Islam is the world’s second largest religion. Do you know what a Muslim is? Do you know what the Quran is? Do you know anyone that is a Muslim? How much could you tell me about Islam? I am asking these questions because Islam is the WORLD’S LARGEST religion. Who is Michael Jordan? What was Beyoncé’s last album? How many people do you know have a super nice car?
You most likely could answer the second group of questions a lot easier than the first group and I want to challenge that. Why is that? Being an American and living in the United States, I know the side effects of being American and I see them everyday. We seem to associate muslim and Islam with ISIS or terrorism. This is no secret. We have been classifying these for quite some time now.
I want to ask you all another question; who is Malala Yousafzai? What did she do? Malala Yousafzai is a young woman who was shot in the head for up for women’s education in Pakistan. Malala was only 15 years old at the time. She had written in her blog about the important for women in Pakistan to have the right to be educated and to go to school. In 2012, on her way back in a school bus, the Taliban stopped the bus and then shot her in the head. She survived and is now a leading activist for women’s rights in Pakistan.
I remember first hearing about this young girl in the news when it first happened. I remember how mad I was at the muslims and Islamic community. I thought to myself, ‘Oh boy, here we go again. Those damn muslims are shooting more innocent children. This is horrible.’ As life went on I became more educated on Islam and with the rights the people have in Pakistan and the Middle East, I became increasingly guilty of my past feelings regarding the Middle East.
I want to dive more into Malala and the reactions I had, along with other teens, and also the reactions of my family and my friends. This is important to realize and to understand because what is happening in the Middle East is so brutal and corrupt, it is hard for us here in America to see that. Once we do we become entirely thankful for what we have and we focus on more what needs to be fixed and what needs to be worked on. There is a Youtube video I want to base my analysis on. There are a lot of videos these users have called, “Teens React…” or “Kids React…” and they are videos of the kids or teens reacting to a certain situation, and in this case, the teens react to Malala Yousafzai and her efforts.
After watching the video myself I was extremely surprised. The reactions of the teens stunned me. It gave me hope though and something that was also really cool was the teens they had reacting to it. They had two muslims and one of them was from the same area Malala is from! It gives me hope that today’s kids are becoming more and more enlightened. The media gives Islam such a bad rep in America and I hate that. They should show more things like the kid react videos show. These muslims in the Middle East are good people like you and I and it is the extremist that are setting the example. The world needs to change.
Something that I find extremely amazing is how Malala recognizes that the Taliban give Islam a horrible name around the world. She explains how Islam is not about killing people and ending people’s voices. She stands up and is trying to almost reform the religion in a social way. I think that is something that happens constantly. Years ago people were fighting for different rights that we have today that years ago were no way in hell going to be given up. A great show of this is racism and racial rights. Years ago in the 1940’s people would never imagine that we would have a black president. The world constantly changes just as people change. We must change as the world changes and we must ratify our religions with keeping the soul belief. God exists. Suffering exists. When we really breakdown religion we see that most people believe the most core beliefs and it is horrible how we classify people on how they look and act and not by the core. We look on the outside before we look at the inside. I am guilty of this myself! Another part of the video, closer to the end, they explain how people have this attitude that their religion is number one. They look at religion as though it is the number one. This video gives me hope that teens and kids are coming into our world with a more open heart and an open mind.
I want to encourage everyone to challenge themselves. Challenge something you really believe in and try and look at it through a different view. Look at it through a different lens and a different point of perspective. I feel as though this will help you grow in your own beliefs; it will help you learn something new about yourself and learn something new in general. We as people need to approach things with an open heart and an open mind. When doing this, though, we must keep in mind our natural moral sense. What I mean is that don’t try and look at murdering as a good thing. Murder is intrinsically wrong. We must always keep the things that are intrinsically wrong morally.
One more add-on. At the very end of the video, the young Pakistani teen talks about his experiences and his family. This makes me believe that we (as people) forget that America is a true melting pot. People from all over the world come to America and we mix with each. We become one and also many. Whenever I am at school and in the locker room or just walking to class and I see people from different background interacting and socializing, I get a huge smile on my face. I feel so proud to go to a school where people are open and accepting. We are a melting pot and it is amazing to see and to feel. I also want to just say that this is a personal experience that I have had multiple times at UNO. Other people’s experiences may differ, but from my experience, it seems as though UNO is very accepting of other people’s cultures and backgrounds and I am extremely happy about that.
I hope everyone took the time to watch the video. It is extremely insightful and you will leave reconsidering yourself and looking more into being accepting of others. Also, don’t be afraid to look at the other reaction videos and you see how our generation and the next generation are developing. ONE LAST THING I MUST TOUCH ON. I am a sophomore in college and I am young. I encourage constructive criticism because all I want to do is learn more. Leave a comment and teach me about your experience and where I may be wrong or have strayed from the truth. I don’t consider myself right 100% of the time. Thank you so much!