- - Sunday, April 19, 2015

ANALYSIS/OPINION:

April 15 marked the second anniversary of the deadly Boston Marathon bombings in Massachusetts. Two desperate men with a horrific plan killed three people and injured more than 260. I can personally remember sitting rigid in my high school classroom watching as the live newscast explained the events earlier that day. I waited with bated breath while the search for the perpetrators began and breathed a sigh of relief when those responsible for the carnage were apprehended. However, the dread I felt in the immediate aftermath was different from that of my classmates. A combination of dread and resignation that has never felt routine surrounded me and I, along with the rest of America, heard the religious background of the culprits: Muslim. Again.

As a Muslim I find events of such malicious intent and ignorance to be heartbreaking. Especially considering that those who lay down their lives as collateral damage should never have been in the line of fire to begin with. The lives of innocents should never be used for sending a message, nor should civilians be targeted as a means to an end.

I also find it infuriating that the words I grew up with are being manipulated in order to spread hateful and vicious violence. I have no defense of the men who committed this cowardly crime. They do not deserve one. But I beseech the constituents of a nation that allows the freedom of speech and religion denied to so many of the world: Do not allow yourselves to turn to the same hurtful message that the murderers left. That message is that facilitating hatred and violence to groups of people you have never seen, touched or loved is justified. It is not. This recent anniversary of those who laid down their lives allows us all an opportunity to remember that.

NATASHA MIRZA

Aldie, Va.

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