For once, I will not justify. I will not defend. I will actually agree that it is normal for people to view Islam as a bad religion that should cease to exist.
As a Muslim, even though the above notion does not surprise me, it sure breaks my heart. Not only because Islam is a beautiful religion that does not have enough good ambassadors at this stage, but also because in saying so, Americans violate the one thing they stand for the most, freedom.
Growing up in a Muslim family, my main concern was just like any other kid: Get a proper education, have a nice group of friends, have a great career. And I had all that. Praying five times a day was not my top priority. The truth is, the actions of some Muslims, repulsed me. They didn’t seem to me like they were the most ethical people I can come across. In a word, they did not inspire me.
It wasn’t until I had a spiritual inquisitiveness that I had a more objective look at Islam, alongside other religions. The career, the friends, whatever I had was just not enough! There was something unsettled inside of me and I knew it had nothing to do with materialistic gain. Only then I looked at Islam without judgments and only then I fell in love with it.
So when I hear that people dislike Muslims, especially those they have heard about from Anderson cooper, I am not surprised. I dislike those ones too. But I am lucky enough to know the difference between Islam and Muslims. There is no entity that represents Islam in our age… No country, no state, nothing! There are however great Muslims and they are so hard to find, even for Muslims seeking knowledge themselves. This is how it is and that is exactly how it should be.
Islam, as a religion exists for people who seek true knowledge, regardless if they want to embrace it or just be exposed to it. Outside that there is only news and politics!