I am a Muslim of Palestinian ancestry but I was born in Australia and raised among people from all around the world and from different cultures and religions to my own. I have lived all my life in a Western Country and therefore may be seen as ignorant to the way of life others live in less fortunate countries. In saying that I have been privileged enough to have visited the Middle-East twice in my young life to date, I have entered refugee camps and I have witnessed the hardships of a third-world country. I think of myself as a pious young lady, who loves and worships God every day and if my faith has taught me anything it is that justice does not come easily and that peace begins with one’s self. Recently there has been outrage expressed by Muslims all around the world both in Western and Non-Western countries because of a video made defaming the name of Prophet Mohammed (PBUH).
By outrage, I mean violence, and I understand that anger sometimes overcomes morals but in this case it will not lead to any justice or peace. Now I cannot myself say that the video did not offend me and I understand it is both unpleasant and provocative but as I say often to people I know when we talk about conflicts and the topic of ‘who started it?’ “A fight does not end if each side keeps throwing the next punch.” It is irrelevant who began this conflict, whether it was the filmmaker or Muslims, the fact is, there is a conflict and it will not be resolved unless there is communication between the conflicting parties. Just stop and talk; communicate and understand each other’s wants and needs and come to a reasonable decision. I know what you are thinking, “it’s not that simple,” but truly, it is. Before doing something you might regret, do something that isn’t going to affect you in the slightest if it all turns sour, ask a question and if you don’t like the answer, ask another, and if you don’t like that answer, move on with your life.
One of the biggest problems in societies today is that racial and religious groups always see things in an ‘us’ and ‘them’ perspective. To each individual their beliefs matter but irrespective of this belief, ultimately, we are all humans; it is when you make a divide that conflict arises and it is when you use force rather than knowledge that people get hurt. In the words of Bukhari, Muslim, “He who believes in God and the Last Day should honour his guest, should not harm his neighbour, should speak good or keep quiet.” Instead of putting your energy into physically or even emotionally hurting someone, use it to put yourself in the other person’s shoes so to speak, and see where they may be coming from so that you may be able to resolve the issue in a constructive way.
I ask Non-Muslims to ask questions and seek truthful answers. I ask Muslims to embrace their religion and share their faith with others. I ask humanity to bridge a divide, to have a common understanding that everyone is entitled to their own beliefs and whether we agree with others’ beliefs or not is irrelevant to how we deal with them; communication is key and violence is not the answer. Do not fear the unknown, embrace the new knowledge you are about to be enlightened with.
My name is Sahar, I am a Palestinian Muslim born and raised in Australia. My parents were refugees in Lebanon and left because of the war and because they felt they had no identity, no place to truly call home. Unlike them I was and am still extremely lucky; Australia is my home but like most people of Palestinian background I still have an attachment to the land. Growing up with the Arabic news in the background meant that I grew up watching the many conflicts of the Middle East—I saw the bloodshed and I wanted it to stop. So now, my mission is to make a difference, no matter how small and even if I get the message of Peace across to only one person. I want to be a part of the change that needs to be made in our world today.