Yes, the attacks at the Boston Marathon were allegedly caused by two men who identified themselves as Muslims. I know. And yes, I spent all of the week that they were looking for them praying - sincerely - to God that they would not be Muslims.
And yes, I am extremely heartbroken that people who share my religion would be evil enough to kill others.
But, after I was devastated, I realized that they're not just Muslim. They're Chechnayan, they're American citizens, they're men, they're a lot of other adjectives! Unfortunately, the only adjective that people care about today is "Muslim."
(I don't hate all boxers because the one brother was a boxer, do I? So don't hate all Muslims because they were Muslim!)
Probably about a year ago now, there was a plot to bomb a bridge in my hometown. A bridge my grandparents take to go to the doctor, one that I took to go visit my friends in high school. I remember that my aunt mentioned to me that "they must be those Muslims!" before the names were released.
And then the names of the plotters were released. And they were some white kids. And they were no longer "terrorists" they were just "two crazy kids!"
Even then, I remember being thankful that my family was safe, but almost more thankful that the plotters weren't Muslim, so I didn't have to hear about it for the rest of my life from my aunt. What I never thought to myself was "oh my God, they're white and I'm white!!" And, I never said to my aunt, who is also white, "look it was them whities!"
Regarding Boston, I have a confession to make:
I am pretty damn ashamed of myself, to be honest with you.
I'm ashamed that now whenever I hear a story of a "terrorist activity" on the news, I spend all my energy praying that the attackers aren't Muslim. I'm busy praying "dear God, please tell me they're not Muslim." And what I'm not saying is "dear God, grant all the victims Jannah... forgive them of their sins, protect their families, grant them Heaven for dying innocently" even though, in my heart, that's what I WANT to say.
I wish we lived in a world where I could do that! And, I wish I was strong enough to not worry about myself so much.
I worry about going to the grocery store and having someone say "oh look at what YOUR PEOPLE did."
I want to show everyone all of the love that Muslims spread every day.
How many buildings they've built, not the handful that they've destroyed.
How many Christians, Jews, and people of all religions that Muslims have saved, not how many they have killed.
But, I am only one person.
This week I read a quote that said "My religion doesn't oppress me, it's your ignorance" and I feel like that quote is applicable of this subject.
My religion is beautiful. Perfect. Muslim people are NOT perfect.
Far from it.
But, the anger people have leads to this intolerance and ignorance.
One thing I want Muslim people to understand however is that we cannot say "These men are not Muslims! Muslim people don't do evil things like this!"
Are you God? No.
The reality is, MUSLIM PEOPLE DO EVIL THINGS. You are a sinner. I'm a sinner. Killing people is a MAJOR sin, but our sins are terrible too.
You are NOT the person to judge them if they believe in Islam or not.
Whether their actions are consistent with Islam is not a question - they are ABSOLUTELY actions that are NOT consistent with the teachings of our Prophert (saws) and our God.
However, as far as we can see, they were Muslims. Imperfect Muslims, but Muslims nonetheless.
I want my nonMuslim friends to know as mad as you are at Muslims, I'm furious at these two men.
Way more mad. A million times more.
I spend every waking minute going out of my way to defend my religion, show how beautiful it is, opening doors for little old ladies, getting spit on and smiling through it so that I can put a positive image out there for others of my beliefs.
I'm a representative. So are these guys. I can spend my entire life working to change your mind and in two seconds these two people can completely destroy it.
And when something like this happens, I feel like all of my hard work, all of my restraint, all of it, is in vain.
I have to start from square one all over again trying to rebuild that image.
It's so frustrating.
Thank God for all of the people in the world that are reasonable enough not to let the actions of a few change their opinions of an entire religion.
On behalf of these two men, I'm sorry you're disappointed. I'm sorry we disappointed you.
But please realize me apologizing for them is equivalent to Christians apologizing for the Ku Klux Klan. (Literally, same percentages).
Just because one of the adjectives that these two men are is "Muslim" don't let that one adjective become all that they are.
How can we say that Islam is a religion of peace when things like this happen? I get it.
It does not necessarily mean that their religion is the cause for their disobedience. With the bridge example, no one said they did it because they were Christian.
May God grant all of us - no matter what race, religion, gender, sexuality, etc... - tolerance for one another. May He teach us the importance of compassion, holding judgments, and loving one another. May He grant all of the victims Jannah and all of their families solace. May all of our hardwork not be in vein, and may God make us all good examples in the footsteps of the BEST example, Prophet Muhammad (saws). Ameen.