A terrorist is a terrorist is a terrorist, regardless of religion.
In the past six months, I have witnessed the Umpqua Community College massacre in Oregon, the Emanuel African Methodist Episcopal Church murders in downtown Charleston, the Colorado Springs abortion clinic attack and the San Bernardino massacre, as well as several incidents involving the slayings of police officers and, to my horror, a multitude of other people.
To me and countless Muslims across the world, every life is precious. What strikes me as strange is that every time a Muslim is involved in a terror event he or she automatically is labeled a terrorist without any consideration for motives other than religion. Every time a Christian or person of another faith is involved, the killer’s religion is not thrust into the spotlight and a different label is applied such as deranged, mentally ill or disturbed.
The terrorist who massacred three at the Colorado Springs abortion clinic with an assault-style rifle had staunch views against abortion and strong religious motivations, according to reports. The mass shooting at a college campus in Oregon and the Charleston murders were all clearly terrorist attacks as well. So why the double standard? Islamophobia is on the rise in the United States and the media isn’t doing us any favors. Let’s get our facts straight: There are extremists in all faiths.
In the U.S., you are two to three times more likely to die from a white supremacist than a radical Muslim. According to the New York Times, since 9/11, 215,000 Americans have been murdered, and in another report only 89 have been killed by people professing to be of the Muslim faith. Today, your odds of dying in a terror event are less than 1 percent. Yet the American public receives a barrage of nightly reports about ISIS and al-Qaida. While these groups are serious threats, and interestingly enough these two groups have killed more Muslims then Christians, you are more likely to die by being shot by a family member or a friend, in a car crash, due to surgery complications or from the effects of eating too much food than from terrorism.
Donald Trump had the audacity to call for halting the flow of Muslim immigrants into the U.S. If we were to accept such a proposal, where would this un-American madness end? Would all American Muslims be asked to register with the U.S. government? Would equal treatment ever be asked of all militia groups (who, according to the FBI and law enforcement, pose a larger threat to America) by requesting them to register in a database?
President Barack Obama pointed out, during his national address on the threat of terrorism, that American Muslims are part of the cornucopia of people who make up this great nation. We have and will continue to report suspicious behavior to appropriate law enforcement agencies, just as any other patriotic and concerned citizen. We will continue to speak out against terrorism and these injustices, and we mourn with the rest of this nation.
We love our country, its freedoms, and its opportunities. And more than anything we want to feel at home and welcomed by our fellow countrymen. When you see these terror events in the news, please remember the majority of American Muslims, all 3 million of us, value what everyone else in this country values: peace and freedom.
Allison Moore is executive director of a local transitional living program for women and children in need, and a member of the Tulsa World Community Advisory Board. Opinion pieces by board members appear in this space each week.