Am I A Terrorist?

by Dr. Shahid Athar

They call my people
blood thirsty terrorists
blowing up buildings and planes
with dynamite tied to their chests
killing civilians by the hundreds
-but am I a terrorist?

True, some of my people
of names similar to mine
do act violently in despair
when their human rights are stolen
when their suffering and plights are ignored
in the refugee camps of Sabra and Chatala.
- but am I a terrorist?

They are not living their faith
just acting on emotions and hate
full with the revenge for the oppressor
with little regard for innocent lives
they are just Muslim in name
-but am I a terrorist?

Islam, the religion of peace
teaches Muslims to respect life
"If anyone had killed one man
except in lieu of murder and mischief
it is as if he killed the whole mankind"
Same verse in Torah and Quran too
by the same God
-how could I be a terrorist?

Prophet Mohammad, Peace be upon him
was a mercy to mankind
he cared for the poor, elderly and sick
even if not from his faith
he stood in respect for a funeral procession of a Jew
he let a cat take a nap on his robe
not to disturb her, he cut his robe
He told Muslim armies not to hurt women and kids
sick and old, cut trees or kill animals just for fun
I love him so much
-how could I be a terrorist?

But why do they call us terrorists?
why not call the IRA, Red Army, Tamil Tigers
Militant Hindus or Serbians terrorists.
Why not call the militia
blowing up government buildings
and killing innocent civilians a terrorist
No, the term is reserved for Muslims
- and I am a Muslim.

We are the victims of terrorism
in Palestine, Kashmir, Bosnia and Kosova
by individuals and states
with knives, guns, tanks and rape
-who is a terrorist?

I remember Serb soldiers came to my house
they killed my father and my big brother too
I miss them so much.
They raped my mom and my sister too.
I loved them so much.
Then they burned my house, my books and toys too
- and they call us terrorists.

I got scared, and fled into the woods
joined a caravan going to the border
migrating from oppression to a land of peace and freedom

I have walked two days and climbed a mountain
I am hungry and thirsty, tired and sick
My legs are weak and my feet are bleeding
unable to walk anymore
- do I look like a terrorist?

I am not a terrorist
I am a Muslim
seeking love, peace and justice
My name is Mehmet Poturvic
I am a 6 year old from Kosova
Dear God, please help me and my people.
"You alone I worship, from you alone I seek help"

Shahid Athar
April 18, 1999
Presented at an interfaith conference on 4-18-99 on "Islam and Terrorism" at the Islamic Society of North America, Plainfield, Indiana.

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Shahid Athar, MD
Clinical Associate Professor
Indiana University School of Medicine
8424 Naab Road
Suite 2D
Indianapolis, IN 46260