One of the great things about the U.S. Constitution is that it gives people certain rights. The First Amendment states that Americans should have freedom of religion.
“Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof; or abridging the freedom of speech, or of the press; or the right of the people peaceably to assemble, and to petition the Government for a redress of grievances.”
There are many religions celebrated in America — Judaism, Christianity, Hinduism and Islam — just to name a few. Many believe that all Americans should follow Christianity or that Christianity should be the only religion allowed in America. If that were the case, then the First Amendment would have to be amended, and if that were to happen, where would it end? Should the Second Amendment be taken out of the Constitution as well?
People were scared of Christians at one point in time and Christianity was outlawed. America has to keep going forward. To outlaw Islam or any other religion because people are scared, will just set America back to the middle ages. There are fanatics in all religions, even in Christianity.
In recent years, Muslims, who follow the Islamic religion, have been targets of hate and sometimes even physical abuse because they are blamed for any terrorist attack that has or will happen. The Ohio State stabbing suspect was described as African American by someone on Facebook and someone replied “I do not think he was” black “…pretty sure that tan skin color was Muslim” and added an angry face emoji after the comment.
Muslim isn’t a skin color.
Sadia Farah is a student at Cameron who is Muslim. She said that Muslims aren’t identifiable by their skin color.
“Religion has no color, no race or ethnicity,” Farah said. “Being Muslim means believing in God, who we believe created the earth and everything on it. You can be black, Mexican, white, Asian and so on. You can speak any language — you can come from any walk of life — but if you believe in God, his messengers, Moses and Jesus, etc., and that God is merciful then to him we will return. If you believe in values of honesty, kindness and that no matter what other religion your neighbor has come from, it’s your duty to respect them and love them. That is being Muslim.”
“I have friends from Hondurus, Mexico and Germany who are Muslim,” she said. “Islam is not something you can identify by skin tone or language. Yes, there are a many Arab and Pakistani Muslims, but did you know that the largest Muslim population is in Asia? A lot of people don’t know that. Muslims believe in the same God that Christians worship. We use the term ‘Allah’ because we believe that God should never be plural. We believe in one, almighty merciful God. In English the term ‘God’ can be changed to ‘Goddess’ or can have an added ‘s’ to make ‘Gods.’ But in Arabic, the term ‘Allah’ can’t be made plural. A lot of non-Muslims, because of this personal name we use, believe Muslims worship a different God. We do not.”
Skin color isn’t the only case of people mistakenly posting about Muslims. Others have posted about them wearing hijabs, because they think the men in the religion force them to wear them, which isn’t the case for most Muslims.
“I’m not forced to wear my Hijab,” Farah said. “In fact, my dad suggested that I don’t wear it because he was worried I would be a target if I did. I wear it because I choose to wear it. It’s a symbol of my faith.”
Farah went on to describe some of her beliefs while following the Islamic faith. She said there are some major differences between Christianity and Islam, but there are also some similarities, like following one sovereign creator, believing in angels and believing in prophets. Muslims even accept parts of the Bible and believe in Judgment Day.
Things that separate Islam from Christianity are that Muslims don’t believe that Jesus is the Son of God and they believe that paradise can be earned, whereas Christians believe that to get to Heaven, they must confess their sins and repent through Jesus.
According to Farah, radicals scare everyone, even fellow Muslims. Whether someone practices Islam, Christianity, or any other religion, it should be peacefully. Everyone is entitled to their own beliefs as long as they aren’t hurting others.
To learn more about different religions, visit tolerance.org.
Reach Kathleen Guill at 580-379-0588, ext. 2602.