The Muslim Blanket

The Muslim Blanket

Islam isn't violent -- people are.
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"Guns don't kill people; people kill people." Many of us have heard or used this expression to argue that people are indeed the violent aspect of gun use, not the actual gun.

What people don't realize is that the same argument can be used when it comes to generalizing Islam, Muslims, Arabs, and ISIS. Just because ISIS identifies with the religion of Islam doesn't mean that all Muslims or their religion are inherently violent.

So many Americans express their opinions all too frequently on the current hot topic of our nation's relationship with Islam. At the same time, they don't even bother looking into what Islam actually is and what the religion represents.

Here is a breakdown of the key terms used on the news.

Islam:

A monotheistic (one god) religion based on the teachings of the religious text called the Qur'an. This is believed to be the word of God (called Allah) and based on teachings of the prophet Muhammed. There are five pillars to Islam; testimony, prayer, fasting, almsgiving (food provided to the poor by those who can afford it), and pilgrimage.

Words you may have heard associated with Islam are Shia, the largest denomination, and Sunni, the second largest. These are simply denominations and have fundamental differences and history of bad blood, but are both a part of Islam.

Muslim:

An adherent, or follower, of Islam. This is the Christian of Christianity -- it's as simple as that. Referring to countries like Egypt, Bangladesh, and Pakistan as "muslim countries" is politically incorrect-- the country isn't Muslim; the people are Muslims. The country isn't even Islam -- it's a country where the majority of the people practice Islam. Calling those countries Muslim is like calling America a Christian country.

ISIS:

This stands for Islamic State of Iraq and Syria. Yes, it's a terrorist group. Yes, it has the word Islam in it. This is perhaps the best example of the generalization made by Americans -- practicing the religion of Islam doesn't make you a supporter or an adherent of ISIS. ISIS claimed itself as a caliphate, which means having control over Muslims across the world, as in political, religious, and military control. Many governments have rejected this however; ISIS as a caliph isn't legitimate, because the majority of their support stems from fear and fear alone.

By no means are Islam and ISIS completely unrelated, but it's unfair to associate someone with ISIS because they're Muslim. That's like associating someone with Westboro Baptist Church or the KKK because they're Christian and both of those groups say they're Christian. These are generalizations -- ugly ones.

There are such things as extremist Islamic groups, just as there are such things as extremist Christian groups. They take different forms, of course, but blanketing all Muslims under the terrorist category is inaccurate and ignorant.

Many think Islam is a violent religion because of the associations made by terrorist groups and the idea of women in Islam being oppressed and treated violently.

Islam is automatically generalized as a religion that practices female genital mutilation and other oppressive rules to women like Sharia Law, which extends to a wide range of punishments for things like theft and a variety of rules concerning women and their rights. For example, women get just about half of everything a man does under Sharia Law, such as inheriting half of what a man would inherit. It also says that a woman cannot testify against her rapist if she is raped. This doesn't extend to all Muslims, but in extremist Muslim groups, like in Saudi Arabia, it is practiced without mercy.

There are so many countries that interpret Sharia Law differently however. It's unfair to say that every Muslim endorses the idea of Sharia Law-- though it's practiced as a legal system in some extreme Islamic groups. The support of Sharia Law, including genital mutilation, doesn't even necessarily mean Islam is a violent religion, at that point, genital mutilation becomes a legal problem within that country, many Muslims don't even practice that.

Sharia Law is archaic and should be condemned, but generalizing every Muslim as a supporter of Sharia is yet another inaccurate mistake many make about the religion of Islam. Nobody should support such a legal system but the fact of the matter is that some people of Islam do, still giving us no reason to castigate an entire religion because a portion of it's followers interpret Sharia strictly and literally.

Terrorism and antiquated ideas like Sharia Law shouldn't by any means be seen as acceptable, but there is no reason we should be associating all Muslims with either of these ideas.

These generalizations lead us to the Syrian refugee crisis and how 31 states have rejected opening up to relocated refugees. The November 13 Paris attacks were claimed by ISIS , and one attacker was carrying a Syrian passport, scaring Americans into shutting their doors for resettlement of refugees.

According to ABC News, "More than 7 million Syrians have been displaced by war, and by the end of September the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees had referred 18,000 cases to the United States for resettlement." It will likely be difficult to find somewhere for these refugees to go without half of our states' support.

Islamaphobia and the misconstrued picture of Islam that millions of Americans have has gotten out of control. So many refuse to look past what major news media outlets say and research it for themselves.

In a recent interview in the below video with Professor Reza Aslan, what was expected to be an agreement with the program's predecessor Bill Maher, on CNN is a perfect example of the media simply seeking a soundbite that agrees with their political agenda. Aslan does a fantastic job of not letting an anchor push him around, and pointing out their ignorant and uneducated questions.

Maher said: "vast numbers of Muslims around the world believe that humans deserve to die for merely holding a different idea, or drawing a cartoon, or writing a book, or eloping with the wrong person."

