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Seek understanding before judging
I write this as a peaceful and pleading Trinbagonian Muslim. In light of events since the infamous 9/11 until the recent protests and attacks on several US embassies and all that occurred in between, I urge my fellow countrymen to avoid getting trapped in the web of Islamophobia (definition: prejudice against, or hatred or irrational fear of, Muslims).
I urge them to look at the affairs that occur locally and internationally objectively and with common sense, and not to let their starting point be a judgement of racism and hatred. I advise them to research any controversial issues connected to Islam or its Prophet and to ask those with sound Islamic knowledge before jumping to any negative conclusions. They should realise that they have nothing to fear from Muslims and that we are not a threat at all.
Many non-Muslims have incorrect pre-conceived notions and misconceptions as to what Islam is. This is perhaps because they have witnessed Islam being misrepresented in one way or the other. Some Muslims, admittedly, are not the best representatives of the true principles and tenets of the faith. However, we shouldn’t judge the whole by what a small portion does!
That is why one is encouraged to read from authentic Islamic sources while supporting that with learned individuals who are able to explain properly what is not understood completely such as a qualified Imam or scholar. Unfortunately, I have seen many Trinbagonians interpret the Qur’an falsely and wrongly by taking selected verses out of context; I know my countrymen are smarter, more educated and definitely more just than that. This ignorance is unbecoming of any ‘Trini’.
We shouldn’t forget that although Muslims make up a relatively small percentage, Muslims have contributed much to the development of our country like other religions. One of the great achievements of our republic is that we have co-existed in relative harmony. Let us not be spooked by foreign or local ‘Islamophobes’ into backward thinking and intolerance. Every creed and race ought to find an equal place.
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