Islamic Group Doesn’t Like 9-11 Coloring Book
(Springfield, IL) — A new coloring book that’s supposed to highlight the events of 9-11 has sparked outrage within the Muslim community.
According to Amina Sharif, at the Chicago chapter of the Council on American-Islamic Relations, the book promotes racism and fails to differentiate between terrorists and regular Muslims.
She says she was very offended by the sometimes subtle and sometimes overt anti-Muslim imagery displayed in the book, “it’s dangerous to put it in the hands of children,” she says, “this book gives them the false impression that Muslims are terrorists or paranoid conspiracy theorists.”
Faizan Sayed with the St. Louis Council on American-Islamic Relations, mimics Sharif’s sentiment, calling the book extremely offensive. The 36-page coloring book is called “We Shall Never Forget 9-11: The Kids’ Book of Freedom” and it’s filled with drawings that document the 9-11 attacks — from Osama bin Laden plotting the attacks to the U.S. Navy SEALs killing him earlier this year.
Sharif says children don’t understand that terrorist events are politically, not racially, motivated. She also says the book gives the impression that there is a divide between the Christian and Muslim religions, which isn’t healthy for the tolerant American society that they’re trying to foster.
St. Louis-based publisher “Really Big Coloring Books Incorporated” is standing behind the book, despite receiving threats since they started promoting it. They say the book is a truthful depiction of, quote, “what happens to a terrorist who orders others to bomb our peace-loving, wonderful nation.”
Advocacy Group Says Muslims Get Unfair Rap
(Springfield, IL) — Americans are gearing up to remember the attacks of 9-11 but one Chicago based Muslim group says people should be careful not to give all Muslims a bad rap for the attacks.
Amina Sharif, with the Chicago chapter of American-Islamic Relations, says it’s only natural for people to get the wrong idea of Muslims when they’re only associated with terrorism. She says it’s not a fair assessment to associate terrorism with religion, “when the terrorist attacks in Norway were committed recently, people felt very uncomfortable calling that terrorist a Christian extremist, even though he called himself a modern day Crusader. But, we knew that his actions had nothing to do with Christianity.”
Sharif says a lack of education and understanding of Muslims perpetuates a negative stereotype that they’ve had to fight since the 9-11 attacks. She says there needs to be a cultural shift in thinking towards Muslims – meaning, people can no longer talk about Muslims in a negative context.
Muslims have plenty of positive things to offer. For example, the Chicago chapter of CAIR participates in countless community service events, including blood drives, cultural exchanges, volunteer work, and youth programs. She says the best way to overcome cultural fears is to interact with Muslims one on one. She recognizes that won’t necessarily be an easy task or even one that will happen overnight. But, Sharif says it can start with a change in the language in schools, the media and pop-culture. When it all boils down to it, Sharif says we’re all more alike than we are different.
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