October 2nd, 2017. 11:55 a.m. Douglass Student Center, Rutgers University. The CNN News ticker read, “The Las Vegas attack is the deadliest mass shooting in modern U.S. history” — please don’t be Muslim. It continued, “At least 59 were killed and more than 500 injured” — please don’t be Muslim.
He is not Muslim.
He is not a terrorist.
He is just another gunman, unidentified by his race or religious affiliation.
October 31st, 2017. 3:31 p.m. Academic Building, Rutgers University. My phone lights up, “New York Post: 8 killed as truck plows into pedestrians in downtown NYC terror attack.” Please don’t be Muslim. Wait a minute; they said ‘terror attack.’ I opened the article, “A terrorist in a rental truck... shouting, ‘Allahu Akbar.’”
He is Muslim.
He is a terrorist.
For a split second, I had hoped he was not Muslim. For a split second, I believed for some odd reason that the society I live in flipped a switch and stopped associating terrorism with Islam. Today is not that day.
When news of a shooting, massacre, stabbing, etc. appears on the news, Muslims including myself feel a tension within. We are angered by the media’s quick adoption of the terrorist Muslim ideology. We are annoyed by people’s ignorance of Islam. You see, the phrase ‘Allahu Akbar’ simply means God is greater. However, within its simplicity is a powerful declaration that Muslims use frequently during daily prayers, when babies are born, to show gratitude — to remind us that God, indeed is greater. To use that term, one has to believe that God is greater.
To use that term in an act of terror, one cannot be Muslim.
Rutgers University is a fairly diverse community; it is populated with thousands of Muslims. Sometimes, we do not feel like a minority. Sometimes, we do not feel like outsiders. But often times, we do. Do me a favor and remember that any unlawful use of violence against civilians in the pursuit of political aims is terrorism. Remember us when you ask “Who is responsible?” that terrorism is not associated with any religion, whether or not the news believes so.
Remember us as we hope, “Please don’t be Muslim.”