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Look Into My Eyes and Tell me If I'm Oppressed

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We sit on our brown couches in the small living room of the apartment,
The television blaring its bright lights and scratching sounds.
Sound-bytes of yells and cries ring in our ears,
Images of tanks, angry fists, and weeping children flash into our eyes.
We see broken windows, empty homes, and charcoaled floors.
We see the wandering cousins, falling trees, and panicked leaders,
Who hold their hands as if in prayer to ask
“What now?
Where do we go from here?”
For as long as I can remember,
All we ever have seen from the media of my religion,
Islam,
Is darkness, chaos, and utter upheaval.
Why is it that the media has never shown the beauty of my religion,
The true spirit of that which is a Muslim.
Why is it that the media has connected my religion
Islam
Solely to the footage of falling towers, smoking homes, and fallen airplanes?
Where are the images of my ever-green Bosna,
The medieval streets of Sarajevo where grandmothers line in to pray together,
The gentle crescendo of the call to prayer that rings in the streets
Or the tall-standing minarets of Turkey where millions crowd to see the wonders of the Aya Sofya or the Sultan Ahmet?
I long to see the photos of the Muslim youth walking together,
Giving alms during the months of Ramadan,
The images of families eating together their dinner after a day of fast
And reading Qur’anic verses to teach the message of kindness, purity, and faith.
“We have sent you to the entire mankind to give them good tidings,
and warn them;
but most people do not understand this,” The Qur’an writes.
Look at me in the face
And you will see,
I am not the face of the oppressed,
The angry, or the hated.
Set aside the twisted words of others,
And take into heart the beauty and purity of our faith.
Our words
And our deeds.
What we ask is simple,
Judge not us for what others wish you to see,
But judge us for the deeds that we ourselves do for our families, our communities,
And only then will you see,
That our strength is our faith.



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