Welcome to school, hope you’re taking notes.
As our country faces many modern-day social and diplomatic issues, we’re often reminded just how short of a memory people have (or at least choose to have). The United States (and the world) has endured some dark times that people would often rather forget than acknowledge and learn from.
We’re in the second year of a Trump presidency, and one of the issues prominent in his first days as president — the travel ban for those from predominately Muslim countries — may not be getting the headlines it once was, but it’s clear from the Twitter feed of activist Qasim Rashid that defending the rights of Muslims is still very much a full-time job.
In fact, Rashid is using his voice to support and educate about all human rights. Not only does he educate others about Islam, but as his website reads, he’s an advocate for women’s rights and the Black Lives Matter movement.
Rashid also serves as the spokesperson for the Ahmadiyya Muslim Community USA, a group that works to spread peace and understanding among Muslims, rejecting the notion of terrorism or extremism in all its forms.
And, as Rashid noted on Twitter, activists in America just might be seeing a shift in this battle for equality and acceptance.
In the first months of Trump’s presidency in 2017, when many were emboldened by a president they thought would further their supremacist and nationalist causes, Rashid emerged as a prominent voice of reason among Muslim advocates, using measured responses to explain that being a Christian doesn’t insulate one from terrorism or bigotry. He was quick to remind one outspoken Twitter user of that fact — gaining Rashid viral notoriety and well-deserved attention in the process.
When one person responded to Rashid, claiming there’s never been a “Christian version” of ISIS, the Harvard-educated lawyer was quick to give him a thorough recap showing the history of Christianity’s “influence” on the world.
Here’s his response in full. As you can see, he’s not hurting for examples from both the distant past and recent history.
As thorough as his responses were, the most enlightening aspect of the exchange may have been Rashid’s response to another tweet asking him how he patiently responds to such antagonistic questions.
He went on to respond to many more questions about his beliefs, most of which were civil and respectful. Rashid also discussed his response further, saying that he didn’t feel any one religion bred extremism, but rather it’s human nature to contort the tenets of any religion into dangerous beliefs.
It would seem that religion just happens to be the most popular excuse in history to commit many of the atrocities we’ve witnessed all over the world, and the more we’re all educated about that reality, the easier it will be to grow and learn and change.