I Stand With Brussels But I Also Stand With Muslims

I will stand with Brussels. But I will also stand with Muslims all around the world, who are too afraid to tell others who they are because people are waiting to axe them down now. I will stand with them both, because they are both HUMAN. And they are both suffering.
Tuesday morning, the world woke up, shaken, and more paranoid than ever. Three ISIS suicide bombers defused bombs in Brussels airport and its Maelbeek metro, killing at least 31 people and injuring more than 300 people. As I type out these words, police are finding or identifying new dead bodies, and delivering horrible news to loved ones. 
This is a hard time for the international and Belgian community, and the responses that have come up represent the reasons why I am choosing to stand with Brussels and Muslims at the same time. For many Belgians, this is a time of mourning and immense solidarity. Hashtags such as #PorteOuverte and #IkWilHelpen are helping displaced Belgians find homes.

However, for many others, this is a time of immense religious slander. Think Donald Trump and the trending Twitter hashtag #StopIslam
In an interview with CNN, Trump used ISIS’s Islamic radicalism in the Brussels attack to justify his point about banning all Muslims temporarily from the US. He said, “We have no choice. We will allow certain head-of-states through. But the rest of them, no.” Worse, old Twitter hashtag #StopIslam became popular once more as Twitter users fought with each other over whether Islam was ruining the world.

At a time when the world, especially Belgium, has already shattered into broken glasses of paranoia and sadness, do we really need so much division?
Dozens of Muslims have died in Istanbul, Ankara, Syria and Egypt, thanks to ISIS. The same applies to the Paris attacks and now, Brussels. ISIS is killing as many Muslims as Europeans/Americans so technically, there shouldn’t even be a discussion over how to stop Islam. The discussion should be on how to be HUMAN, and how to stop ISIS together.
We have become so divided over how to handle ISIS that we are no longer able to separate Muslims from radical Islam. We are no longer able to celebrate the fact that thousands of Belgians have opened their homes and their hearts to strangers with powerful hashtags in multiple languages. We are no longer able to truly sympathize with one other, save posts of Belgium’s flag on Facebook. In contrast, we walk in fear, stare beadily at one another and ask ourselves, “Are we dangerous? Can we trust each other?” 

Yes, you can trust each other but most importantly, you must trust each other in order to defeat terrorism once and for all. Every second you choose religious hate over solidarity, you change your support from the Belgians, the Turkish, the Egyptians and the Syrians to ISIS. You make the Belgians generosity seem wasted. Worse, you make freedom seem unnecessary. 
I am standing with Brussels today because it represents freedom, solidarity and humaneness. I am also standing with Muslims because they are normal human beings like Belgians who deserve the same paths of freedom, solidarity and humaneness.
Radical Islam is very different to Islam. In this time of love and war, choose love like the Belgians. Because without it, there is nothing in this world worth living for. Stop with the hate. 



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