In the past decade, the majority of terrorist attacks worldwide shifted from “The West” to heavily populated Muslim countries of South East Asia, the Middle East, and North Africa (LaFree qtd. in Start). In war-torn area of the Middle East, including Iraq and Syria, terrorist organizations hold entire populations in fear.
The people who suffer the most are those many terrorist groups claim to represent. Following the attacks of September 11, 2001, the Muslim community has faced a tremendous amount of prejudice and are often given the unfair title of terrorist. It is safe to say that with every religion extremists follow. It is unfair to judge 23% of the world’s population which is 1.6 Billion people based on the actions of a destructive minority. In the US, many have spoken out in support of peace.
Proud Muslim and Chicago native Lupe Fiasco explains his feelings on his religion in his interview, “Islam is a tool for personal improvement but not a means to look down on people.” Lupe does not drink or smoke due to his religion, but he does not judge others who take another path. “I try not to do that with anybody, any capacity. My fellow Muslims, non-Muslims, Christians whomever,” Fiasco pointed out, “At the end of the day we’re human, we have faults we make mistakes.” Lupe also puts lyrics in his songs about the Muslim religion and its misinterpretations saying “Jihad is not holy war, where’s that in the worship? Murdering is not Islam and you are not observant.”
Fiasco makes valid points in his lyrics first by saying that Jihad is not holy war, many people view the word Jihad as a terrorist and violent type theme yet it means struggle in Arabic. American Islamaphobia is only heightened by the endless propaganda portrayed in own own radical media. Perhaps a more educated approach to world issues would help us grow. For instance, few people know that it is forbidden to murder someone in Islam, and if they do so they are not considered Muslims.
Why is terrorism so tied to religious extremism?
Religious extremism is driven, in its entirety, by a small minority who misinterpret a message portrayed by a religion or belief. Sadly, human history has shown this “religious zeal” to be inevitable. After the Civil War, the Ku Klux Klan formed as a Christian extremist group and to this day use the Bible to preach hatred. The same level of hypocrisy exists in any religion, but an educated populous can make all the difference in the world.