Muslim students work against stereotypes

Bailey Claar
Staff Reporter

Religion. Whether you’re devout or without it entirely, it affects your life. It brings many people solace and happiness, and it’s an inherently good thing. While it brings out the best in most people, it can also bring out the worst in others. This planet has been a violent whirlpool of religious disagreement and confusion ever since humans have graced its surface. Religions themselves have split into different sects and created new teachings, as different followers have adapted different ways to practice their beliefs. One might think that in 2016, the human race would be able to realize that not every follower of the same God stands for the same thing.

Muslim-Symbol

Graphic by What’s Bruin

However, the recent “Islamic” terrorist activity around the world has turned many Americans to malicious and entirely unfair anti-Muslim sentiment. Being a Muslim is not synonymous to being a terrorist. Not only are the massive majority (it’s the second most followed religion in the world) of Islamic followers the polar opposite of terrorists, but they are your very own acquaintances, neighbors and classmates.

Senior Ali Rahimi is an Islamic student at Northrop of Afghan descent. Rahimi stated that being a Muslim in a city like Fort Wayne is made easier due to the large Islamic population here. He also commented that his friends of other faiths have always been accepting of his beliefs. Yasmin Ameir, a junior of East African descent spoke of getting weird stares but seemed generally unphased by it.

The biggest obstacle followers of Islam have had to face recently is unwarranted discrimination. Ameir told me of a time her family’s car broke down and instead of passersby coming to their aid, they had a hard time finding help. Rahimi stated that a majority of the discrimination he faced was in middle school.

An interesting perspective of discrimination came from a Bosnian Muslim student who chose to remain anonymous.

“Because I’m white and have blonde hair and blue eyes, people don’t really see it.”

He added that he uses not looking like the stereotypical idea of an Islamic person almost to an advantage. His family has even warned him of sharing his religious beliefs publically as it could be dangerous to them.

Ameir had a powerful statement on being ignorantly called a terrorist,

“If you know you are not that, those words can’t hurt you,” he said. 

Naturally, all three students did not believe that current media coverage of American Muslims was accurate. Ameir made that point that media’s main goal is to attract attention and that she does not take any rude reporting to heart. On the same subject, Rahimi voiced his opinion that media represents Muslims in a way that makes it seem as though they don’t all have differences, and that seems like a plausible reason for the plentiful misconceptions of and generalization of Islamic people.

When asked how they wanted non-Muslims to view Islam, their responses were all along the lines of peaceful. Rahimi remarked that he wants Islam to be viewed like any other religion and for people to tolerable. The student that wishes to remain anonymous said that every religion has a dark part, and that could not be anymore true. Ameir stated that all people, regardless of religion, are not so different and should be treated equally.

Vast thresholds of wisdom and tolerance are visible within these students. It is extremely unfair to be prejudice towards these students or any other person that chooses to peacefully practice their beliefs, and their words of tolerance should resonate deeply with everyone. They are all promising students and good human beings, and using the same philosophy of Ameir, not at all different from any other Northrop student.

 

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One Comment on “Muslim students work against stereotypes”

  1. Nol Beckley April 14, 2016 at 8:24 am #

    good story…

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