Watch Aslan's applause-worthy response to the anchors here:


Of course, there are traditional portions of Islam we may not all agree with and see as culturally justifiable, but that doesn't mean the entire nation of Islam promotes violent behavior. Aslan said it best:

"This is the problem. These conversations that we’re having aren’t really being had in any kind of legitimate way. We’re not talking about women in the Muslim world, we’re using two or three examples to justify a generalization. That’s actually the definition of bigotry."

He continues: "Islam doesn't promote violence or peace. Islam is just a religion and like every religion in the world it depends on what you bring to it. If you're a violent person, your Islam, your Judaism, your Christianity, your Hinduism is gonna be violent. There are marauding Buddhist monks in Myanmar slaughtering women and children. Does Buddhism promote violence? Of course not. People are violent or peaceful and that depends on their politics, their social world, the ways that they see their communities."

Here's one of the same anchors featured in a perfectly captured tweet:

Cover Image Credit: http://www.ihhakademi.com/islamophobia-media-and-the-echo-chamber-effect/

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Why Your Grandma Is Your Biggest Blessing In Life

Because nobody loves you more than she does.
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There are many people in your life you are thankful for: Mom, Dad, siblings, cousins, best friends, teachers, neighbors, you name it. You are grateful to have people who constantly support you, who pick you up when you're down and love you unconditionally. But the one person who stands out among the rest of them is your grandma.

SEE ALSO: 10 Reasons Why Your Grandma Is The Best Person In Your Life

Ever since you were little, you and your grandma have always had a special connection. Going over to Grandma's house for the night was something you looked forward to. She knew how to entertain you at your best and worst moments. No matter what you did together, you loved it. Being with your grandma wasn't like being at home or with your parents – it was better. You went to the park, made cookies, went out to dinner, got a “sweet treat" at the mall, played Go Fish, took a bubble bath for as long as you wanted and got way too much dessert than you should have. You did things you weren't supposed to do, but Grandma didn't stop you. Because at Grandma's house there were no rules, and you didn't have to worry about a single thing. Being with Grandma was the true epitome of childhood. She let you be you. She always made sure you had the best time when you were with her, and she loved watching you grow up with a smile on your face.

The older you got, your weekend excursions with your grandma weren't as frequent, and you didn't get to see her as much. You became more and more busy with school, homework, clubs, sports, and friends. You made the most out of your time to see her, and you wished you could be with her more. Although you were in the prime of your life, she mattered even more to you the older you both became. You were with your friends 24/7, but you missed being with your grandma. When the time rolled around, and you got the chance to spend time with her, she told you never to apologize. She wanted you to go out, have fun and enjoy life the way it makes you happy.

Reflecting back on these moments with your grandma, you realize how truly special she is to you. There is no one who could ever compare to her nor will there ever be. All your life, there is no one who will be as sweet, as caring, as sincere or as genuine as her. Even though you're all grown up now, there are things about your grandma that never changed from when you were a kid. She still takes you out for your favorite meal because she knows how important eating out means to you. She writes you letters and sends you a $5 bill every now and then because she knows you're a hard-working college student with no money. She still helps you with all of your Christmas shopping because she knows it's your tradition. She still asks what's new with your young life because hearing about it makes her day and she still loves you to no end. Your grandma is your biggest blessing (whether you knew it or not), and she always will be no matter what.

Cover Image Credit: Erin Kron

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In 2019, Let's Stop Mom Shaming

It's baffling that things so personal such as how or what we feed our kids or if they are completely potty trained by two are people's business other than our own.

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Mom-shaming, an unnecessary sort of criticism that has been around for longer than it should, and it seems like nowadays everyone believes they are a better parent to your child than you. Most moms have experienced the unwelcomed advice about their child from someone at some point in their life, and it takes everything not to lose your cool.

It has seemed to become an even more popular trend that everyone knows how to raise your kid except for you. Maybe because of the popularity of social media and the sharing of our children's pictures and milestones or maybe just because people are extra courageous now, but it's getting worse. Even people who don't even have children seem to think they are certified to enter their two cents as well.

Mom-shaming is in all sorts of forms, whether it's up front from a random stranger or backhanded compliments from loved ones, everyone seems to be concerned on how you're taking care of your child. I've had it from family members to random people who I don't really know. Whether it's on how to feed my child or the outfit they have on for the day.

But it is time to end the horrible and destroying social trend known as mom shaming. It's baffling that things so personal such as how or what we feed our kids or if they are completely potty trained by two are people's business other than our own. It's now 2019, and the new thing we should all follow is minding our own business.

As we attempt to end the oh so fun mom shaming, remember to stand up for yourself. At the end of the day, you're the parent to your child, and you know what your child needs, no one else. Most people calling out mistakes, probably have or are making mistakes of their own. Mom-shaming is a way for others to feel better for themselves, so don't fall for the smokescreen and keep on being a rocking mom.

Unless my child is in immediate danger or I ask, keep your advice and opinions to yourself. If my child is happy and healthy, I'm doing something right. And if I need your advice I'll ask, if not, please stay in your lane.

So instead of tearing moms apart, let's build each other up.

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