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Muslims at St.Benedict’s Reject Stereotypes

Senior+Muhammad+Mumbasit
Senior Muhammad Mumbasit

Senior Muhammad Mumbasit

Senior Muhammad Mumbasit

Thomas Schwartz, Sports Editor

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The news coming from the Middle East about radical Muslims persecuting people of opposite faiths,opposite politics, and even women has led some to think of Islam as a violent religion. However Muslim students here, disturbed by these stereotypes, want to set the record straight.

Senior Muhammad Mubasit, a practicing Pakistani Muslim, said that he has been taught that Islam is a religion of peace.  Referring to the Qur’an, he said, “Where does it say that God gives us the right to kill people?”

UDI Alhassane Keita, a student from France, but was born in the predominantly Islamic country of Mali, has also read the Qur’an and is confused over the radical actions of some Muslims. He believes that the act of killing doesn’t come from the Muslim faith, but that radicals use the faith to their own advantage.

“In the Qur’an I’ve read that [to be a faithful Muslim] you have to fast, do good deeds, pray, and give alms to the poor,” said Alhassane. “The Muslim faith is not about killing.”

St. Benedict’s tolerance towards all faiths is a new experience for Alhassane.

“In France while I attended a Christian school, I used to eat alone at lunch because of my faith,” said Alhassane.

Not only are these Muslim teenagers frustrated with radicals and the media, but so are their families. UDI Faseeh Bhatti, another Pakistani Muslim, has experienced his parents’ frustration when the media has allowed radicals to speak on behalf of all Muslims. He sees everyday how people make common accusations about a group of people based on the actions of a few.

“My parents are pissed. My father used to yell at the television screen whenever they brought up Osama Bin Laden because he was mad at how he was defacing the religion,” Faseeh said.

The persecution radicals are inflicting is affecting the peace-loving Muslims who abide by their faith, making life complicated for them. Muhammed has resorted to not going out that much because of the fear of being harassed because his name gives off his religious identity, he has decided to isolate himself from people. These Muslim teenagers in the school are bothered that they are labelled without being consulted.

“I’m not related to what terrorists do,”Muhammed said.

The students here said St. Benedict’s has helped them spiritually grow. The school’s tolerance and openness to their faith has helped them respect Catholicism as much as they do their own religion of Islam.

“I feel safe and secure here. Fr. Ed understands my beliefs and lets me practice,” Alhassane said.

These students believe that these “so-called Muslims” in the Middle East don’t deserve to be negotiated with. They also believe America is finally showing the correct mindset by facing these radicals with force and strength.

“Terrorists aren’t Muslim, they are politically motivated and despise Western civilization,” Faseeh said.

UD1 Faseeh Bhatti

UD1 Faseeh Bhatti

These young Muslims have spoken their minds. They believe the current oppression in the Middle East has not been resolved, but defining the persecutors from that region true Muslims is a fallacy.

Alhassane said, “They are not real Muslims, they pretend they’re Muslims, it’s sad how Muslims are killing each other and other members of other religions.”

Keita, Alhassane

Alhassane keita

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The student news site of St. Benedict's Prep in Newark, New Jersey.
Muslims at St.Benedict’s Reject Stereotypes