As a 23 year old Muslim female living in Europe for the past 3 years, I’ve faced a tiny share of racism, where a bunch of swear words have been hurled at me during random occasions, and a singular attempt at trying to rip off my hijab occurred last year. Up until this point, that’s what I thought racism was.

But in the past 3 days, post the horrifying attacks in Sri Lanka, my home country, I’ve come to learn that racism is so much more. The online hatred that’s swirling around, the slander against Islam, the deep rage against the Muslim community… And the sad part is that some of this wasn’t even from random strangers, it was from people I thought were my friends or at least acquaintances to the bare minimum. Of course I blame no one, that’s what they think Islam is, they truly believe that these terrorist are a representation of my beautiful religion and hence they’re hurling all that hatred towards my people. I understand that. I don’t blame them.

In the past instances where I thought I had faced racism, I was never hurt deeply. But now, after reading all those words filled with so much hatred, fury and darkness, I’m beyond broken. Words cannot even express the pain in my heart. This pain isn’t for myself. This pain is for all those lives that have been lost in vain in the name and pretence of a religion that doesn’t even preach such acts of violence. This pain is for the consequences my people are paying for and will continue to pay for, because of what a group of insane individuals chose to do so. This pain is for every single human on this planet who’s experienced racism. This pain is for the state this planet is in, destruction and violence blooming in every corner and hatred has begun to slowly overpower love. This pain is what all of us are feeling right now whether it’s about the blasts in Sri Lanka, or Syria, or Afghanistan or the many other countries bleeding right now.

The country, the race, the religion, none of that matters. We all are suffering. We all are in pain. But all we choose to acknowledge are the differences amongst us.

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