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MONROE

The way to make false ideas and stereotypes of Muslims evaporate
Along with unfounded fears

September 22, 2017



Guest Editorial
By Rasheed Reno 

Friday Sept. 15th members of the Ahmadiyya Muslim Community arrived at the Baitul Ehsan Mosque in Monroe, Washington to find that explicit graffiti had been painted on the side our mosque.  Part of the graffiti had been painted over by another color of paint along with an expletive.  

The original part of the graffiti is no longer legible, but we suspect that it was likely a derogatory term.  It is not known whether it was put there with hateful intent or if it was just mischievous teens having “fun” at someone else’s expense.  

There has been a dramatic increase in hate crimes of the past few years and many mosques have been vandalized throughout the country, ranging from graffiti to arson.  Along with the attacks on mosques have been attacks on people which have also dramatically increased, in some cases innocent people are killed.  

Even here in the greater Seattle area, known for being open and accepting, a mosque in Bellevue was set on fire and anti-Muslim graffiti was painted on the sign of a newly built mosque in Redmond.  

Whether or not this was done with hateful intent it is still of great concern because it matches a growing pattern of targeting Muslims throughout the country and risks normalizing violence and hate against them.

The increase in anti-Muslim sentiment is being fueled by fears of terrorism due to a combination of the increase in extremist activity from terrorist organizations like ISIS taking advantage of instability and fear in various countries, but also from anti-Muslim fear mongering.   

The fear mongering is done by proclaiming extremist viewpoints as genuine Islamic teaching and by falsely claiming that a large number of American Muslims hold these viewpoints. There are many websites that make false claims about Islam, misleading thousands, if not millions of people promoting the lie that Muslims are coming to America to try and forcibly convert Americans to Islam through terror and impose “Sharia Law”.  

Baylor University study concluded that Muslims are the most feared group in America, which shows how effective the fear mongering campaign has been.  A Time magazine poll showed that 62% of Americans do not know a Muslim, which explains why so many are misled by the false anti-Muslim propaganda.  

Too many Americans do not know a Muslim and it is very easy to fear something that you know very little about. We believe the best way to approach this problem is through dialogue.  

Throughout the country each chapter of the Ahmadiyya Muslim Community has opened its doors to the public for Coffee, Cake, and True Islam campaign to engage in dialogue with the community, to address concerns and educate our communities what True Islam really teaches.  

The youth of our community have gone above and beyond just opening the doors with the #MeetAMuslim effort where they go out into the public holding a sign inviting people for discussion.  

We believe that if we meet one another, then the false ideas and stereotypes that we carry will evaporate along with the unfounded fears.  We believe you will find that we are proud Americans who love God, love our country and the freedoms that it brings, and desire to have a loving relationship with our community.
 
_______________________________
 
Rasheed Reno is Vice President of Ahmadiyya Muslim Community of Seattle





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