The protests in the Middle East over the YouTube video slandering Prophet Muhammad (SAW) have once again highlighted the tension between the West and the Arab world.
These protests have led to incredible violence and the loss of American lives, including that of the United States’ ambassador to Libya, Ambassador Chris Stevens.
When bad things like this happen, we get angry and look for someone to blame. In this case, like in a lot of other instances in the past decade, Muslims are the easy culprit.
However, blaming all Muslims for the actions of a few radical Islamists is unfair and very wrong.
You can’t hold all Muslims responsible for the killing of the ambassador any more than you can hold all Christians responsible for the actions of Timothy McVeigh, the Oklahoma City bomber.
It is easy to paint all Muslims as terrorists who hate the freedoms Americans enjoy, and judging from the reports one hears in the media every day, you probably will find a number of people that will agree with that sentiment.
However, as someone who comes from a country that is evenly split between Muslims and Christians, and someone who has lived all his life surrounded by people of either faith, I know for sure this sentiment is totally wrong.
Most of my friends growing up were Muslims, and even though I am a Christian, they never treated me with anything short of love and respect. Neither did their parents. They would always come to my house with their parents to celebrate Christmas, and I would go to their house during Muslim celebrations, especially Eid Al-Adha. Religion was never a barrier.
The Muslims I grew up around are nothing like the Muslims the media portray. Truth is, they share the same dreams and aspiration as everybody else.
They want to be successful and safe from harm. They want to live in big houses and drive big cars. And they all want to visit that magical place called America.
Even though they are very religious people who do not want their religion disrespected, they would never hurt a fly because of it. They abhorred violence.
Now I know most of you didn’t grow up in the kind of society I grew up in, and most probably have never met a Muslim before. However, the next time you want to condemn all Muslims as terrorists, I want you to think of the billions of Muslims like the ones I grew up with who wake up every day with similar dreams and aspirations as you, and who work hard in very tough conditions to make an honest living.
I also want you think of the hundreds of Muslims in Libya who were holding up signs in the midst of the carnage, apologizing for the violence against Americans.
I want you to think of these people because even though they are not the Muslims you normally see on television every day, they exist.
These peace-loving people represent the vast majority of Muslims.
Temitope Akande is an aerospace and mechanical engineering junior. He is chairman of the SGA Senate Public Affairs Committee.