced online in light of a rise in discrimination to Muslims following attacks by Daesh*, previously known as “ISIS.”
Recently, we have seen Daesh attack Beirut, Baghdad and Paris. The reaction on social media showed many people around the world expressing their support and concern for the victims of these attacks. However, some extreme individuals have come to the conclusion that all Muslims can be generalized. But, it is not the religion—it is the values and opinions the individual personally brings to the religion that can make them dangerous.
We have seen backlash across our own nation as some Canadians have taken extreme views against Islam. The CBC reported that in Peterborough, Ontario, a mosque was set on fire days after the attacks in Paris. Following that, they reported an incident taking place in Toronto where a Muslim woman was robbed and assaulted. The attackers allegedly called her “a terrorist” and told her she should “go back to your country,” according to the CBC report.
In Montreal, the CBC reported a 24-year-old man was arrested after he posted a video online, disguised by a joker mask and uttering death threats towards Muslims.
How are we trying to defeat terrorism when we are rejecting people from our own community? These militants preach hate and by excluding and terrorizing those of Islamic faith, we ourselves are only spreading their culture of animosity and pain. We are not solving the problem by scapegoating all Muslims. It’s astonishing to see punishment of those who have no involvement in the situation.
In fact, through these actions we are giving more power to Daesh. These mishaps may not cause violence on the scale of city bombings, however, this attitude contributes to the extremists’ power by creating more exclusion and hate within our world.
If we want to tear down the powers of Daesh we all must declare war on racism and the unfair generalizations that claim all Muslims are terrorists. Having grown up in Canada, a country known for its open-mindedness and acceptance of different ethnicities and religions, the recent hate crimes have been shocking.
According to the Pew Research Centre, in 2010 an estimated 1,599,700,000 people practiced Islam. It’s illogical to believe that the nearly 2.6 million American citizens who are also Muslim are terrorists. Not all Christians are assumed to be skinheads or members of the KKK. So why are all Muslims being painted as terrorists?
“People are violent or peaceful,” said Aslan, justifying that it is the individual and their attribution to the religion. We are only contributing to the downfall of our society if we let these ignorant beliefs continue to exist.
Let us not give power to those who are causing pain and suffering in the world. We should not let our differences separate mankind. As Daesh separates itself from the world through terrorism, let us retaliate by unifying mankind regardless of race or religion.
In contrast to these negative reactions, there has also been great unity amongst those around the world and at home. There is a great amount of online support for Syrian refugees and backlash against those with racist remarks. Prime Minister Justin Trudeau vows to keep Canada safe and is still welcoming 25,000 refugees into the country. On Nov. 20 an event was held in front of Roddick Gates of McGill supporting Muslims. An individual stood blindfolded bearing the sign, “I’m a Muslim, a Syrian and Canadian. But I’m told that I’m a terrorist. I trust you, if you trust me.” This was followed by a list that said, “hug me, sing with me, dance with me, take a selfie with me, or play basketball with me.” We must focus on the positive reactions around the world, shutting down the hateful negative reactions.
We should show support for countries that have suffered under Daesh. We should remember those who have lost their lives and family in all countries under these attacks. And for those who have had their homes taken and destroyed by these extremists, we should continue to support and welcome those who have had their countries victimized and taken by terrorists.