In these modern times I often find myself enraged by mainstream media coverage of Islam and Isis and the ignorant, racist comments/memes/pictures that drift into my newsfeed. So I decided to do something about it: shine the spotlight on a regular Muslim girl to show that islam does not equal terrorism or anything even close.
Me: Wanna do an interview with me for my blog?
Min: Sure, baby *insert pedo face here*
Me: hahaha that’s how I’m going to start the post – just a direct copy of this convo!
Min: oh my gosh, are you serious? Well, there goes the reputation of millions of Muslims all over the world…
Describe yourself in 5 words: Idealistic, Spiritual, Optimistic, Capricious, Naive
How did we meet? Oh my gosh, don’t kill me but I don’t remember exactly how. But I know it was early high school – Grade 8? – and I thought you were crazy at first. Which was okay. ‘Cause I am too.
What’s your favourite animal? Don’t make me choose! I’m going to say cat, but that’s only because Princess was a cat. But then there are horses, and pandas, and dolphins. And every other type of animal in the world.
Me: Gosh you’re cute.
Min: I know. LOL.
What’s your religion? Hmm…. Let me have a nice, long think about that…. Islam, maybe?
What’s the best thing about being a Muslim? The best thing about Islam, for me, is that it controls my life. That may sound scary for some people, but for me it means that no matter what I do, I know that I am in some way connected with God, that he is watching out for me not just while I’m praying to him but throughout every other moment in my life. Islam means that I don’t have to worry about my future – because He’s got that under control. I can just let go and trust Him, and I know that whatever happens to me – good or bad – is all from Him.
What’s the worst thing/thing you enjoy the least/find the most challenging about Islam? Mainly just other peoples’ reactions to it. Especially the prejudice that some have as a result of the negative image perpetuated by the media. For example, whenever I’m watching a video related to Islam and I check the comments, a lot of it is pure negativity. And all of it is misinformed. It’s very sad and I’d like to say it doesn’t get to me but it does.
Are you a feminist? I believe in gender equality, yes.
Isn’t that at odds with how Islam oppresses you? I could go on and on about how Islam certainly does NOT oppress women, but I know that those who are determined not to hear the truth will not hear it. So, instead, I will let the following verses (taken directly from the translations of the Qur’an) do the talking; “For Muslim men and women,- for believing men and women, for devout men and women, for true men and women, for men and women who are patient and constant, for men and women who humble themselves, for men and women who give in Charity, for men and women who fast (and deny themselves), for men and women who guard their chastity, and for men and women who engage much in God’s praise,- for them has God prepared forgiveness and great reward. (The Noble Quran, 33:35)” Whoever works righteousness, man or woman, and has Faith, verily, to him will We give a new Life, a life that is good and pure and We will bestow on such their reward according to the best of their actions. (16:97) Whoever does an evil deed will not be recompensed except by the like thereof; but whoever does righteousness, whether male or female, while he is a believer – those will enter Paradise, being given provision therein without account. (40:40) The Qur’an does this a lot: while describing the rewards or punishments for those of faith, it specifies both genders, not just one. The question is: why? Why would a religion that supposedly oppresses women have verses in its holy book that specifically includes both genders instead of grouping them together? The above verses could have written ‘people of faith’ or ‘believers’ instead of ‘men and women’, but they don’t. They explicitly include men and women together, and anyone who is open-minded can understand the importance of this detail.
Which misconception about Islam annoys/offends you the most? That we are terrorists? Very cliche answer, but it’s true. And that Islam is a religion that encourages violence and aggression, which is the complete opposite of reality.
Do you hate me/think I’m going to hell since I’m a Christian? Yes, I do hate you. I’m just kidding, you know I’m just kidding, right? Anyways, here comes the lengthy explanation….
Muslims are not required to hate ‘infidels’ (that word comes from mistranslation btw) or Christians. We have to respect them, just as we expect them to respect us. About hell… The Christians of Jesus’ time, and the Jews of the time when Judaism was revealed as the religion, we believe that the good, religious people of those times will go to heaven as long as God wills. I know! I just thought of a metaphor (its a metaphor right?) to explain this! Lets say we have the Jewphone 1.0. It is revealed to the people by their prophet, and those who update their nokias to the Jewphone 1.0 can go to heaven, right? Because that’s the newest, best phone. But then the Christphone 2.0 comes along, and all of a sudden the Jewphone is invalid. So everyone has to buy the Christphone since that is the one with the newest upgrades and the one that is the most up to date. So, all of a sudden, those who decide to continue with the Jewphone and not update to the Christphone lose their right to heaven. And then, later on, there comes the Muslimphone 3.0, and this is now the most recent phone. So those who have the phones before it (the Jewphone and Christphone) must update to the Muslimphone, since it is the newest one. Do you get the gist? All of these phones came from the same supplier (God) but they were sent at different times, and to different prophets. What happened was, the first ‘phone’ (Torah) that was sent was later changed by the people. As soon as they changed the contents of their religion, God sent Isa (Jesus Christ) (peace be upon him) to ‘refresh’ their faith and he brought along the bible. But then, people started to change the bible. Or at least thats what Muslims believe. And when the Bible was changed, God sent Muhammad (pbuh) with the Quran to refresh their faith. So that was a long winded way of saying: the Christians of Jesus’ time will go to heaven (if they were good Christians of course) but, as far as I know, and I hope my knowledge isnt wrong, unfortunately, as Islam is the ‘updated’ religion of this time, those who don’t believe in it may not have the chance to go to heaven. But of course, we can’t decide who goes to heaven or not. And Im not saying all Muslims will go to heaven simply for believing. There are some BAD muslims out there (and Im not such a great muslim myself). So in the end, its up to God to decide who goes to heaven or not.
How much do you love me? Not much, just a lot.
What are your goals in life? My goal in life is to be a beneficial person to myself and those around me.
Wait, what? You mean you’re a real human being?! I think I am. Or I might be an alien. Whatevs.
Are you the one reader I have from Turkey? Probably, yeah.
To finish off this interview, I would like to propose a drastic viewpoint. “Muslims are not terrorists” has been done before, as has “Not all terrorists are Muslim” but how about this: “NO terrorists are Muslims.” I know, it seems inaccurate to say the least, but it’s not. It’s the truth. Islam is a religion that promotes peace and understanding, with a bit of regular prayer and donating to charity thrown in. Their religion does NOT tell them to denounce, hurt or kill people of different faiths. So anyone who commits acts of terrorism in the name of Allah is not a ‘Muslim extremist’! They haven’t taken the faith to the extreme, they’ve butchered and maligned it for their own purposes. They no longer have the right to call themselves Muslims. Just as a ‘christian’ who walks into a church with a gun isn’t an extremist or a christian. They. Are. Just. Terrorists.
EDIT: When I first started interviewing Min (in 2016 for God’s sake), it was in response to some stuff in the media. She and I were – and remain – incredibly good friends and I thought that showing she is a completely regular person might make the world a tiny bit better. I don’t know if you’ve noticed, but since then the world has gone to hell. So this will probably never be read by anyone except the gorgeous girl who answered my questions with patience and sincerity – and to be honest who also wrote most of it – but just in case it is I want to say one more thing: The God I believe in loves her just as much, if not more than me, so Islamophobia can piss right off!