Current Date: Thu, 12 Dec 2013 15:47:51 -0500
Reading through The Daily Tar Heel on Monday, I was not surprised by another ad by David Horowitz claiming Islam to be a religion of hate and oppression.
The ad is sadly not an isolated occurrence of spreading hate and fear toward Islam. The goal behind these ads and the Islamophobia campaign is to plant seeds of irrational fear and hatred towards Muslims and to portray Muslims as a religious group in contradiction to the United States and Americans.
Ads like this only contribute to the Islamophobic campaign promoted by radical xenophobes and to the stereotypes promoted about Islam today.
I am grateful to have grown up in a family that stressed religious understanding, with my parents encouraging me to attend Sunday school with my Christian friends at a young age. As a Muslim, I was encouraged to learn about other religions through direct interaction with the idea that others’ beliefs should be respected.
In the Holy Quran, a verse states, “Whosoever kills an innocent human being, it shall be as if he has killed all mankind, and whosoever saves the life of one, it shall be as if he had saved the life of all mankind” (Quran 5:32).
We must understand that the actions depicted in the ad are not exclusive to a particular religion and do not by any means represent Islam. We must understand that these acts shown in the ad are done by individuals with false perceptions of the religion. We must understand that Muslims should not have to constantly defend their religion.
An act of violence by any other name is still an act of violence, something the mainstream media, the film industry and, frankly, some Americans must come to realize in order for this country to live up to its founding principles of religious tolerance and a nation of the people, by the people and for the people.
This issue is much bigger than one ad in the DTH; this is about who we all are as Americans. I am speaking for all Americans who support a free America regardless of religion or background in saying that Islamophobic messages like the one portrayed in the ad only make our country poorer.
I challenge the UNC community to use these ads as a discussion platform to understand how this intolerance can be stopped, and how a better understanding of Islam can be reached.