“Punish a Muslim Day” is a Shame to Humanity

April 3rd was “Punish a Muslim Day,” and it seems the world has come to a new low. The way I wrote that last sentence makes such a disgusting act of violence seem official, and to many people around the world, I bet it was.

The message of hatred originated in the United Kingdom where anonymous letters were spread around East London outlining a point system based on how someone “punishes” a Muslim. The range of violence ranged from verbal abuse to acts of terrorism. The anonymous organization gave out points for acts of violence, such as pulling a hijab off a Muslim woman or throwing acid on a Muslim’s face. The highest number of points would be given for bombing a mosque or nuking Mecca.

As a Muslim, I am disgusted. As a human being, I am even more disgusted. The fact that there is a group out there that has committed itself to coming up with ways to terrorize Muslims and spread propaganda is frightening and an absolute disgrace to humanity. I just can’t wrap my head around the fact that there were people who thought this was a reasonable thing to do.

As a Muslim in America, I felt a little apprehensive when the day approached, but I cannot even imagine how my Muslim counterparts in the UK must have felt.

Ever since the terrorist attacks of 9/11, Muslims both in America and around the world have lived in apprehension and fear because of the rhetoric that “Muslim” and “terrorist” are the same thing. We have had to endure hatred, bigotry, and stereotyping daily, but this point-based system of violence is on a whole other level.

I don’t know how many times I have said this, both in person and in writing, but Islam is a religion of love and acceptance. I do not consider the terrorists that have caused harm to the U.S. or to other parts of the world to be Muslims because a Muslim would never purposefully attack others. Islam teaches us to be kind to others. It teaches us that violence is not the answer and is in fact an unforgivable crime.

What is the difference between a terrorist from the Middle East harming a large group of people and this anonymous organization that has set out to do the same thing? By planning acts of violence against Muslims, these organizations are not any different from the terrorists that they believe they are attacking.

They are not attacking terrorists. They are not making their communities safer. They are only spreading hatred and blaming an entire population of people that haven't done anything wrong.

Innocent Muslims have had to bear the weight of hatred from groups like the organizers of Punish a Muslim Day when it is not them that these groups should be angry with. Muslims are part of the communities that they have settled in, whether that be in the U.S. or the U.K. They are not terrorists. They are not criminals. They are not dangerous.

They are your neighbors, your classmates, your co-workers. In short, they are human beings and should be treated as such. Punish a Muslim Day should never have come to fruition, but it did. Though Punish a Muslim Day has passed, I say we spend every day loving a Muslim. I say we spend every day loving everyone.

Because love will always win.