“Every folded hand now equally to blame
Accomplice to a recurring crime.”
Being a peace and conflict resolution student and someone with a broader interest in social activism/justice, I often wonder about my role in perpetuating societal ills, be it asserting white privilege (consciously or not), being more guarded in certain parts of the city, or above all, being a bystander when I witness others discriminating against particular identities. Specifically, at times I feel a sharp sense of guilt for not speaking up against the latter actions that occur within my own faith of Islam – a religion that was founded upon the idea that anyone could become a Muslim and should be shown love by other believers, regardless of class, race, ethnicity, sexual orientation, and gender. Additionally, this recognition of basic human dignity is to be extended to the dhimmis, or Peoples of the Book(s) – traditionally affiliated with Jews and Christians, but has been, in some places, Hindus, Buddhists, Sikhs, Baha’is, Alevis, Druze. Personally, I think individuals who do not identify with a faith system should be given the same type of treatment, that being the utmost respect and hospitality. This basic tenet of the diin, or the religion, does not get upheld, which is frankly very shitty and speaks to, what I would argue is, individuals’ anxiety stemming from encountering something new (another belief system that claims to be the “true” one, a different racial/ethnic group, someone with a different sexual orientation). I would be lying to you if I always spoke up when witnessing discrimination or hearing about it from other Muslims; many times I have kept quiet for fear of excommunication or at the very least, some weird looks. Thanks to this blog, however, I feel a bit more at ease to draw attention to issues like this, which are applicable to all social groups; the fear of the “Other” is not exclusive to any belief system. As much as each group, religious or not, claims to be tolerant of individuals unlike themselves, this practice has its limits and falls short of full acceptance of multiple truths in the world.