Response to Letter to the Editor

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In New York City we have access to cultures and lifestyles different from our own. All this variety often doesn’t allow us to see that in other parts of our own country, people are much more conservative and unaccepting of change. We find it unfathomable that in our country a governor could pass a law that allows institutions to deny service to gay individuals, even after the Supreme Court ruled gay marriage legal.

It is quite ironic and hypocritical of us to criticize other nations’ lack of social reform when our country fails to advance its way of thinking to one that is more liberal and unbiased.

Although we may not see it, anti-Islamic rhetoric is present in forms other than the media. It can be a real life situation, where a girl wearing a hijab is called a “terrorist,” or it can get physical to a point where a man is pushed onto the subway tracks for “looking Muslim.” It is not fair to call such situations illegitimate concerns; Muslims are just as American as victims of terrorist attacks.

Islam does not make Muslim majority nations hellholes, people do. Most Muslim immigrants come from places where there’s war or a lack of basic human needs. These immigrants, who come to the U.S. for the sake of providing themselves and their children with better opportunities, are disappointed to see that in a country where there is “religious tolerance, economic opportunity, meritocratic hiring, political freedom, and respect for the individual regardless of birth, class and status,” others deem them unworthy of respect due to crimes of which they are not guilty.

Muslims, who regularly attend mosques, do not commit such incomprehensible acts of violence. The “extremists” are those who have shallow understandings of religious texts without thinking about the context in which these scriptures were written. Ibrahim Adbeslam, one of the suicide bombers involved in the Paris attacks, owned a bar in Brussels, despite the fact that consuming, selling, carrying, and buying alcohol is forbidden in Islam. Mosques raise young women and men to be respectful and equal towards everyone. They don’t teach people to deny others the equality and freedom that they want for themselves.