For 24 days I was fasting to make up for the days I missed during Ramadan (the month of fasting for Muslims). I dedicated these days to fulfilling my new years resolution of consistency! Whether that be in my faith, with school or this blog. However 24 days of non-stop fasting is no easy challenge. It’s a test of resilience and my faith. I have always tried to conduct myself the best I can in regards to my faith because it is an important part of my life and my well being. Islam has taught me a lot about myself and helped me grow as an individual.
So, when I hear that the chief and commander of the United States, Donald J Trump, used his executive order to impose a Muslim travel ban to people from 7 predominantly Muslim countries: Iran, Iraq, Libya, Somalia, Sudan, Syria and Yemen, I was disgusted. To make matters worse, as soon as the order was signed, people were being detained at JFK airport to prevent their entry. For what reason? Observing a particular religion.
I have grown up in a world where people have the freedom to practise whatever religion they choose to. Consequently, when citizens are being discriminated upon because of this simple fact, it is certainly frustrating. Not only is this a major infringement upon human rights, it is unconstitutional and it is replicating horrible mistakes that people made in the past.
On Friday 27th January this executive order was signed and ironically shared the same date as Holocaust Memorial Day. I was planning to share this post on that very day, however, I thought it would be more appropriate to share a post paying my respect to the Holocaust. I don’t know whether it’s because I visited the Jewish memorial site in Berlin, visited one of the labour camps or because I am a person of faith but for quite some time I have felt a special connection to this day. I always remember, when I visited the camp and I just broke out in to tears when I walked into the cabins where the labourers stayed in. When my friends continued through, I felt this overwhelming sense of fear that prevented me from moving further forward and made me leave. Thinking about it now is just making me tear up because I can remember that day perfectly and I can feel the pain. To think humanity could be so cruel is sickening and that’s why it angers me because this genocide started from the scapegoating and stereotypes of Jews, it then led to discrimination and eventually persecution. I’m not scared that this would happen again but when you see the red flags, you have to be cautious and alert to what may be.
A hijab, a prayer mat and Qu’ran are not the tools needed to make a terrorist but a Muslim. The sooner people realise that Muslim=Terrorist is not a tautology, the better. I don’t think every Christian is a terrorist because of the KKK so don’t think that I am a terrorist because of ISIS. Don’t get me wrong, I’m not trying to blame other faiths and turn this into a “he said… she did” situation but why is it easier for people to protect certain religions in one way, and demonise others when they’re both in the same situation. I think this ‘prioritisation’ of religion is very dangerous since it creates a sense of conflict amongst religion. (Below is a Ted Talk by Dalia Mogahed that addresses this subject well – I definitely recommend you watch it)
However, it is evident from the continuous protests that people are not accepting what Trump is doing – regardless of his justification. I feel very proud to see that nations of all kinds from London to Paris to Vienna are refusing to accept such behaviour. The people make the government, the people make the political system and it’s the people who can make a change it. Our anger and frustration can act as a driving force to challenge such bigotry.
Regardless, the US system has a lot of reforming to do and will be challenged a lot in the days to come. Is the structure of the federal government (President, Congress and the Supreme) strong enough to prevent such an executive order from being practised? At the moment, there has been some challenges that have in effect halted this order temporarily. But for how long? Will this become permanent? This article by the BBC gives a good overview of the current situation – http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/world-us-canada-38880877
Islam has constantly been disrespected to an extent. It’s shameful that the actions of the radical minority have tainted the image of millions of Muslims. I know this will be one of many posts defending my religion but it important for people like me to use outlets like this to scrutinise people like him and share the perspective of real Muslims!
Featured Image Source: Times Live