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As-salamu Alaykum

This is a common greeting in the Muslim world. It means “peace be upon you” in Arabic.

The Muslim world lays host to a beautiful & loving culture that preaches peace before anything else. The fact that this is how members of the Muslim community greet each other is evidence of that fact.

The key aspect of many Muslim values is the importance of treating those around you as brothers and sisters. In my family, my mother refers to other members of the Islamic community as my family’s brothers and sisters. Even as an atheist, I see every member of the Muslim world as a brother or sister because Islam teaches us the importance of unity.

Even if a “Saudi national” was responsible for this attack, if this was a “jihadist” attack, the man/group responsible for it does not belong to the Muslim community. He may believe he was acting in Allah’s name, but he wasn’t. Acts like these go against the core principles which Islam preaches. A “holy war” in the name of Allah is contradictory by nature, many people don’t realize this.

When somebody claims that a Muslim was responsible for any terrorist attack, they are wrong. Acts like these are built from one’s own delusion, what influences that delusion is another story, but what’s important is perspective in terms of the Muslim community’s overall role in terror.

Islamaphobia is a huge issue in the Western world. It’s important for us to be clear about what exactly Islam and the Qur’an teaches.

Peace be upon you and your family.

Ziya Smallens

Writer, musician, 19, NY native, repping Oberlin

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