Religion in the News
A recent article by Fox News has revealed that the NYPD believes mosques are potential places for terrorist organizations. The secret labelling of mosques by the Police Department allows the department to secretly investigate on mosques and its members without any evidence of criminal misconduct. Every individual who attends a mosque is considered a potential suspect. The officers can monitor any activity that takes place inside and outside the mosque. They have been given the authority to video or audio tape any activity of interest. I believe strips the Muslim community of their freedom of practicing their faith. This has become a major issue for American-Muslims because they feel betrayed, unaccepted and fearful. It also makes a Muslim question about the intentions of members of their own community.
People move to America for a better life, where they have access to rights and freedoms. They have the freedom to practice their religion without any fear. The NYPD has not only targeted a few members of the Muslim community, but it has also questioned the teachings of Islam. Innocent Muslims have been suspects of the NYPD. Without any evidence how can one link them with terrorism? By questioning the teachings of Islam and what goes on inside mosques, society will automatically associate Muslims with terrorism. This does not only impact their religious freedom. It also affects them in their everyday lives. A study by Professor David Laitin shows that a Christian individual is two-and-a-half times more likely to get called for a job interview than a Muslim individual who is equally qualified. Muslim children are bullied inside and outside of school. An article from Los Angeles Times reveals that Muslim students are bullied by their fellow students. They encounter prejudice from their teachers, and they do not tell their parents because they don’t want them to worry. Discrimination exists everywhere, and discrimination towards Muslims’ has increased profoundly after the 9/11 attack. The NYPD has, I’m guessing, unintentionally encouraged further discrimination towards Muslims after targeting the mosques as places of terrorist organizations.
Many have been brainwashed by the media and the stereotypical views society has about Islam. Several major religions have seen episodes of violence throughout their history, like Islam, Christianity and Judaism. It is unfortunate that a few individuals have used Islam to justify their violent behavior, and the media is only too keen to give them the attention they crave. Jihad has become synonymous with “terrorism,” even though it primarily means to struggle in the way of God spiritually. Jihad as armed struggle, which is used by terrorist movements, has less to do with religion and more to do with individual and political agendas. Islam’s principle tenets do not promote violence, but it focuses immensely on peace. It is important to watch out for the well-being of public safety but it is unfair to target a particular religious group. Why is it that when a person opens fire on several students it is considered a ‘hate crime’ but when a Muslim commits a crime, they are portrayed as terrorists or their crime is assumed to be driven by religion? Jacob Sloan’s article revealed that there were approximately 875,000 people on the Terrorist Suspect List in America in 2013. Islam is the fastest growing religion in America, so I am assuming that the numbers on America’s Terrorist Suspect List will increase accordingly. But how many of these individuals are actually linked to a terrorist organization?