Paris: An American Muslim Speaks Out – by Deborah Levine

The violence in Paris has dominated the news and must stop. Holiday spirits are minimal as the world adjust to new realities, greater awareness. I received this letter from an American Muslim who has written for the American Diversity Report in the past about interfaith coalition efforts. Hanadi Chehab writes passionately about the inhumane acts and how they do not represent Islam in any way.

“I was struck by the words of one of the Paris-attack survivors. As she was on the ground, under the body of another victim, covered with blood, she thought to herself “just play dead”. How easy it is to say these words and how horrific it is to live through those moments.

How alive she must have been to consciously play dead and how dead were the hearts that, with all consciousness, intended to kill that day as many civilians as possible.

“Allahu Akbar” cried the attackers before reloading their machine guns and sending another set of souls home. “Allahu Akbar,” an expression so dear to a Muslim, vandalized by a group of inhumane beings that have mistaken their own desires for a divine plan.

“Allahu Akbar” indeed, God is greater as justice shall be served and heinous acts like these will never go unpunished. God is greater indeed as these killers got what they deserved. God is greater indeed as the world is uniting against evil. God is greater indeed as Muslims will have to rise from dormancy to speak about their religion. God is greater indeed because the countries that helped create ISIS are suffering from it. God is greater because He is, irrespective of whether we admit it or not.”

Hanadi concluded the letter by pointing out how many Muslims are suffering similarly in countries around the world. She asks the world to include them in its empathy for those who must play dead to survive bombs and gunfire. May we all pray for peace this season and a better fate for Paris and our entire planet in the coming year.


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