Q: When our children hear that 5 Muslim fundamentalists blew up the World Trade Center, how do we explain to them that it is not bad to be a Muslim?

A: There are 1.2 billion Muslims in the world, but unfortunately they are not all peaceful. The World Trade Center was blown up by a group of violent people who just happened to be Muslim. Islam does not promote violence, terrorism, the killing of innocent people or the destruction of other people's property. What those people did had nothing to do with Islam and is definitely not a part of being a Muslim.

The sad reality, though, is that the media in the United States is concerned about making money, not being fair and just. As a consequence, to make a story more exciting, they called the group "Muslim Fundamentalists", regardless of the effect that it will have on the millions of peaceful Muslims in this country. The western press was guilty of this negative stereotyping in the 1940's against the Jews and in the 1950's against the blacks and the Japanese. It was that racist practice that led to the detainment camps of Japanese-Americans here in the U.S. Unfortunately, now it is happening to our community and the hatred is being turned on us. We must let American know that we will not tolerate the stereotypes so that we too are not dragged out of our homes and force to live in camps. It is important that we write to the newspapers and television stations expressing our resentment for being labeled as killers. In our defense, the young Muslims should know that violence around the world is not because of Muslims. For example:

* 3 Irish Republican Catholics blew up a shopping center in London and killed 15 people.

* Michael Mulliken, a Jewish activist who paid millions of dollars to the Jewish cause was convicted of bank and securities fraud in excess of 2 billion dollars (after only 4 years in prison he was recently released)

* The hillside strangler was a young Mexican Christian who was convicted of murdering 12 women.

* 3 black Christian men robbed and killed a Jewish family of 5 in the Simi Valley area.

The list is endless. The difference with these crimes and the bombing is that no one mentions what religion those people were. The crimes have one essential thing in common, they were done by violent and dangerous people. Their religion is NOT what makes them dangerous and immoral, Christianity, Judaism, and Islam did not sanction their crimes! Religions should not be judged by the crimes its followers commit, but rather by what it tries to teach its people. None of the monotheistic religions teach people to be criminals, yet religion cannot prevent immoral behavior. All religion can do is show people the right way to live and promise them a paradise in the hereafter as long as they follow it. Those who choose to go against the teachings of God will be punished in this life and on the day of judgement. This is what religion teaches us.

In summary:

  1. We do not judge Islam by what a few Muslims do. We judge Islam by what is said in the Quran.
  2. We do not judge Christianity by what a few Christians do. We judge Christianity by what is said in the Bible.
  3. We do not judge Judaism by what a few Jewish people do. We judge Judaism by what is said in the Torah.