Thursday, 24 March 2016

From a Citizen to a Suspect | Collective Guilt

Today I watched and listened to an incredible TED Talk. I wept for the incredible woman who stood up and spoke for herself as a human, and also as a human who is part of a religion. I wept for how she is affected by bigoted views this world can sometimes encourage, but if not, produce through fear and anger. I wept because, of course, she shouldn't have to stand and defend herself; her religion. But, sadly, she does.

I more than encourage to watch the video embedded below (it can be found HERE if you can not see it).

Dalia Mogahed hasn't always been a Muslim. It was a choice she made as a seventeen year old. She chose to try to understand, to struggle with and love with the help of Islam. In this video she talks of her religion and how it teaches good values and it is because of mosques that people find courage. This building guides and helps good people- people who want to become better and better. I am not religious but naturally respect all religions. This should be a given and doesn't need explanation but one reason I have complete respect for religions is because of the good values it teaches. So many people find all sorts of goodness in holy books and teachings and I think that's awesome.

Dalia talks of 9/11 and how it has affected her. She describes the "collective guilt" she and other Muslims acquire through another person's terrible actions. Actions that are not supported by their religion as a community or as a set of teachings. I've always heard of this horrible concept and despised it deeply, although I've never thought of it as "collective guilt." Does that phrase not just sing sadly of the horrendous injustice this world easily feels and creates?

She explains how she and her family had to make a choice. After 9/11 should she hide out of fear of being a victim of violence or religious hatred or should she go to worship? How is that we live in a world where good people have to even consider - let alone chose - whether hiding is the safer option? They did, however, go to worship. She said they thought about the kind of America they wanted it to be for their kids and it's a courageous and compassionate one they want to see and be a part of. And she explains how she entered the mosque and there were Christians, Jews, atheists... Everyone had come together in the sound of harmony. How it should be.

"They chose courage and compassion over panic and prejudice." This is Dalia - woman, mother, human, coffee drinker, Muslim - explaining these people who entered her mosque to support Muslims. To spread kindness and courage. There should only be one choice and it should always be support and yet it is not and I, like Dalia said she did at the time, cried. Humanity should be seeing that bad people don't represent a whole community. They represent themselves. Dalia says they do not represent their religion and of course they do not. Islam teaches good values; it doesn't teach terrorism.

This video is about this view that "getting rid of Muslims means getting rid of terrorism." She shows how, of course this is ridiculous. She says you can get rid of all Muslims in America, for example, but it won't stop terrorism. People need to learn that these acts of terrorism do not and will not ever represent a religion's views and values.

I am so done with Islamophobia. I am so done. Recent events are so disturbing and disgusting and inhumane and everything terrible about this world. But a religion is not responsible for it. People who are living good lives are not responsible for terrorism. At the end, Dalia asks whether the audience will choose to be bigoted or to support Islam. I don't believe it's a choice as she phrased it at the end but I understand her point. It's not a choice to chose compassion; it should be everyone's way of life.

And I must mark my support of Islam in this post. And I'll keep letting the world know. I hope you do too.

Courage & Compassion,

The Girl in the Moonlight.

P.S. I am blogging twice every day this month and you can read my last post HERE!

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