As a Muslim, I refuse to call myself a victim after the San Bernardino shootings (COMMENTARY)

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Ruth Nasrullah is a freelance journalist based in Houston. Photo courtesy of Ruth Nasrullah

Ruth Nasrullah is a freelance journalist based in Houston. Photo courtesy of Ruth Nasrullah

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(RNS) After the San Bernardino massacre I, like other Muslims, worried about my safety, given that I’m easily identifiable in my hijab. And that, I have decided, is ridiculous. I was not a victim that day.

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  • Michael Glass

    Ruth, I stand with you in rejecting hatred against Muslims. You are right. No sane person would do such a thing as slaughter unarmed civilians. However, there are texts in both the Bible and the Koran that lend themselves to the promotion of hatred.

    Fortunately, most of us are sensible enough to ignore these texts or explain them away. Nevertheless, words do have a way of being twisted- or taken literally – and being used to justify atrocities.

    An old bishop once warned people not to press the paps of scripture too hard, lest they yield blood and not milk. I ask anyone who believes in the Bible or the Koran to be careful in their choice of texts and in the interpretation they put on them.

  • @Ruth,

    “Rage if you will, hate if you must, but don’t harm anyone”

    Thank you so much. Beautifully stated commentary.
    Of course Americans have absolutely nothing to fear from Muslims – especially
    American Muslims who comprise only 1% of the population yet they are 4% of the professional class in medicine, academia and technology in many cities. We should bring every Syrian refugee to the United States immediately – it is our loss and our embarrassment that they are not here yet.

    I think religions are damaging. We would all be better people without religion.
    At the same time, I fully support your Constitutional right to choose your religion for yourself.

  • Jack

    Ruth, I hope hatred hasn’t risen, but this time, it may have.

    For years, the far left painted a twisted portrait of America. It ignored the fact that America is a tolerant land, with people judged as individuals, based on character.

    While that’s still true, today’s rhetoric is worrisome, especially from ordinary people. Bigotry is the exception, but it may be growing.

    What’s the answer? Two competing routes — the CAIR route and the Constitution route. The CAIR route is to claim Muslim victimhood every time there’s a terrorist attack. Nothing infuriates Americans more. And that plays into bigots’ hands — potentially creating more of them.

    The other route is for Muslim Americans to get in the media and tell their story and say they support America and the Constitution above all. Nothing will do more to shrink the bigots’ power.

    And the media, in turn, must be more open to hosting such Muslims, instead of the wacko fringe.

  • Sara

    I so agree with Jack, that the most powerful antidote to backlash against Muslim Americans is for them to speak up loudly and clearly, to get in the media, and for the media to feature them. Thank you for successfully doing this, Ruth.

    I also appreciate Max’s demographic information…this, too, is a tool when the information is spread through the media.

    Keep up the good work, everyone.

  • Thanks for the comment, Jack.

    Regarding CAIR: I worked as Communications Coordinator for CAIR’s Houston office for a year and a half. I can tell you that there there is no automatic or mandated response by any CAIR chapter or their headquarters. The decision to respond and by what means is made by each chapter individually. Some messages are more effective than others. In addition to its other work, CAIR strives to inform the public about anti-Muslim incidents and sentiment and if that comes off as “playing the victim” that’s not necessarily because the organization wants sympathy. They want to raise awareness.

    I don’t think CAIR and the constitution are incompatible and if Americans are infuriated by CAIR’s message perhaps their priorities are wrong.

    Nihad Awad, CAIR’s Executive Director, once remarked “I can tell you where our condemnations are – they’re in the inboxes of Fox News reporters.” We can’t force the media to cover us. However, I hope that my…

  • contributions as a writer are helpful.