It's been a rough week for all of us, but particularly for Muslims. Since Trump is a selfish coward who wants to incite islamophobia, he has instituted a "Muslim Ban" on seven countries and placed a ban on refugees arriving in the United States for the foreseeable future.
The obvious implication of all these policies is that Trump fails to understand Islam. And as someone who is not Muslim, I do not want to pretend that I understand it either, but I do think I know more than Trump: I know that religion is never the problem, the problem is that a small minority of people use religion to achieve their own selfish and destructive goals.
It may be easy for the more prejudiced and racist parts of America to believe Trump's lies, but it remains up to the rest of us to remember that Islam is a religion that should be respected, just like any other, and to stand in solidarity with the Muslims in our lives.
I've picked these ten quotes because I believe they exemplify the strengths in the Islamic religion and the faults in the views of those who condemn the religion. I hope that you keep these quotes in mind even as persecution against Muslims continues.
1. "I challenge anyone to understand Islam, its spirit, and not to love it. It is a beautiful religion of brotherhood and devotion."
- Yann Martel, Life of Pi
2. "Religion, it must be understood, is not faith. Religion is the story of faith."
- Reza Aslan, No God But God: The Origins, Evolution, and Future of Islam
3. "But what is most desperately needed is not so much a better appreciation of our neighbor's religion as a broader, more complete understanding of religion itself."
4. "America needs to understand Islam, because this is the one religion that erases from its society the race problem."
- Malcolm X
5. "These [extremist and terrorist acts] are not Islamic fundamentals any more than the Christians who burned people at the stake are fundamentalist. They are actually deviating from the teachings of the religion!”
- Matahir Mohamed
6. "None of you believes until he wishes for his brother what he wishes for himself."
- Anonymous (talking about Islamic faith)
7. "No religion is inherently violent or peaceful, people are violent or peaceful."
- Resla Aslan, Beyond Fundamentalism: Confronting Religious Extremism in the Age of Globalization
8. “Interestingly, the more Americans report knowing about Muslim countries, the more likely they are to hold positive views of those countries.”
- John Esposito, Who Speaks for Islam?: What A Billion Muslims Really Think
9. “The separation of “church and state” of which America is so proud was established in Islam fourteen centuries ago, when it was decided that no Caliph would have religious authority over the community.”
- Resla Aslan, No God But God: The Origins, Evolution, and Future of Islam
10. "But blaming Islam is a simple answer, easier and less controversial than re-examining the core political issues and grievances that resonate in much of the Muslim world: the failures of many Muslim governments and societies, some aspects of U.S. foreign policy representing intervention and dominance, Western support for authoritarian regimes, the invasion and occupation of Iraq, or support for Israel's military battles with Hamas in Gaza and Hezbollah in Lebanon.”
- John Esposito, Who Speaks for Islam?: What A Billion Muslims Really think