Say the words “Muslim” or “Islam” and subconsciously most Americans will probably think “terrorist.” I think that we have tendency to want to categorize things as “good” and “bad” these days. We only need to watch the news – depending on if we’re watching something from a liberal or a conservative slant, the other side will be portrayed as evil. When we’re at war, there’s a tendency to glorify how wonderful America and how evil our enemy is. It’s an unfortunate truth, but the extremists who planned and executed the 9/11 attacks also created a link between the terms “Muslim” and “terrorist” in American minds.
I recently saw a great news story and read an article about a Muslim organization that is doing great work in a poor neighborhood in Chicago. It’s called the Inner-City Muslim Action Network and focuses on building community regardless of race and religion. One of their first projects was to build a free health clinic. These days, they’re focusing on transforming corner stores so that they carry fresh produce and healthier foods.
So, try to think of “positive change” the next time you hear the word “Muslim.”