“Whoever kills an innocent person, it is as if he has killed all of humanity.” Quran 5:32

I was 9 years old when the hijackers attacked the World Trade Center on Sept. 11, 2001.

At that time, I was still living in Bangladesh and it was night time in Dhaka when the tragedy occurred. I remember being in the car as we drove home from dinner when my dad received a phone call from my aunt, who was living in New York. My father sounded shocked, but I couldn't comprehend their conversation. As soon as we arrived home, my parents rushed to turn on the news and the grave image of the towers as they burned was seared into my memory for life.

A few years later, when I immigrated to the United States, I experienced a rude awakening; I had been held responsible for all the ills the extremists performed under the name of Islam. On Sept. 11, 2001, not only did those radical extremists hijack those planes, they hijacked my religion to murder innocent people.

Once again, that is what happened in Paris on Nov. 13. Growing up as a Muslim, I was taught not to kill a spider because it’s considered a sin. Anyone who has an understanding of Islam and has studied the Quran should know to never justify the promotion of violence. ISIS is not a representation of Islam, but rather it represents everything evil about this world. If we aren’t united on differentiating between ISIS and Islam, then evil wins.

“Today I believe that I am acting in accordance with the will of the Almighty Creator.” This was said by Adolf Hitler in his book Mein Kampf. He used the religion that preaches, “But I tell you, love your enemies and pray for those who persecute you,” as the justification for killing 12 million people. Yet, no reasonable person would equate Adolf Hitler to Christianity, so how is it justifiable to equate ISIS to Islam?

People have often used religion to promote hate and violence. It is our responsibility as informed citizens of the world to defeat hate and ignorance with love and knowledge.

There are 6 million Muslims living in France today. If just 10 percent of them were radicals, that would be 600,000 attackers. If only 1 percent of French Muslims were supporters of ISIS, an army of 60,000 would have attacked Paris. If less than 1 percent of French Muslims were radicalized, that would be less than 6,000 terrorists that French officials would have handled.

This wasn’t a Muslim terrorist attack, this was an attack by evil men who wanted to harm others. I am a proud Muslim and I condemn terrorism because it is nothing but a cowardly act.


Rezwan Haq is a contributing writer for the Central Florida Future.

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