We point guns the same way we seem to point fingers
With agitation, misunderstanding, and with an intent to make sufferance linger
We point guns to discriminate
And similarly do our fingers as we seek those to blame
We point guns to destroy faith as we point our fingers to isolate
We point both as a means of provoking hate
It is within this Muslim home in this Muslim city in this Muslim country that I speak these words.
The lives lost in the Orlando shootings are ones of parents, of siblings, of friends, of lovers, of fellow sympathy-seeking, love-yearning, respect-earning human spirits.
They are ones taken not by the word of Islam but by the actions of a mentally disturbed, disgustingly powerful individual.
The use of religion to further these violent crimes is seen in all forms whether it be the ways that Christianity was wrongfully used to enslave Africans on American territory to how ISIS utilizes Islam to take lives.
It is never about the religion and always about the practitioner.
So to the shooter I say this: you, as an individual, are responsible for these beautiful lives and I will not let your filth murk the true words of Islam.
To the families and friends of the victims I say this: They will always be remembered but not in a way that fades--in a way that initiates change to conversation and change to policy that allowed for this crime of hate to be committed.
by Rimel Mwamba
photo by Eliza Moreno