Ever since the September 11, 2001, attacks on the United States, the Western Religions have been the target of criticism. The Taliban has created a bad name for the Muslims that live in Afghanistan, because of the terrorist attacks they have committed. In the United States we view all Muslims as terrorists when we shouldn't. Actually, it is against their religion to commit suicide. Some articles that are in the nation's newspapers the nation show how peaceful Muslims are, and how they do not want to cause any problems with other countries or religious groups.

An article in "USA Today" informs us that, not only is the United States portraying the Muslims as terrorists, but also other countries. Many in the Arab world feel that the West is prejudiced against Arabs and Islam and that their religion has been associated with terrorism. Statements like that by Italian Prime Minister Silvio Berlusconi, who asserted that Western civilization was superior to Islam, have infuriated Muslims (USA Today). Many organizations are getting together to try and correct the discriminatory remarks that may make problems worse around the globe. Ministers from European Islamic countries began arriving in Istanbul on February 11, for a conference to bridge what many fear is a widening gap between the Muslim world and the West (USA Today). "The campaign against terrorism should not be spread to countries that have nothing to do with terrorism," said Sudan's Foreign Minister Mustafa Osman Ismail.

"If you do so, you will push them toward terrorism" (USA Today). "The gathering will bring to the whole world the message of peace, cooperation and harmony. This is a very important message," said Turkish Foreign Minister Cem, who proposed the meeting in the wake of the September 11 attacks on New York's World Trade Center and the Pentagon (USA Today). The organizations that the USA Today talks about informs us about how sympathetic they feel for the Muslims, and that something must be done to correct this problem before it grows into larger one. An article that the The Irish Times published shows how peaceful Muslims are and how dedicated they are to their religion.

Millions of Muslims gathered in the Saudi City of Mecca to perform their initial rites of the annual haj, or holy pilgrimage. As a result of a bombing campaign many were late for the pilgrimage, but that did not stop them from continuing with their religious duties (Jansen). Dressed in simple white clothing, the pilgrims conveyed their respects to the city of Mecca by circumambulating the Kaaba, or "House of God." They then traveled 20-km long valley to Mina where they spent the night in contemplation and prayer. The Muslims then travel to the place where the Prophet Mohammed delivered his last sermon (Jansen).

While religious festivals in the Indian subcontinent may attract greater numbers of people, the haj is unique in that it brings together Muslims from 70 countries in an essentially egalitarian community where all Muslims are brothers and sisters (Jansen). If every American viewed Muslims in this perspective many of the prejudices against the religion would decrease. The way The Irish Times describes the rituals of Muslims, does not seem like they would plot something so horrific, like the World Trade Center attack. The Muslims want everyone to know that they are nothing like the few that are apart of the Taliban, and that they are a nonviolent group. The people in Afghanistan are extremely delighted that the Taliban has been eliminated from their country and religion. On Eid al-Adha, a holiday that is celebrated in Afghanistan, Muslims celebrated the holiday in the most joyous way that they could (Hanley).

In a way, the children were first to see the change from the Taliban days. "This Eid is better than last year," said a boy named Essa Jan. "Today we " re celebrating freedom. We can watch TV and VCR. We can listen to CD's (Hanley)." The lives of the Muslims, especially the youth of the country has changed to the fact of the ending of the Taliban. They have freedom to do things that were not possible before the Taliban, and they are thankful to have the privilege.

"Agha is the representative of the two-month-old Afghan government that emerged from the lightening U. S. -led war against the Taliban, protectors of the al-Qaida network blamed for the Sept. 11 terror attacks on the United States. The Taliban's defeat ended a five-year rule in which the Islamic fundamentalists outlawed music, movies, girls' education and women's few opportunities outside the home, among other activities deemed un-Islamic" (Hanley). "Under the Taliban, our major entertainment was playing cards quietly, secretly in the house," said Mir wais Fatly, 26, a shopkeeper who with his brothers' families and parents invited three American visitors to their home for a midday holiday meal of mutton (AP Special Correspondent).

The article by Hanley advises us how peaceful the Muslims are toward the Americans and how they don't want to start any controversies with the United States (Hanley). Despite the recent attacks on America the media has tried to show Muslims in a fair light. Although the media portrays Muslims fairly, the American people interpret these articles on their own and still judge the Muslims negatively. America's thoughts seem to be soothed by continuously viewing Afghanistan as violent people. On the other hand, the writers of the articles that I have used show how sympathetic they are towards the Muslims. They inform us of the life that the Afghanis have, and not the one that many people think they have of plotting a terrorist attack.

They try and show us how the Muslims are actually very peaceful people and want to live a normal life without being segregated for what they believe in. While the Taliban has created a terrible name for those in Afghanistan, the Muslim religion has suffered the most.