www.whyville.net Mar 9, 2008 Weekly Issue

Times Writer

Muslims Are Not the Enemy

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As many of you can recall, on September 11, 2001, the Twin Towers in New York City were attacked by a radical group of Muslims. They claim it was in the name of religion and they were clearly trying to start a "holy war" with the United States. Ever since then, the media has gone crazy with coverage on the war in the Middle East. Many of us get the impression that Muslims hate us and they are the enemy. This is definitely NOT the case.

I am in a "teaching diverse populations" class in my school and we are learning about different religions. I was a little uncomfortable when we started to talk about the Islam religion because, after all, I am a Christian, and I assumed the Muslims hated me. My teacher strongly suggested that we go observe classrooms at a Muslim school. I was a little wary, but since it was for a grade, I decided to go.

I wasn't exactly sure how they would react to me. To my surprise, they were very nice and accepting when I went into the school. The children there were eager to make friends with me and they even wrote out their names in Arabic for me because I thought their writing looked so cool! They let me take several pictures and I even got to see their prayer time in the mosque (church). I learned a lot that day.

Islam in itself is a very good and positive religion. The Muslim people are very dedicated and self-disciplined. Muslim means "One who submits to God". They pray several times a day and they restrict themselves from consuming things like pork and alcohol. They follow a holy book called the "Quran" which is like their bible. The Quran is shockingly similar to the bible with mention of numerous figures like Abraham, Adam, Noah, Moses and even Jesus. Many of us think they serve a different God than the one in the Christian religion. Actually, it is the same God-the creator of the universe. They call Him "Allah" because that means "God" in Arabic.

Like in every religion, there are extremists who make a bad name for everyone associated with their group. If you watch the news, they are always going on about the negative things. If you are not careful, they will give you a negative perception of Muslims. Educate yourself outside of the TV and the newspaper and really find out the facts - good and bad. Don't let the TV warp your brain! These are good people with good intentions. Their religion is based on promoting peace.

Even if you don't agree with their religion, you can be loving and respectful. If you respect others, regardless of your point of view, they will respect you in return. As my teacher's mother once said, "Let God be the judge of who is right and who is wrong. In this time on earth, just love each other."

Signing off,


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