It seems as though, every month if not every other week, there is a terror plot that gets disrupted somewhere in the U.S. These plots are in most cases carried out by some so called Muslim jihadist. Every time I hear news of something bad happening somewhere in the U.S, my heart skips a beat and I start to pray that it is not a Muslim person at the helm of it.
Mohamed Osman Mohamud appeared in court afternoon and pleaded not guilty to charges he plotted to blow up a car bomb at a Christmas tree lighting ceremony at Pioneer Courthouse Square in Portland Oregon.
As a Somali Muslim American who loves and absolutely adores this wonderful nation, I am completely disturbed, dismayed and saddened by this. We used to be able to argue that the young men that went back to Somalia couple years ago, were brainwashed to go and fight some external forces in their homeland, but how in the world would we justify this one? I keep asking myself, why? What do these people want? Now, I know many Somali and other Muslim Americans that are completely broken by these actions that are being carried out by those so called Muslim radicals not only here but everywhere in the world. However, I feel as though we Muslim Americans and other Muslims around the world are not speaking out loud enough or clear enough against terror. It looks like we are being held hostage by the very few radical terrorists, no matter where we live demographically.
If we Muslims know and understand that terror only kills innocent people, and destroys more Muslims around the world than any other. If we know that these killing machines are giving our faith and Islam a bad name. If some Muslims can even say people like Ayan Hersi, the Swedish Cartoonist and the Indian British novelist, Salman Rushdie should be killed because they’ve said or written unspeakable things against our prophet, Mohamed (SCW). If we can come out in large groups to condemn or issue threats against the Quran burning in Florida, why can’t we more collectively speak up, come out and take to the streets around the world to denounce terror? Why don’t we declare jihad on these cultic gang like animals who we know are not Muslims because their actions are anything but Islam?
Why are we silent? I’ve heard some sporadic Somalis on the news in the past few weeks and days, afraid of retaliation or some kind of back lash. Every time something like this happens, Muslim Americans come out looking like victims. I wonder why that is. Muslim Americans are not second class citizens of this country. This is our country. We should not feel marginalized for being Muslims. We have no excuse to act and feel like victims in this country, because we are not. We live in a civilized society that has law and order as well as ethical and moral code that unites them.
My father worked in Abu Dhabi, the UAE, like many Somalis during the 70,s and 80’s. He was considered luckier than the thousands of Somali men that were working in Saudi Arabia at the time. I say luckier because, when he used to come home for visits, he would tell us stories about Abu Dhabi and his experience there and they were not very pleasant stories to hear. Anyone who was not an Arab and an Emirate was considered a second class citizen and they knew it. No buts or ifs about it and no complaints. Somalis were treated a little better compared to other Muslims from other countries as I was told because they normally wouldn’t accept certain treatments.
Saudi Arabia however, was very different. I remember a friend of mine telling me a story about his experience in Riyadh, Saudi Arabia. He was driving and the car in front of him hit his brakes suddenly because the driver was talking to a driver in another vehicle. My friend’s car then hit that car in front of him. The driver came out of the vehicle, walked over to my friend who was still in the car and he started hitting him. He was a Saudi national of course.
He told me that all the other Saudi’s that were passing by come out of their vehicles as well and they all took part of the beating. Traffic came to a standstill and even more people joined in the assault. He was then taken to jail and was deported to Somalia injured. I remember tears running down my cheeks thinking how it could be possible for one human being to treat another this way. That’s what being a victim is like and as Somalis our people see it every day first hand every day in many places of the world.
This kind of behavior was very normal in Saudi Arabia and still is. An uncle of mine also told me that in Saudi Arabia, when you come to a bank or to any other service place, if a Saudi person walks in and sees all foreigners in line, he/she would just go in the front of the line. Just like that. I have heard hundreds of stories like this and worst.
Saudi Arabia still deports Somalis back to Mogadishu, Somalia even though they fled a horrible civil war there. It dumps poor, hungry Somali refugees back to Mogadishu very often. This is not the only Muslim country that Somalis and other Muslim foreigners are treated with horror and with no human dignity at all.
I was lucky enough to have come to this country as a teenager. Even though I was fortunate enough to have missed the mayhem in Somalia, I have not missed the pain. My family lost many loved ones to the war, hunger or the aftereffects of war. Some of our relatives are still missing. The people who have treated each other this way and who are still killing one another after 20 long years have nothing that divides them. They are all Somalis, have one religion and they speak the same language.
The moral of this story is that we Muslim Immigrants shouldn’t feel victimized when some ignorant person says something negative about Islam because they don’t understand. We should feel the need that maybe we as Muslims fail to educate people of other faiths about Islam. Maybe we have failed to live as an example. Maybe we aren’t as inclusive or as welcoming as we should be. Maybe we ask and expect more rights than what we are willing to extend for others. It’s like we Muslims thought to ourselves, well Americans don’t understand or maybe don’t want to understand and we don’t care what they think about our faith! Well, that is not good enough. It’s our duty as Muslims to inform and educate others about our religion vigorously. All that’s seen in the world are some crazy people blowing themselves up and trying to destroy all human beings using the name of Islam. We should do more to respect and honor people of other faiths. Every time the extremist commits a crime against humanity we the moderate Muslims should do something wonderful in the world.
Life is a give and take, a two way street. We shouldn’t let these few isolated sick and hateful terrorists win and make us feel alone in the world because we are not. If we believe in peace as we preach and we know it is the way of our faith, then we must speak up and claim our religion back from the blood thirsty evil terrorists. The Quran says that taking the live of one human being is like destroying all human kind and saving the life of one human being is like saving the lives of all human kind. Then let’s not watch this nonsense anymore.
We Somalis and Muslims in general have a moral responsibility an obligation to defend Islam, not only from none Muslims but from Muslim radicals that are destroying its goodness as well. Its truer today than ever that we’re closer to one another than we’ve ever been. Literally speaking! We are in a global village; we need to coexist peacefully and respectfully.
Islam is not a religion of some lunatic cults that thrive in blowing people up, but the faith of 20.3% of the world population. It’s also the fastest growing religion in the world, which means we are in this together. The world is more integrated today than ever and we are no longer strangers passing by, but intertwine lives of every day. When Muslims say Islam is the faith of peace, it should be believed. The pain of innocent Muslims that are being slaughtered from every front of the world shouldn’t be ignored either.
Anyone who wishes peace for themselves, families, village, country, continent, should want and even demand it for every single human being on earth. Because none of us will have peace unless we all have it. This village called the world belongs to all of us and we’re all responsible for its protection.
Like everyone else, we Muslims are shocked and sadden by the horrible tragedies that are being committed by some psychotic, malicious and hateful murderers that are calling themselves Muslims. May God bless us and protect us all. Aameen!
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