by Maaryah Malik
I raise my voice for ignorance. I raise my voice for people that believe misconceptions because they have no desire to hear the truth. I raise my voice for people that believe it is okay to speak about how horrid and disgusting something is as a whole without looking at the whole picture. I raise my voice for those that believe making jokes about serious and offensive issues is okay. I raise my voice against Islamophobia. I raise my voice when people are too ignorant to realize that a scarf on my head does not mean I’m related to Osama Bin Laden. I raise my voice when people try to tell me that Islam is a religion of violence and massacre, when they fail to educate themselves on the fact that the word Islam itself means “peace.” I raise my voice for public figures that tell the world that it’s okay to assume and poke fun of Muslims by calling them terrorists, because that’s just popular culture. I raise my voice for people that fail to respect entire groups of people because of the small percentages of those who practice wrongly. I raise my voice for the kids that are too embarrassed to share their religion at school for fear of being ridiculed. I raise my voice for the kids named Mohammad who go by “Moe” at school because “they don’t want to deal with all of that shit.” I raise my voice when misconceptions become the norm, and no one knows the truth anymore. I raise my voice when people ask me if it’s hard being a Muslim woman because of all the “oppression.” I raise my voice when someone tries to teach me that the meaning of jihad is holy war. I raise my voice when a middle eastern man with a beard is considered a potentially fatal threat, my FATHER, the most kind-hearted person I know, who is afraid of dogs, is supposedly more threatening than an “insane” white school shooter, or the rapists that go free because they cried in court. Killing small children is never considered an act of terror, simply one of insanity. I raise my voice to explain the time after 9/11 that a man tried to run my innocent mother off of the road. She was 9 months pregnant. But she was wearing a hijab. For months she wore a hat on the drive and switched into her hijab at work because that, that was safer. I raise my voice because 3 young adult Muslims were killed in an act of terror. But the media scrambled and scrambled to find another excuse and decided that it was because of a parking dispute. I raise my voice because Muslims are being killed for the religion they practice by acts of TERROR that are brushed off as mental illnesses or excused for some other nonsensical reason. Yet we, the entirety of the followers of the religion, are defined by the insane few in our group that commit heinous deeds. I raise my voice because I’ve never seen anyone say that the KKK is the main representation of Christianity. I raise my voice because there are bad people from every division of every identifying factor in the entire world. I raise my voice because Muslims are not terrorists. I raise my voice because I am not a terrorist.