Friday, January 9, 2015

Living with the fear of hate

The most recent breaking news regards an attack against journalists and cartoonists at the Charlie Hebdo office in Paris that lead to the death of 12 people.

The attack was perpetrated by gunmen, one of whom was captured on video shouting “Allah!” in as the shooting took place. I am 14 and I have been living in England for 12 years. I am Indonesian and I have always been happy as a Muslim. So how does this effect me?

 My generation faces the most difficult challenge, since Islam has been shunned. Muslim youths like me have to deal with hatred, guilt and fear as the media and an increasing number of people worldwide are becoming anti-Islamic.

The shooting was shocking, disgraceful and has further tainted the image of Islam. What terrifies me is the fact that many Muslims are supporting this brutal act and saying that what happened in Paris was good. I cannot disagree more.

I have been brought up with both British values of freedom of speech as well Islamic morals of kindness and worship of God.

Although I do not agree with what the cartoonist did, I think it was completely out of line for some to kill him because of it. I am ashamed of these men who killed him “in the name of God” and cannot bear calling them Muslims.

Reading these articles has reduced me to tears due to the burden that I now feel I bear and the responsibility that I now feel I have to rearrange the harsh views people may start to have toward me and my community. I am so deeply upset and angry with these murderers, whoever they are, because it is as though they are anti-Islamic themselves for disheartening every good Muslim in the world.

I now live in fear of going to school, walking down the street, traveling to France and even talking to friends. I guess everyone will doubt me, question me and hate me without knowing who I really am and what I think. Opening social media to see tweets, Facebook shares and Instagram posts only saddens me as they stab the religion that I embrace.

I am not angry with the media, cartoonists or the French government. I am angry with the killers. What they have committed is completely unjust and unfair.

These men probably know the consequences of the murders on not only the families and friends of their victims, but also on France, immigrants and Muslims across the world and vulnerable youths like me.

I am no scholar to quote words from the Koran, but I know that killing is not acceptable.

I call on all Muslim youths who have been affected and share what I feel to show that we do not and will never encourage this act of killing, let alone intend to commit the crime. Many of us have never chosen to live in this country, but since we have, we have to respect the prevailing laws, be kind to others and become a good citizen in the community.

I am only different from others because I wear a headscarf, go to mosque every week and pray to God five times a day. I entirely disagree with terrorists who have been doing the same things. I also pray for the families of those who were killed.

There are many good, normal Muslims in the West who wish to see this extremism stop. There are many young Muslims who are dreaming of and working for a better future. We just want to be given a chance, respected and not discriminated against.

Many Muslims have committed wrongdoings, so we want to prove to the world that we aren’t all ruthless terrorists, but normal people who want change for the good of the people.

I also agree that Muslims should try as hard as they can to show their disagreement with the terrorists. That’s what I want to do for the community, tell them to stand against what is wrong and support those who truly believe in peace.

I am Rana Wulan Rofifah, Stockport, UK
  a Muslim and a young woman who lives in Britain and in fear of hate.


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