Following the suicide bombing at an Ariana Grande concert May 22 in Manchester, England, the world came together to show support for the victims of the attack—including Muslims.
Authorities have confirmed Salman Abedi, a 22-year-old man of Libyan descent, was responsible for the attack. Although the motive has yet to be confirmed, some individuals speculate Abedi belonged to an extremist group with ties to the Islamic State of Iraq and Syria.
Regardless of Abedi’s motives, there is no excuse for what happened after the Ariana Grande concert at the Manchester Arena. My heart breaks for everyone affected, as well as for the misdirected hate being spewed toward one religion.
Since the 9/11 attacks, Muslims have been branded with the term “terrorists” and “extremists.” The steady rise of the Islamic State and its vow for an “all-out war” on “infidels” have resulted in a vast majority of Americans to question ties between Islam and ISIS. Although the Islamic State has the word “Islam” in its name, it’s important to understand ISIS is not and will never be true Islam.
I am lucky enough to have been exposed to two different cultures growing up—one being Islam. My father is from Pakistan, so my family has shared Muslim beliefs with me.
In my lifetime of continually asking questions, listening and reading various verses of the Quran, I can confidently say Islam is a religion that advocates peace. In fact, Islam equates the killing of one innocent person to the killing of all mankind.
Similar to the Bible, there are certain verses in the Quran susceptible to misinterpretation. However, the actions of a few extremists do not represent the majority.
Marwa Balkar, a 22-year-old Muslim-American, took to the Internet to explain the difference between Islam and ISIS.
“As a moderate Muslim, there’s absolutely nothing ISIS does that I could look and think, well, they’re just following the religion,” Balkar said. “ISIS has slaughtered thousands upon thousands of Muslims upon their origination. They are nothing but an insane, extreme, uneducated body of evil people.”
In addition to Balkar defending her religion, The Huffington Post also set out to address the questions about the relationship between ISIS and Islam.
“Some Muslims have called for avoiding the term ‘Islamic State’ to describe ISIS since doing so gives it the legitimacy of Islam,” the Huffington Post wrote. “To these Muslims, ISIS is an aberration—claiming to be Islamic but perverting the religion’s core principles.”
Unfortunately, we are living in a time where Islamophobia is becoming a trend because of misinformation about the faith.
I highly encourage individuals to do research, ask questions and allow for civil discourse. In the wake of recent attacks, people of all religious beliefs need to come together to heal and break down negative misconceptions.
– Rachael Shah is an electronic media major