Weeks ago, one of my close friends, Kinza, tweeted the link to the video above. She seemed upset when she posted this, so naturally, being the curious soul that I am, I clicked on it.
The next three minutes of my life were completely and utterly shocking to me as I watched a grown man tell a young journalist that her belief system “isn’t a religion” and listen to a politician become angry and accusatory towards this same girl, telling her she is “scary”. Why? Because she was Muslim and they were opposing a mosque.
Now, I am a journalist and I am also a Christian. I can’t imagine going to cover an event, like the opening of a church, for a college project and being harassed by those who think my religion is wrong. Although I cannot relate to how she must’ve felt, I am enraged by this showcase of discrimination.
After viewing the video, I began texting Kinza about this topic. She is Muslim, so we were discussing this sort of discrimination. Kinza encouraged me to go to the Twitter profile of the woman in the video who was giving the Muslim girl such a hard time, otherwise known as Lou Ann Zelenik (@louannzelenik in case anyone is interested in reading the full posts). Her tweets led me to Facebook posts she had made regarding Muslims. She was very insensitive and made large stereotypes. She came off as extremely ignorant. She insists that Flight 370, the plane that had mysteriously disappeared, vanished due to Islamic terrorists. Where was her evidence to back up that large accusation? She had none. She’s just spewing poorly thought out theories based on her bias and negativity towards one culture. If the disappearance was the act of terrorism (which we don’t even know), it could have just as easily been the works of an Atheist, a Jew, or a Christian.
The comments on her posts were even worse. One man said that all Muslims should either leave the country or be killed. We all look back at the Holocaust and view it as a tragic event that never should’ve happened, yet here is an ignorant adult suggesting we do the same thing, but with Muslims. It boggles my mind how so much hatred can be directed towards one group just because they are different than you.
As I continued to scroll through Lou Ann Zelenik’s page, I was shocked to find her quoting scripture from the Bible. I found this to be extremely hypocritical. I am a Christian as well, and in the Bible, Jesus tells us to love one another and treat others as we would want to be treated. Jesus only speaks of love and compassion for your neighbors no matter what, which she is clearly not demonstrating in any way towards Muslims.
Here’s my point. One group or religion should not be stereotyped based off of the actions of a few. She seems to think that all Muslims are terrible people because there are Islamic terrorists in our world. Well, as a matter of a fact, the Ku Klux Klan is a Christian organization. Would she really want people to stereotype and judge her based off of that one group? I’m certain she wouldn’t. I wouldn’t. It infuriates me to no end when people discriminate because of religious beliefs. Two of my best friends are Muslim, and imagining that it could have been them in the situation this journalist faced makes my blood boil.
So whether you’re Jewish, Muslim, Christian, Buddhist, or whatever you believe, find it somewhere in your heart to love one another and accept that we’re all different, but that’s okay.