How much longer do I as a Muslim American female, have to deal with the “gang-buster,” terrorizing, “Satan” worshipers high-jacking my faith for the sake of trying to supposedly ‘preserve’ it? Who are these wackos and why do they seem to represent my faith in mainstream media? Where did they all come from? Which terrorist schools have they all graduated from and what truly is their agenda?
I don’t know how else to say it- I’m so disgusted and fed up by the heinous acts of the terrorist mentality coming from what appear to be Muslim males– who really knows? ISIS, for example, with their masked individuals carrying out barbaric crimes could actually be another race or religion for all I know. Regardless, as a female, I want nothing to do with them. As an American, I want to go to war with them. As a Westerner, I want to hide in my Orange County bubble and only watch Bravo TV- just to get dumb and numb to the problems- and turn a deaf ear and blind eye to world events on the news.
However, as a Muslim my heart aches. My body trembles and my mind is terribly puzzled. How can all these awful events happening around the world come from people who claim to be Muslim, as I am? Didn’t they grow up reading the Prophet’s Last Sermon, as I did? Did they miss something? Did I miss something? Why are murder, beheading, and stoning things to be prideful about on social media? Why are they playing God and taking the lives of others in the name of a higher power? Why are they casting judgment on cultures and people when really they should start healthy dialogues in order to resolve differences of ideologies from one socio-cultural context to the next? Unfortunately, lunatic terrorists with apparently nothing positive going on their lives feel that their suicidal guerrilla warfare style of killing to avenge their faith is the ticket to authentic belief and entrance into heaven!
Who do these people think they are? What Qur’an are they reading? Which Hadith are they referring to? What playbook is this all in? This all must STOP. Stop in the name of God, the most beneficent, the most merciful! The God, the Creator of humanity, the God that has revealed to people over and over again that to kill one is like killing all, and that to save one is like saving all. Terrorists need to stop this drastic behavior because other Muslims who are appalled and disgusted feel obligated, arguably, to keep apologizing for this gruesome and un-Islamic behavior. These awful people need to create a new religion already, because nothing of what they do comes from Islam and if it does we have a problem, and that problem lies in interpretation of the text.
If by chance some terrorist jerk, happened to read this and decided to show me verses of our Qur’an or Hadith that validated barbaric actions then my next question is why haven’t the Muslim scholars and leaders made more of an effort to fix our “white elephant” problem: our interpretations of the text? Recently, the President of Egypt made a statement that the Qur’an needs a contemporary reading of it in order to face and resolve the state of emergency we are in as a global Muslim community. I’m into it! I never thought, I would say, heck yes, Mr. Egyptian President, but I am saying it: Heck yes, we do! And it needs to be established, so the one billion plus Muslims around the world are all on the same page when it comes to religion.
Right now, we have Yemeni interpretations, Iraqi, Saudi, garden variety of African and Asian interpretations, Pakistani, Indian, Iranian, Syrian, and the list goes on! Of course, this can breed the problems we are facing today—that desperate, attention seekers of the world like the Taliban, Al- Qaeda, Boko Haraam, ISIS will do awful things in the name of their faith because of some bizarre interpretation through their cultural lens. It is time for a global change. We are in the 21st century. The scholars of the West have stepped it up and now those from other regions need to do their part and be responsible in their interpretations, knowing we are living in a global community. There are higher standards of conduct, morals and ethics we are each expected to live by.
We don’t need to compare the bad with the bad. Some countries and their leaders are conducting themselves poorly via bad public policies, the killing of innocent humans, the creation of wars and the devaluing of human lives. This does not mean the Muslims of the world use the text to validate their political agendas to do the same kind of harm. This is not the religion, just the terrorists’ own twisted and sick method of striking back against the super powers over political agendas.
If I may, I just want to say to the terrorist: STOP. Stop using my God and my religion to advance your political agenda and evil ways. You and I are NOT the same. You don’t represent me, speak for me, or my faith. You are a shameless loser!
I send out this plea to the educated, broad minded, warm-hearted, peace loving Muslims (and people of all faiths) of the world to please think of solutions, because the soul-less are taking over and getting media coverage because they aren’t afraid to do the things they shouldn’t do. If in fact they feel they have textual back up that permits their behavior then we need to band together and fix it and not be afraid to modify, reinterpret, perhaps abrogate and make some serious changes before Islam is cast into hell in a hand basket by the world because the world won’t tolerate it (and us) anymore.
The world won’t tolerate the good or the bad: all of it will be shunned, because from the world’s perspective it would be too risky to be involved with the people of this faith so better off to be rid of them all together. Of course this is the worse case scenario. I have more confidence in the people of the world to know better. to know that the terrorists do not truly represent the Muslim majority. But how much more should we expect people to continue to be victimized by the acts of terror in the name of Islam? It needs to end now.
So how to reclaim Islam out of their hands and back into the hands of the responsible, educated, worldly Muslims who can restore Islam to its truest form of peace, love and respect for humankind? I don’t have any real solutions just a lot of anger toward these pitiful souls. All I can think to do is to write. To use the pen, to attack with knowledge, literature, words, poetry, history. How else can we penetrate to the inner core?
The terrorists don’t value human lives. They don’t care if they die for their sick cause. So the only way to tackle this beast is with intellect. It’s time. We shouldn’t be afraid to open up the holy books, delve even deeper and have Islam mean something that applies for today. Until then we will all continue to be terrorized by a small minority that has somehow lost all sense of humanity and will kill for negative limelight because of their misguided notions about a religion called Islam.
Valentina Khan received her Masters of Arts in Muslim Leadership Context at the Claremont School of Theology. She is also a law graduate and candidate for the California Bar Exam. Valentina is a co-founder of I Am Jerusalem, an interfaith organization which promotes friendship, understanding, and striving for the “greater purpose” by dedicating time to community service and social justice. She spends her time at UpLift:body, life, community where she is the owner and teacher of all things positive for the mind, body, and soul.