Local Muslim: 'We are really not comfortable with our religion's name being hijacked'
Posted November 22, 2015
Cary, N.C. — Prayers for healing and peace in Paris are continuing around the world and in the Triangle, the Institute of Islamic and Turkish studies planned a special prayer service in Cary with the French Community.
It was standing room only on Sunday afternoon as people from different faiths came together to offer prayers and words of encouragement for victims of the terrorist attacks.
Speakers of Islamic, Christian, and Jewish faiths spoke to the crowd about the sadness they felt about the attacks and the importance of everyone coming together peacefully.
"We can still stand here united, shoulder to shoulder. People of different backgrounds, people of different faith groups, beliefs, races, whatever and give out a strong message to those saying that no matter what they do, they will not be able to destroy our resolve," said Muslim Ekrem Hatip.
Those of Islamic faith talked about what it is like to be identified as Muslim in the aftermath of the attacks. They want their local community, the nation and the world to know the terrorists are a small percentage of people and do not represent the Muslim community as a whole.
“The majority is a peaceful group so we are not really happy, we are not really comfortable with our religion’s name being hijacked and misused by a few punks,” said Hatip.
One Muslim woman who spoke said that she wished she could wear a sign that said “not in my name, not in the name of my religion,” so that people would know that she does not support terrorism in any way. Some of the adult men at the event said they do not worry for themselves but they worry for their children and younger generations as they could easily be targeted, alienated and made fun of.
With the recent terrorist attacks in the name of Islam, local Muslims sometimes find themselves on the defense. Fatima Hedadji said that being a Muslim in the aftermath of the Nov. 13 Paris attacks means answering a lot of questions. She said that she would prefer have people ask the tough questions rather than assume something that isn't true.
"Is this what Islam stands for? These terrorist attacks? And those questions, to me, sometimes they kind of hit me by surprise," said Hedadji. "To me, it's en entire reality that, you know, Muslims do not stand for this."
They said interfaith prayer vigils like Sunday's event are important to show the local community that they're not a group of people to be feared. Rather, many are afraid for their families.
Hatip is thankful that he has not had hurtful things said to him at work but he, and others, are concerned for the women who are easily identified by their head scarves, or children who are teased at school.
"People make fun of their names or people put some nasty adjective before their names. That's why we are trying to instill in them, saying your religion is nothing to be ashamed of and you bear no responsibility in the name of what's being done in the name of your religion," said Hatip.