#AllLivesMatter: Why Generalizing People Is Gen-Y's Greatest Downfall
“I don't worry about whether or not my family will make it through the week, or if one of the terrorist attacks or uprisings will leave them a causality of war, an act of unprecedented or unnecessary violence.”
I wrote that in my journal on February 15, after hearing about the attacks that took place in Copenhagen.
My musings were merely meant to show my appreciation for living in America, for having a safe place to call home and to wake up each day without having to worry I will be under attack, or in the heart of a conflict.
I wrote this to express how thankful I am for my security and the security of my family, but not all have that same reassurance.
There is a war going on, and as most wars are, this one is full of many battles. There are the battles you see, and battles you don't see. There are battles of power and battles of prejudice.
While I may feel safe as an American citizen, I'm sure there are many who don't.
There are many people who wake up in America each day and worry about how they will be perceived due to one their physical characteristics.
They second-guess the way they dress, or have fear regarding the groups with which they associate with or to which they belong.
If someone with blue eyes robbed your house, would you, from that day forward, mistrust and ostracize all people with blue eyes?
If a rich, white man in your neighborhood committed a heinous crime, would you even think twice the next time you passed a white man on the street?
Odds are, you wouldn't. Odds are, you would have no residual thoughts about the broad group to which someone who wronged you belongs.
A crime is a crime; an act of violence is an act of violence.
If someone, somewhere, who bears some kind of similarity to you, commits an act of evil, it does not mean you possess the same evil. It does not mean you are in danger of committing the same act.
The acts committed by Muslim extremist groups, specifically ISIS, are outrageous, offensive, unacceptable and unnecessary terrorist attacks. But, those people do not constitute the majority; they are committed to an extremist group.
ISIS is the enemy; terrorism is the enemy. All Muslims are not the enemy.
The odious crimes of ISIS have been widely reported on and have become a topic of controversy worldwide. What has been left out of most of these reports, however, are the reactions of the Muslim community as a whole.
In the New York Times report on the recent attacks in Copenhagen, it was stated that many Muslims were outraged by these attacks, and also by the attacks on Charlie Hebdo last month.
Just as it would be small-minded to assume all Americans are vapid and self-absorbed because of the Kardashians, or all politicians are corrupt because of Nixon, it would be small-minded to assume all Muslims are terrorists because of ISIS.
The five pillars of the Islamic religion include daily confession of faith, daily ritual prayer, paying the alms tax, fasting during the month of Ramadan and the pilgrimage to Mecca.
These are the rituals and rules on which the Muslim religion is founded, and in my opinion, the acts of ISIS are less driven by their faith and more driven by political control.
I do not identify with the Islamic faith in any way, shape or form; I am not Muslim. In fact, I am very strongly Christian.
I do not believe the teachings of this faith should be validated, but I do, however, believe each person should be respected, regardless of his or her faith.
Let us not forget how much life matters, and let us not fuel the fire terrorism has created by fighting against an entire group, as opposed to the extremists at fault.
If you are breathing — if you have life, experiences, thoughts and dreams –, you matter. #MuslimLivesMatter, but I'd like to take it one step further and say #AllLivesMatter.
Let us not create a war within a war by forgetting this truth.
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