He's White So He Can't Be a Terrorist... Right?

I wanted to wait to post this because I do not think it’s appropriate to post immediately after a tragedy about the selfish thoughts that I have.  I am sure if it was my family member killed the last thing I would care about would be gun laws or religious ideals or the universality of terrorism.

So, he was white.  

He had no ties to Islam.  He wasn’t following ISIS on Twitter.  He didn’t say “Allahu Akbar,” or “God is the Greatest.”  

So, he’s not a terrorist.  

But, he did kill 59 people and injure 515...

Still, he’s just a “crazy dude” who had a difficult past.  He was not on a watch list.  "Nothing about his activity would have made him seem threatening."

I'm Muslim.  If I sneeze, it's considered a threat.

I've nearly cleared a post office when I was in line shipping a big box of my homemade cookies to a friend and my athan (call to prayer) went off from my phone in my back pocket with, "Allahu Akbar!"

It blows my mind who is considered a threat and who isn't.

When the Miami shooter terrorized Pulse over a year ago, I saw the Facebook posts of friends of friends and I wanted to go into hiding. 

One woman in particular said that Muslims did not deserve to be in the country and that America was not for people like us.  It killed me to know that someone close to a friend of mine would have such a terrible perception of us as Muslims.  I responded to her comment with love and mercy.

She responded back that we should apologize as Muslims.  That there was something wrong with us.

That broke me even more.  I thought, 'how can she think I am responsible for this in any way? I don’t have an ounce of hatred in my body.’

When I heard about the tragedy in Las Vegas, I was praying for the safety of those people, but at the same time I was praying the shooter was not Muslim.

I know that is incredibly selfish, but it’s the truth.  

When I found out he had no ties to Islam, and was not being called a terrorist - although by Nevada state law, his actions fall under the definition of terrorism - I was relieved and heartbroken at the same time.  

I was relieved that it didn't add fuel to the fire of Muslim hatred in America and around the world. But that relief was minimal as the aftermath broke my heart that he was not given the label that he so deserved.

It truly is just a game of labeling people who are different than you.  For me it is such a confusing dichotomy.  When I wear my “full gear” as my family jokingly calls it, I am clearly Muslim.  In America, I’m the “other.” When I take off some pieces of cloth, I’m an American in appearance.  I’m “one of us" to Americans.  

I wish everyone realized there are bad people in this world on all sides.  There are crazy people who use religion for evil.  They manipulate it incorrectly.  They are conditioned to only see the bad.  Perhaps they - like the Vegas shooter - have something in their past that broke them or have some mental disease.  The Vegas shooter is considered a “lone wolf.”  So are all of the Muslim terrorists.  They’re all lone wolves.  They’re all negatively impacting our religion for their own personal gain.  

When I reflected on the shooting, I realized that the LAST thing on earth that would make me feel better would be for that lady who insulted me on Facebook to apologize to me for what happened.  She has NO connection to this Vegas terrorist (yes, terrorist) besides their race.  Similarly, I have no connection to Muslims like the Pulse shooter who have committed horrible attacks or acts against humanity except a religious label.

Every person only represents himself or herself.  Let’s all remember that.

May God be Merciful with those who died in the Vegas shooting and may He grant them Paradise for their meaningless demise.  We are all brothers and sisters under the same God. May He have Mercy on all of Humanity.