Written after being in Istanbul, capital of Turkey.
Muslims = Fanatics. Yeah?
If you type Muslim into Google images, the two pictures below are some of the first images you will find.
Now, try typing the word Buddhism into Google images. These are what you will come across.
To be quite honest with you the photos above of Buddhism are the types of images I imagined too.
But is it complete reality?
The majority of us including myself don’t even know or hear about the huge massacres of Muslims. For example in Burma, a country that is mainly Buddhists has areas so secret they ban foreign journalists from entering and the access to humanitarian aid is severely restricted. Muslims are trying to flee, they are not protected, yet Muslims are never thought of as victims. Naturally we are made to assume they are the aggressors. Whereas Buddhists are peaceful and calm with a yoga type sensation surrounding purely the word.
Which brings me to what happened when I went to Istanbul.
I arrived in the evening after catching a plane from Bilbao. It was June 2015. Ramadan had already begun, people had been fasting throughout the day. I already have a positive attitude towards Islam as like hopefully the majority, but even I was shocked.
I was walking past the Blue Mosque and the Ayasofya, the area was bustling with people. It was 11pm, and the weirdest sensation came over me. I felt like I was in England. It felt as if it was a summers evening in the local park and everyone had gathered with their families and friends to have barbecues. I couldn’t believe it. Everyone was just so happy and relaxed. Groups of friends playing music, everyone with heaps of food, some wearing head scarves some not, the only difference being the absence of alcohol. It was just unbelievable.
But that’s the thing why was it unbelievable. Why was I so shocked?
I hadn’t even realised until this moment that even me, Sophia, a person that has friends, family who are Muslim. I subconsciously had a negative link towards Muslims. I shouldn’t have been so shocked in what I saw, yet I was. Why was Muslim people having a barbecue, laughing, joking such a shock? It’s an embarrassment to myself that I was so astonished.
This reiterates to me that no matter what you read, the things people may tell you, the photos you see. Don’t generalise a whole community good or bad because of a story you have heard. People are people. Religion is irrelevant. We are individuals. Make your own opinion. Do not allow small minds that have never explored to be the basis of your thoughts and actions.
Muslims = Fanatics….NO!