12/01/2015 05:09 GMT | Updated 11/03/2015 05:59 GMT

Challenging Ignorance: Muslims Are Not Killers

I can't honestly believe that I'm writing this, but I want there to be absolutely no excuse for the ignorant statements I've heard over the past few weeks. I would not normally use my white atheist voice to discuss something that is not my own experience, but I don't feel I can stand by and watch in silence. As a result of extremists, and the ignorance of people to note the difference between Muslim people and extremists; people who appear to be Muslim are being attacked verbally and physically on a daily basis. This is not right and there is absolutely no excuse for it; just like there was no excuse for the killings of the cartoonists in Paris. Here are the statements I've heard:

'Just nuke the lot of them, they're evil (meaning anyone Muslim).'

'Black kids are more violent though, I see it every day.'

'They're racist against whites, we get done. If they didn't come into this country I'd be a lot better off.'

Just let that sink in for a moment.

1) Just nuke the lot of them, they're evil (meaning anyone Muslim).

This statement was made after the attack on a school in Pakistan. When asked what they meant by 'the lot of them', the person replied 'Muslims'. Dangerous, very dangerous. A Muslim is a person who follows the religion of Islam, they are not Islam itself. In being Muslim, there is a submission to the will of God; although God knows all, that does not mean there is no free will in Islam. Muslims believe Allah has written down all things in the Preserved Tablet - all that happens or will happen is in there; it's there now because God exists outside time. So, Allah knows what choices men and women will make, but does not stop them from making them. None of this means that killing is encouraged. None of this means that the individual will of the people who have killed in the name of Islam was right. There is no massive conspiracy on the part of all Muslims to kill and harm us. The terror attacks that have happened are appalling and I will never agree with them or reason with them. It is not Muslim people with that blood on their hands; but extremists doing this in the name of Islam. Another point I would like to make about the quote above, is, who on earth does that person think they are to hint or express that they think they have a right to say who lives or dies? This is exactly what we should be against; the idea that anybody has the right to decide who lives and who dies, hence the outrage about the recent terror attacks. Those people did not deserve to die, and as a result, our solution should not be more death.

2) Black kids are more violent though, I see it every day.

This is absolutely not true; no gene or scary cultural norm means that all people non-white are more violent. People do not have a default of violence and killing; unless they have experienced serious distress and maltreatment in their own lives. The worrying thing about this quote, was that I heard it in a school, and it was said by a teacher. What kind of hope can we have for non-white children if this is the sort of prejudice they are faced with in childhood? If we, as white people, are to believe that all non-white people are born with extremely violent tendencies, I despair, I really do. The fact that the rates of arrest and incarceration of non-white people is far higher than that of white people is actually not to do with some 'evil violence' inbuilt at birth; it is a result of years and years of prejudice and oppression. Take somebody I know, for instance, he has said himself that he appears as a 'hood rat', and has a criminal past. The crimes he has committed were not serious, and he has served the time for them. When I asked him what caused him to do it, he said 'I was done with people just assuming I was something that I wasn't; so I became what they expected of me. I couldn't get a job, I was being sanctioned from the job centre, so I did what I did to get money. If you are searched every time you go on the Underground, and one of your teachers in school told you that at some point you'd end up in court, you start to clock onto the fact that people aren't giving you a fair chance.'

A lot has been said recently about teachers addressing their own racial prejudices; and I would like to back that notion wholeheartedly; from teachers telling me that 'non-indigenous pupils are far from priority, and rightly so', to a child saying to me 'none of them like me because I'm Muslim', something needs to change.

3) They're racist against whites, we get done. If they didn't come into this country I'd be a lot better off.

People have not come to this country because they would like to live with inherent bias, because they would like to leave their heritage, or because their life beforehand was without problems. There are reasons wide and varied as to why people have left their country to come to this one, and the argument that our own culture is disappearing becomes somewhat ridiculous, when we stop to think about the fact that people are escaping countries in which their own culture has been destroyed, and sometimes (or often, even), by us. To say that 'we get done', is a reasonable thing to say; this country is not having a good time of it, and people are really suffering. This is not the fault of Muslims, or any other immigrant, the only people that we may reasonably point the finger at are our government. Immigrants with no wealth, and having been displaced for various reasons are in no position to suddenly start a hate campaign against white people, and to ensure they 'get done'. The media are currently reporting large amounts of young people being 'groomed' by ISIS, and there are examples of people who have converted; some have even died as a result. Please take a moment to think about these questions:

Why is our youth so disaffected that they are vulnerable to this?

Would a happy and valued young person with prosperity to look forward to, leave their life and family?

How much do you actually know about Islam?

My argument is by no means that terrorists acting in the name of Islam are right; I believe what has happened is disgusting and wrong and unforgivable. What I also believe, though, is that to tar anybody who appears Muslim with the brush of being a killer is just as unforgivable. If I can translate it to a very basic level of what I believe many people are thinking to be:

'Muslims are bad, Muslims kill people.'

I would say, no Muslims are not bad, Muslims are not killing people; extremists are.