Who is a Terrorist

   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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