I remember the time when my mother told me, ‘Stay strong in your beliefs, no matter how the word Muslim is being used, because that is not us.” The perception of Islam has been altered throughout the years due to certain individuals. While the media focuses on those individuals who do not represent what being a good Muslim is, people tend to forget about the Muslims around the globe that are intolerant to terrorism and inequality, but the media won’t talk about them.

We forget that in France, in 2020, a woman cannot wear a niqab. The media talks about sexism against women and about those who fight for women to have a choice but what about the women that choose to cover up? What about them? Islam tells women to dress modestly so they are not objectified by the public so why do we not allow Muslim women in France, to practice the rules of their religion without facing an expensive fine?

Islam is thought to be a religion that favours men but the status of women in Islam challenges that thought. Prophet Muhammed (PBUH) said that “Paradise lies under the feet of your mother.” which shows the status of mothers (a female role model to every Muslim child) in Islam. Prophet Muhammed also married a woman named Khadija bint Khuwaylid. She plays a massive role in the rise of Islam. She was the first ever person to convert to Islam and was a successful businesswoman. As well as this, there is a whole section in the Quran that is women (Surat An-Nisa).

I personally believe that Anne Frank is an inspirational female role model because she was strong enough to keep an optimistic view of society, even when everyone was against her. People were brainwashed by Hitler and his propaganda into thinking that Jewish people were living monsters, that they wanted to destroy the Aryan race, that they were the cause of Germany’s loss of World War 1. Even with this scape-goating of Jews rapidly spreading, Anne Frank continued writing in her diary. She wrote about her dreams of going to Paris and becoming a journalist: “In spite of everything, I still believe that people are really good at heart.”

Although Muslims have stricter boundaries than most religions, it doesn’t make us any different to you. It may sound cliche but I feel the need to get this point across because I have heard stories where many do not respect the practices of Muslims. I was sickened when the news of the shooting of a mosque in New Zealand reached me.

What made the news even more gut-wrenching for me was hearing that one of the victims of the shooting greeted the shooter by saying “Hello, brother” and received 3 bullets, killing him. These simple words show the unity in the Islamic community and I know, from experience, how lovely the Islamic community is. My family and I went to a mosque that was further than we usually travel, for a talk about Islam that my mother arranged for us to go and listen to. Even though we had never been in this area before, we were welcomed into the mosque by the Muslim sisters who were guiding us on where to go. Usually, when I go to new places, I feel awkward and feel like I am being judged but in this mosque, I didn’t feel it as much because I remembered that I am here for the same purpose as everyone else – to become more educated about Islam.

As Muslims, we help each other out. We participate in charity work, we create our own charities. We give water and food to those who haven’t eaten in a long time, especially in the month of Ramadan.

What I am trying to get across, is that people tend to not respect the actions of believers of different religions because they do not understand enough about other religions, which is why we need to educate those on what people really believe in. Not only is it the meanings behind the rules, but it is the individuals that we associate with these religions that play a massive role in our opinions. Unfortunately in today’s society, Muslims are associated with the word terrorists because the more known terror attacks had perpetrators that were of Islamic faith. Unfortunately in Anne Frank’s time, Jews (along with homosexuals, people with disabilities, Gypsies and the deaf and blind) were not seen as worthy of living as they did not fit the category of Hitler’s “master race”.

My main aim for this essay was to show you the side of Islam that many do not see. I want to grow up in a world where my Muslim sisters can walk down the street in a hijab, a niqab, or an abaya (or whatever they want) in any country, and feel safe and not have to pay. I want a world where my Muslim brothers are not automatically seen as a threat. I want a society where my Muslim brothers and sisters are not judged by the beliefs they possess, but by their character.

I want to leave you on a quote from Otto Frank. “We cannot change what happened anymore. The only thing we can do is to learn from the past and to realize what discrimination and persecution of innocent people means. I believe that it’s everyone’s responsibility to fight prejudice.”

By HADIQ, 13.

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