In light of recent events, there has been an outcrop of discussion regarding terrorism. On June 12, Omar Mateen entered a night club in Orlando, Florida and killed 49 people, injuring many more. Since then, there has been an abundance of speculation surrounding the motives of this horrific shooting.
Since then, there has been a dichotomy between the possible reasons:
On one hand, there is debate over Mateen’s own sexuality, and whether or not a repressed sexuality would be a factor in his obvious hatred. He was married, twice. He had a child. He apparently frequented the night club he entered on that deadly night. More and more, the suggestion has been that Mateen was angry with his own sexuality, and his instability led to heinous actions.
Unfortunately, this argument has been ignored due to one very important thing: Omar Mateen had Afghan descent and identified as Muslim.
We do not discuss mental illness, instability, or repressed sexuality when the criminal is a minority. In this case, Mateen becomes representative of the culture he identified with, the religion he claimed, and the land his family immigrated from. Suddenly, Mateen’s crimes are representative of Islam.
In the United States, crimes that are committed by someone with Middle Eastern descent, or by someone who identifies as Muslim, are immediately labeled terrorism. More specifically, Islamic Terrorism.
How rarely has there been a cry of Christian Terrorism? And even if there has been, how long does it take before that is squashed?
That is not representative of Christ.
Do not bastardize our religion.
How dare you claim those crimes as inspired by our Jesus.
Here’s the thing, Christian America would be up in arms if there was a statement of Christian Terrorism. There is a wider understanding of the Christian Bible, and therefore a larger population to state ignorance if anyone dared. Yet, we rarely hear the public push back in regards to Islam and terrorism. In our culture, in fact, terrorism and Islam are often used interchangeably, as if all terrorism is inspired by Islam.
The fact remains, that while in recent years the amount of media coverage on terrorism has heightened, and undeniably the terrorism has been done in the name of Islam. Yet, we allow it by calling it Islamic Terrorism.
What’s in a name, you ask? When we call it Islamic Terrorism, we seem to validate its existence as relevant to Islam. But the truth is, it's not.
Terrorism does not need to claim Islam in order to be terrorism. There have been terrorists of different cultures and religions throughout history, and yet for some reason, we have decided that terrorism only occurs in areas where Islam is predominant.
Islamic Terrorism does not exist. Terrorism exists. Islam exists. But terrorists who claim Islam as their motivator bastardize Islam to be unrecognizable, where there is not correlation.