Nineteen-year old college student Heraa Hashmi was in history class when the discussion turned to terrorism with one student asking, “Why don’t Muslims condemn violence?” Heraa politely countered, telling him he could Google many examples of Muslims condemning violence, but she left the class saddened. “I felt like I had to do something to answer not just him, but the media and people online whose perceptions of Muslims are wrong,” say the college student.
So she decided to do something about it and for the next three weeks developed a spreadsheet with 5,686 examples of Muslim individuals and organizations speaking out against ISIS, al-Qaeda, the Pulse nightclub shooting. The spreadsheet also included examples of Muslims speaking out against climate change, discrimination against women, and more social issues.
Heraa tweeted the spreadsheet out on the night of November 12th and went to bed. The next morning, she woke up to thousands of approving responses. And to date, her spreadsheet has more than 26,000 likes and 13,000 retweets.
“When you’re a minority, everything you say and do isn’t just a reflection of you; it’s a reflection of your entire community,” says Heraa. “The best thing we can do right now is educate people and show them that this is who Muslims are.”
The spreadsheet has recently been turned into a searchable website called Muslims Condemn. And for Heraa’s extra-curricular efforts, we give her an A Plus…. Plus.