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Terrorism has no religion

The San Bernardino shooting and the Paris attacks have put many Americans on edge, and Donald Trump’s xenophobic comments have only escalated the existing tensions. With the recent terror attacks in the news, it is important to take a step back and consider the big picture.

It is clear that Muslims in America have been victims of religious discrimination ever since the 9/11 attacks. Countless Americans fail to realize that American Muslims are no different than other U.S. citizens. Religious extremists are an exception to a religion; the word extremists itself points out that they are unusual and uncommon cases. Religious extremists are not the norm, and it is irrational to label all of the members of a religion with negative characterization just because of a fraction of extremists. America has a major problem when it comes to religious discrimination, and this issue needs to be addressed. It is important to remember that stereotypes and individual extremists do not define an entire group of people.

Sara Lohbauer, a junior biology major at FGCU, believes that diversity and tolerance are important principles of American society.

“In today’s society, we face a large amount of stereotyping and judgment,” Lohbauer said. “But, I feel it is important to remember how this country began. The U.S. started because people wanted to be free of persecution and prejudice. Our country is a melting pot that embraces freedom from judgment. But, how can we truly say our country is this way if the individuals of our country are not free from these judgments?”

Claims such as all Muslims are terrorists, all Blacks are criminals and all Hispanics are illegal immigrants contradict the foundation of the United States, yet these racist remarks have been made by people throughout this nation. When most people hear the word terrorist, the image that pops in their head is based off a stereotype they have heard on TV or from a politician.

In reality, the majority of the American Muslim community lives in peace in this country. In fact, there are several million Muslims residing in the U.S. They are Americans; this nation is their home. Yet, so many Americans are terrorizing them and making them feel uncomfortable because of their religious beliefs. The beauty of this country is the freedom of its citizens to practice or not practice a religion without anyone infringing upon this right. Religious discrimination violates the very basis of our country, which has been built on the principles of diversity, integration, cooperation and open-mindedness. The U.S. promotes the idea that if you follow the rules and work hard, you can succeed, whether your skin is dark, you wear a headscarf or you’re a woman.

Discrimination must be conquered by tolerance and acceptance rather than alienation and bigotry. The First Amendment to the U.S. Constitution gives all Americans the freedom to exercise their religion, and alienating people because of their religious beliefs is not the solution to terrorism. Most people are unaware that most of the victims of so-called Islamic terrorism are actually Muslims. There are incredible people and unpleasant people in every religion, race, gender and culture. Islam is not the exception to this reality and neither is Christianity, Judaism, Hinduism, Buddhism or any other religion.

So, the next time you hear a frightening claim about Muslim terrorists on TV, consider the bigger picture and remember that there are millions of peaceful Muslims in the US that, just like you, are trying to graduate from college, support their family or maintain a fulltime job.

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1 Comment

  1. Lou Saboter

    There were no mass shootings before segregation ended.

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