By Mariam Taha
The Medford community is quite aware of the tragic events that occurred at the Boston Marathon last week. The search for Tamerlan Tsarnaev and Dzhokhar Tsarnaev kept everyone’s eyes glued to the television for days. The craziest thing about this event for me is that it happened only 15 minutes away from my home. I cannot even wrap my head around the fact that my city was the center of the world for a week. Friends of my parents who had not communicated with them for years called us to see if we were affected. Family that I talk to on birthdays and holidays called to check on us when they saw Boston on their news. When I got the text that there had been explosions in Boston, I had no idea how serious and important of an issue this would turn into.
Even though this was the #1 topic of the television, radio, and social media for a week and counting, many people do not know or take enough time to learn the full story. Before knowing anything about the suspects of the bombing, just hearing the words “terrorist attack” from the news led people to assume the suspects were Muslim. Ever since 9/11, the perception of the word “terrorist” has changed in the United States. Due to ignorance, people seem to often connect the word “terrorism” with Islam. A terrorist is just someone who advocates the use of violence and threats, usually for political purposes. When the news announced that the suspects were indeed Muslim, it seemed to spark a hatred of Islam, that also happened after 9/11. People need to realize that because of the suspects’ actions, they were clearly not following the practices of Islam. They are not true Muslims.
An innocent Muslim woman walking through Malden was attacked by a stranger because she was wearing a hijab. The man knew she was Muslim and punched her in the face while saying Islamic slurs. She called 911 but the man got away. The mayor of Malden personally called this woman to tell her that this was not okay, and they will be sure to find this man. From the perspective of a Muslim, I want to live freely and with peace, which America stands for. I do not have all the answers for ways to educate people on this controversial topic, but I just promote the belief that people should not say false statements and untrue delcarations. It does not take long to educate yourself and it will make you seem more intelligent. This could save you from possibly offending someone in the future. People, especially this generation, need to have an open and accepting mind to make this a peaceful, safe environment for our future.