Racism and Prejudices
By Danya Akbar
Los Angeles, CA

Muslims deal with racism frequently in their every day lives. We are often pre-judged because of our ways of life, and are very commonly misunderstood due to our differences in contrast to other people around us. Yes, racism and prejudices are very common practices in our world, but we are not the only ones who are judged, and neither are other groups besides us the only ones who judge. The fact is that prejudices of Muslims are common, but what of prejudices and racism committed by Muslims?
How many times have you judged someone based on his or her race, religion, beliefs, or actions? Don’t worry, we all have judged people based on these things, and it is hard not to judge when today’s society places so many expectations and rules on how we should behave. Many people are prejudiced towards Muslims, but many Muslims are also very prejudiced towards people of other religions. Not many people are discriminatory in actions or words, but it seems as though many young Muslims (and adults as well) tend to feel that Islam is the best religion, and that other religions are completely superfluous compared to ours.
It is true that Islam is the last religion which follows the Qur’an, which is the most untainted and pure word of God, thus we follow that which other religions might have changed or forgotten. It is also true that the Qur’an is the only holy book which has not been changed or altered; therefore we, as Muslims, follow the true, unaltered word of God. Though we may believe this, it is not appropriate to convey these thoughts in a hostile way towards people of other religions. Although discussions of other religions are very good for acquiring knowledge and experience, it is neither appropriate nor polite to be close-minded and aggressive in teaching others of Islam. One must be open to other ideas and must be mindful of one’s feelings when discussing different religions. Being pushy and dogmatic is not the way to make a good impression of Islam. Islam is a kind and gentle religion, which should be learned slowly, and not forcefully.
Religion is not the only issue that reflects our prejudices. It is human nature to judge people on their appearances. This is all right in most instances, but not when a judgment causes hurt. We should aspire to be good people everyday as well as good Muslims, and should try to see the good in people for who they are, not what they look like. Just because someone dresses or acts differently does not give us the right to treat him/her with hostility. Such situations occur frequently in high school, and most people are rude and impatient with such people. We should go out of our way to be kind, so that we are not letting our judgments, whether they are right or wrong, to influence our behavior in a negative way.
Another issue, which occurs in schools, is “backbiting,” or talking about someone behind his back. If you judge someone because of his or her clothes, (if they are strange, inappropriate, etc.) and you are nice to them despite that fact, then you are acting responsibly and controlling your feelings. Talking to someone as if he or she is your friend, however, and then going behind his or her back and talking about that person badly, is not an act of a good person or Muslim. Such acts will hurt others, and are not appropriate for young teens to do for fun. We should try our best to be kind in everyday life, and to be open-minded and liberal in our dealings. This is the best way to live one’s life, and consequently, to be a good Muslim.




Editor: Akhtar M. Faruqui
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