Salam (Peace) Jennifer,
Thank you for contacting About Islam with your question. We would never take offense to an honest question such as yours.
That understanding is the misinformed notion of Muslims being violent, inherently. We have a prophetic tradition in Islam that states:
Whosoever of you sees an evil action, let him change it with his hand; and if he is not able to do so, then with his tongue; and if he is not able to do so, then with his heart – and that is the weakest of faith. (Hadith Qudsi, no. 34)
A person who can stand by and watch an evil being perpetuated is considered one of the lowliest of people in Islam. There is no separation between the onlooker and the perpetrator, because one has silently given consent for that action to take place.
Islam is about justice for all, not for a few. A prophetic tradition states that in Islam:
There are three [persons] whose actions are not recorded: a sleeper till he awakes, an idiot till he is restored to reason, and a boy [child] till he [or she] reaches puberty.” (Reported by Abu Da’wud).
This means that everyone else is responsible. Now, this is not to deny that some who call themselves Muslim are violent. There are to be sure violent Muslims. But to say that it has something to do with their faith is an inaccurate assumption.
People are violent. In the world, we see violence committed by people from any and every faith. But whenever a Muslim commits a crime- and goes against Islam- it is usually blamed on the religion of Islam. A person’s faith is never attached to a headline unless they are Muslim.
This is how media bias works. If a crime if committed by a white, Christian, Westerner the headline will read: mentally unstable, lone wolf- usually with out fail.
If a crime is committed by anyone from the Christian faith who is not white, the crime, as portrayed by the media, is unjustly linked to their ethnicity.
But when a Muslim commits a crime, the crime is always linked to Islam. An example of this was the tragic Orlando night club shooter. He was said to have been to the club and had relationships with other men who frequented the club. We know that he had a grudge from those failed relationships.
We also know that people from his faith community contacted the FBI about his unstable behavior (specifically his speaking about violence). But all of that is ignored and the faith he ascribed to is blamed for the heinous actions he took that go completely against that faith.
So, from this people make the false connection between the actions of flawed human beings who claim to be Muslims and the religion itself. But this is a false association that is forced on the consumer of Western mainstream media.
Even when a group commits criminal acts in the name of Islam, they have absolutely no right to do so. Islam demands that Muslims seek peace, abide by the laws of the lands in which they live, respect the sanctity of human life, among many other directives to good conduct and peaceful living.
I hope my answer is satisfactory and thank you again for your question.
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