Terrorism and Islam are not the same

NdeyKumbaDembaIn recent times, the name Islam is synonymous to violence and terrorism in many parts of the world most especially the U.S.

With Al Qaeda, ISIS, Al Shabaab, Hezbollah, Hamas, Boko haram, and a lot more of Islamic terrorist groups causing pain, disruption and havoc in many parts of the world under the umbrella of Islam.

Here is where I have a problem with the tag “Islam Terrorist.” Islam, according to alislam.com, is derived from an Arabic word “salema” which means peace, purity, submission and obedience. Wouldn’t it be ironic for a religion whose very name stands for peace to encourage its followers to commit unthinkable atrocities for no apparent reason? Islamic terrorists, as are they are dubbed, are individuals who commit actions rejected by Islam itself and its true followers.

Islam does not teach people to pick up arms and kill senselessly nor does it tolerate bombings of any kind.

Certain people have decided to cause unthinkable inhumanities in the name of Islam. To me it is more of a power issue than it is religious. They have in the process turned Muslims into stereotypes to a point that being a Muslim invites instant judgment.

Growing up as a Muslim, I was taught faith and fate, love, trust, patience, and understanding among other things. My immediate neighbors were Christians and we live peacefully together. In fact, in The Gambia the majority of the population is Muslim, and the rest Christian, and I cannot think of any place were Muslims and Christians live more peacefully.

At any official event prayers are done in both the Islamic and Christian way. There are schools that are “Christian” and ones that are “Islamic.”

I went to a Christian school all the way from elementary through junior high.

We were required to recite Catholic prayers every morning and recite a prayer before eating; regardless of what religion you practice.

Students in Islamic schools too were required to wear the hijab (head covering with a veil) regardless of religious affiliation.

This has not created any problems, because regardless of what you wear or recite, what is inside you is what matters.

What I’m trying to say is that Islam is a peaceful religion and its true followers are too.

Don’t let the action of a few that do not represent anything Islam cloud your judgment about Islam and Muslims.

Next time you hear about senseless killings by radicals anywhere, be mad.

I know I get very mad, especially if they happen to be “Islamic extremist,” but don’t take it out on the next Muslim you see or meet.

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