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Opinion

Reacting to hate with more hate is counterproductive

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November 30, 2016

On Monday, Nov. 28, Ohio State University sent out a mass message to all students telling them to “Run. Hide. Fight.” A student at the university, Abdul Razak Ali Artan, plowed his car into a group of students, got out and began stabbing anybody he could. Fortunately, there were no fatalities, but a handful of students will not be sitting in their classes today, lying in a hospital instead.

From what I have been reading online, investigators are still trying to figure out whether this was a “terrorist attack.” It goes without saying that incidents like these make me feel complete fear and sadness for the victims, but I do think it’s important to note that they also make me fear for Muslim communities around the world.

I was reading an article on Fox 9’s Facebook page called “Attack at Ohio State University, 9 injured,” and I regretfully skimmed through the comment section. About 95 percent of the comments were nothing but racist and hateful remarks toward Muslims.

I understand where the fear may come from, but I will never understand or accept the hatred that has engulfed some people. I, like everybody else, feel scared every time I read about a “terrorist attack” happening.

A few years ago, when news of the Boston Marathon bombing flashed across every television station and live footage of injured marathon runners was being shown, I remember feeling sick to my stomach and having an overwhelming sense of sadness for everybody who was affected. Earlier this year, when a man drove his truck into a crowd of people in France and then began shooting, the fear and anxiety that I felt for the people was too much to bear.

I understand, and I’m angry too. Innocent people shouldn’t have to fall victim to hate crimes or terrorist attacks. With that being said, that same principle goes for the Muslim community as well. I can’t count how many times I have read of incidents in the news where Muslims have been verbally and physically attacked solely because they are Muslim. They didn’t do anything, they didn’t say anything, they are just Muslim.

In fact, according to CNN, a series of hate letters were sent within the last week and a half to Muslim mosques in California stating hateful, disgusting and offensive nonsense. In their article “Muslims respond to hate letters: ‘You’re not going to scare us,'” they provide an actual picture of the letter, which is addressed to “the children of Satan.” The letters go on to threaten the community by saying that Trump will do to Muslims what Hitler did to the Jews. Those letters are just a small example of what the Muslim community has endured at the hands of ignorant generalization. It truly upsets me.

I talk about these kinds of situations on a daily basis, because equality is one of the issues I care about and value the most. I like to address them and have dialogues about it. I am fortunate enough to live in a city where diversity can be seen on every street corner, and I sometimes need to remind myself that not everybody has that luxury.

I am not a psychology major, so I am not going to pretend or assume that I know what goes on in people’s minds, but I am just going to take a guess that some people might not have the opportunities to experience members of the Muslim community in a positive light. Maybe the only experience that they have with them is the through tragedies that pop up in the news every so often. That in itself upsets me, because I can confidently say that the majority of Muslims that I have had the privilege of crossing paths with are some of the nicest people that I have personally ever met.

To me, they aren’t “children of Satan” who are here to inflict pain and suffering among people. They are the people I pass by in Target with their families, the ones standing in line behind me to take care of business at the DMV. They are the two second grade Somali girls who I tutored during my freshman year of college. They are my neighbors, my coworkers and they are my friends.

It’s OK to feel sad, confused, hurt and angry; it’s not OK to reciprocate by instilling those same feelings into others.

With all of this in mind, as this week draws to an end and I make my way to my classes, I will be thinking about not only the students at Ohio State University who were directly affected by the event, but for the entire university because of the fear that I know will hang over everybody’s heads for god only knows how long.