On April 15th the 2013 Boston Marathon was attacked leaving some dead and many severely injured. When I learned of the Boston bombings I was in shock. My family has adopted running as our hobby of choice and I myself have ran three half-marathons. The finish line is the place I think about the entire race. I cannot imagine the shock of those running and their supporters when the day turned from excitement to devastation and my heart goes out to those injured and their families. Brothers Tamerlan Tsarnaev and Dzhokhar Tsarnaev have been made prime suspects of this crime. While happy that these two are no longer a threat to the country, I think it is important that people quit trying to connect this crime and the fact that the brothers are Muslims.
After spending this semester at CAIR Oklahoma as an intern, it is obvious to me that these brothers are not devout Muslims. As Charles King from the Daily Beast puts it, they are “people who look to mask their disaffections through a language and philosophy that helps them make sense of their own predicaments.” I interpret this as, they were unhappy with the world and felt labeling their thoughts and actions Islamic was enough of an excuse to carry out their extremist actions. Their actions are not condoned by the teachings of Islam and American-Muslims are just as horrified and saddened by this event as any other American.
When did we start pointing our fingers at religion or ethnicity every time horrific acts such as the Boston bombing occur? Adam Lanza, Newtown shooting gunman, attended a Catholic school, but never is he called a Catholic terrorist just like Eric Harris and Dylan Klebold, Columbine gunmen, were never called atheist terrorist. Therefore, I find it offensive when those who are somehow related to Islam and commit horrible acts of violence are called Muslim terrorist. The phrase “Muslim terrorist” in itself is an oxymoron to me as the terms completely contradict each other.
“None of you truly believes [in Allah] until he loves for his brother what he loves for himself.” These two young men do not reflect Islam as a whole. The Huffington Post even reports that the oldest brother even fought with the imam leading service at the mosque the brothers rarely attended because the imam praised Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.
America’s hearts are with Boston; that includes the hearts of the Muslim community. I ask that people stop associating the religion of Islam with acts of terror. This type of behavior hurts American Muslims who love this country as much as the rest of us.
Rayna Jeter is an intern at the Council on American-Islamic Relations (CAIR) Oklahoma. She is a 19 year old sophomore studying Public Affairs and Administration and Nonprofit Organizational Studies at the University of Oklahoma. She is a President’s Leadership Class alumni and Co-Chair of Green Week, a week long environmental advocacy campaign, on campus.