For the Love of Toothpaste

August 13, 2006 at 7:15 am (Islam)

I have a message for those self-proclaimed Muslims planning to blow up/ currently blowing up/ have already blown up stuff…  I mean honestly, guys…what is UP with you?  After all the hard work Western Muslims are doing to improve the image of Islam and the state of our Ummah—you have to go and pull this.  You just had to—you couldn’t resist.  Do you have any idea how diligently we have been working to try to  plan conferences, book speakers, have interfaith collaborations, disseminate press releases, educate friends, coworkers, colleagues about the true essence of Islam?  We have been establishing political action committees, pushing members of our community to run for local office and become active in their city’s arena, encouraging our children to go into journalism, law, human rights, networking, and building more cohesive Muslim communities.  These are ongoing efforts—but they take time and patience to see results.  But, just when we go one step forward—a bombing plot is foiled, some guys want to detonate 70 prepaid cell phones, a shoebomb goes off, etc.   3 million steps backward. 

Now my parents are traveling back from their yearly visit to the 
Middle East, and  my poor mother cannot put toothpaste in her carry-on luggage lest she be accused of carrying a ticking fluoride-filled minty fresh plaque-preventing tooth-whitening  liquid bomb.  Good Lord Almighty! 

Yes I know all the different theories about why you do what you do. I know American foreign policy is whack crunk.  I know most of you were raised in poverty, tragedy,  unemployment, religious extremism rampant.  I even know some think it’s because the verses in the Qur’an are inherently violent—or maybe you were just born with an autosomal dominant homozygous i-like-to-kill-innocent-people gene.  Whatever the reason is—trust me I have heard them all. I have even employed multiple variations of these theories in discussions with non-Muslims to try to elicit a more understanding view of the Eastern Muslim world and why they have resorted this. 

But, at this point, I’ve had enough.  I’m sick of the sadness and grief that fills me with every headline at the lives of innocents killed.  I’m sick of scanning the room in fear for reactions to my nametag.  I’m sick of hearing the “let’s nuke ‘em all” undertones  of conversations about the latest news.  I’m sick of having to defend why I do what I do, wear what I wear, look like the way I do, read what I read.  I’m sick of having to educate, explain, and worry about what others think of the way of life I love so dearly and the region of the world I am so passionate about.  Maybe I am young and naive—but I know that every one of us feels exactly like this every time that CNN “Breaking News” Ticker emerges onto the screen—even if we don’t admit it. 

Sigh.  So…  Just stop it.  Okay?  Please?  For the love of toothpaste? 

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