MYTH: Islam & Terrorism

More thoughts on Islam and Terrorism

By: AIA Intern Sarem M.

(High School Student from Loudoun County Public Schools)

Sympathy without Empathy:  These three words are essentially the sum of how the issue of terrorism affects me as a Muslim-American High School student in Northern VA. I personally feel really terrible about all of those suffering from the likes of Boko Haram and ISIS, and would fully support any effort to protect innocents. If someone were to ask me, I would shout til my voice ran dry.

But the moment I remember my History or Physics or Calc Final tomorrow, I would shut up and get to work. Any thought of terrorism would completely vanish. Essentially, I feel like so many clichéd movie characters, too wrapped up in my own world, deciding what shoes to wear, etc., to save somebody else’s life. On reflection, I think I feel kind of disgusted with myself, but thankful now that I joined AIA 2020 and maybe can make some positive impact…


Honestly, I think I have the most typical high school experience possible…kind of dull actually. I realize that in certain areas Muslim Americans as a minority will have to deal with some form of discrimination due to terrorism, but for me it’s non-existent. I go to an incredibly diverse school, where pretty much every minority group that has been persecuted at one point or another has significant representation. As a result, nobody really bullies or attempts to make fun of anybody.

On the flip side, nobody really asks me questions about terrorism. Just as I wouldn’t ask my Hispanic friend about a gang war breaking out in South America, every group in my school and in my circle of friends here realizes there are some people from their “community” who bring them shame…but they also remember the more important question, “What does that have to do with me?”

But I also understand this attitude is not generally shared, especially in the media.  My friends know these terrorist acts truly have nothing to do with me, but my diverse school and social circles are not typical across America.  They should however be the model that we all hope to reach, where my religion, or your ethnicity, or someone’s sexual identity, should not – and does not – matter.  If we can get there, we can all live together in an Indivisible America.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *