Religion Doesn’t Make People, People Make Religion


Let’s stop generalizing an entire religion. Let’s start separating religion from its followers.

On Saturday, ISIS claimed responsibility for the terror attacks in Paris the previous day that took the lives of 129 people and struck a chord in the hearts of people from around the world. That same day, Islamophobic comments surfaced on the internet blaming Muslims and the whole religion of Islam for the terrorist attacks committed by ISIS.

Attacks against Muslims have increased after the massacres in Paris. In Pflugerville, Texas, about 180 miles from Dallas, a local mosque found a torn Qur’an covered in feces located in front.

In an interview with the Huffington Post Editor-In-Chief the day before the Paris attacks, Queen Rania of Jordan criticized how the Islamic State of Iraq and Greater Syria is affiliated with Islam. Even though ISIS brands the religion in their name, it doesn’t necessarily mean that they reflect the opinions and motives of other Muslims and the beliefs associated with Islam.

“I would love to drop the first ‘I’ in ISIS because there’s nothing Islamic about them,” Queen Rania said. “What the extremists want is to divide our world along fault lines of religion and culture, and so a lot of people in the West may have stereotypes against Arabs and Muslims.”

Similar stereotypes occur within other religions and groups of people. Even though Nazis were mainly present in Germany, not all Germans agreed with the actions of Hitler or the Nazis. While there are extremely and overtly homophobic Christians, many Christians accept homosexuals and do not discriminate against others.

Recently, a year-old clip of an interview with Reza Aslan, an Iranian-American with a Bachelor of Arts in Religious Studies and a Ph.D. in the Sociology of Religions, on CNN has gone viral. In this interview, Aslan comments on how it’s wrong and absurd to generalize an entire religion based on a few examples.

There is no religion that is either right or wrong. There is no religion that is only good or only evil. A religion cannot kill 129 people. Only people can do that.

Islam is one of the largest religions in the world with over one billion followers. Is it even reasonable or rational to think that every single one of those Muslims supports the beliefs of ISIS?

In wake of the horrific attacks in Paris, we should be looking to our fellow human for support and love, not hate and blame. Instead of attacking others’ religious beliefs, let’s respect one another and focus on the real threat of ISIS.

Love, not hate.

Commentaries are the expressed opinion of the author and do not necessarily reflect that of The Fourcast staff, its adviser or any member of the Hockaday community.

– Maria Harrison – Asst. Perspectives Editor