Letting Love outshine HateBy Sehar Ezez | 11/19/2015 9:30am
I have struggled for the past week to reconcile in my heart what has happened around the world, from Lebanon to Paris. I have struggled with the idea that there are those who have attained the ability to convince the world that their struggle for power and bloodlust for the end of humanity is based in any sort of faithful ideology, especially mine. As a Muslim, I believe that if one innocent person is lost, then it is as if all of humanity has perished. And so, as I watched around the world the tears of loved ones as they reconciled with reality of their loss, I feared the loss of humanity. I watched as refugee camps were set on fire, as Arabs and Muslims around the world were demonized and attacked. I watched as our political leaders screamed from the rooftops that they would never, ever accept Syrian refugees into their state, refugees that risked their lives to flee the very evil that committed these attacks in the hope that they would not be forced to partake in evil deeds to ensure their survival. I watched as hate on both sides of the field overtook the news waves and social media. And sadly not a single tear dropped from my eyes because it’s a scene that’s become too familiar.
I would be lying if I said I’m not terrified. I’m not scared for my personal safety, although my loved ones are. I’m scared because I don’t know what is going to happen to our world. I’m scared that the children fleeing from this terror will grow up with despair and anger in their hearts after seeing that they have nowhere on this earth to call home. I’m scared for my community, that they will be villainized and attacked, despite the fact they themselves fear the evil that Daesh spreads. I’m scared that the wars of terrorism and counter-terrorism will finish off what’s left of my homeland, and my heritage. I’m scared every day that my fellow Americans will grow to hate me, to hate my people and not recognize that I too fear what they fear and fight against this evil. But I refuse to let my fear consume me. I refuse to let Daesh back me in the corner and continue to hold the megaphone of my faith.
As the week progresses, I find myself receiving more and more calls, texts and messages from friends, notably non-Muslim friends, who want to make sure no one has said anything to me in the wake of Islamaphobic attacks. I join my fellow peers in praying for the Paris and her sister Beirut. I join my family and friends to pray for the survival of the Middle East, so that we have a homeland to take the next generation to. I push my fellow Ummah (Muslim community) to not give into Daesh and right wing extremists and hold firm to the values our faith teaches us about hope and courage. I watch as real Christians embody the values of Christ and political leaders on both sides stand for true American values, and welcome refugees with open arms and shun those who preach hatred. And it is only in that moment, where love outshines hate, that I feel myself becoming emotional.
I firmly believe that we, as mankind, are meant to love one another. I believe that our souls are destined to laugh together, cry together and grow together. I see that hope when my best friend who comes from the Christian faith calls me and joins me in prayer for the betterment of our world. I remember the words of my Prophet Muhammad (Peace be upon Him): “Be kind, for whenever kindness becomes part of something, it beautifies it. Whenever it is taken from something, it leaves it tarnished,” I refuse to tarnish my world with fear and anger. I choose instead to beautify it with kindness and forgiveness, and I urge my fellow peers to join me.
Sehar Ezez is a senior majoring in history. As an observant Muslim, when she refers to the Prophet Muhammad, the phrase "Peace be upon Him" follows his name as a sign of respect. Her column runs biweekly.