Riley Speaks

"all i have is a voice" ~ w.h. auden

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Environmental vs. Chemical Depression

I’ve had this theory for a while. That there are two cloud causes for depression. There is environmental depression – caused by the environment around you, and chemical – caused by your brain chemicals.

In 2013 (I know ages ago, but New Zealand statistics are impossible to find) the amount of children and teenagers diagnosed with a mental health condition had almost doubled over the previous five years. But it’s known that the rate of those diagnosed with depression and anxiety is on the rise and we’re seeing some of the highest numbers yet. I think this is down to environmental depression becoming more prevalent. We have put pressures on academics, friendships, extra curricular, university entrance, job options, etc that adolescent are understandably struggling under the pressure. The way to distinguish environmental depression is if you were to have no stresses would you still be depressed? If you were climbing a mountain and no essays were due, you had just won the lottery so money wasn’t an issue, and you had a steady job source – would you still be depressed? I believe environmental depression still sees a decrease in serotonin but as an after effect – as a direct result of the environment and the situation one is in. The simplest way to determine environmental depression from chemical depression is it typically starts around adolescence and puberty.

Most people won’t admit that the environment has caused their depression, some think it makes it less real, others just don’t want to have to change everything in their life to cater to their depression. But it’s not any less real, and it’s important for one’s health to be in a position where you are able to live as stress free as possible. Of course in this consumerist, money hungry society it’s hard – and that’s on us as a nation and a globe. We have to change the demands if we want to see environmental depression decrease.

Chemical depression is as it sounds. Just like ADHD, and other chemically changing disorders, chemical depression changes the serotonin levels in your brain. Not when you reach puberty or stressful times, but from birth. It would 9/10 times go unnoticed, because children aren’t good at explaining their emotions, but it can produce as shyness. A child may seem shy on certain days and not shy on others. Looking back on my childhood I wonder how no one noticed I was depressed. It’s this lingering sense of “what’s the point of it all?” I remember thinking – as a child, about 6 or 7 – about being killed and aside from it hurting and me being scared of the person should they be a stranger, I didn’t really think it would make a difference. It wouldn’t matter if I was alive or dead – it was all the same. That’s chemical depression. And it typically goes away with anti depressants and minimal counselling. I have never received adequate counselling because it never helped. It was just annoying to me. And I think this is why. Because it wasn’t anything that happened to have caused it – sure things had happened to me, but talking about them and learning to cope with them wouldn’t make it all go away. It was just the way my brain was and when I found the proper medication, I saw my mood rise. I still get sad about the things that happened and happen to me, but they aren’t the reasons I want to kill myself. They’re just “life” to me. But for those with environmental depression they are the root of their depression.

Why does all this matter now? I’m sure we’ve all heard about or seen the Netflix series “13 Reasons Why”. There are numerous reasons I am against this series, but this is a very crucial part. By killing herself, Hannah has stopped all living. She cannot grow to see the happy. From the portrayal of the story on her tapes, all her reasons were a direct result of her environment. If she was removed – flown to a remote island – she would most likely not want to kill herself. In 5 years from when the suicide happened, Hannah could have very well not even believed she was going to kill herself – had she made it out alive. But because she threw it all away at high school, she will never be able to see anything she could have accomplished. Her story ends there. She could have done so much to raise awareness on bullying and sexual assault, she could have become a spokesperson for mental health, but instead she killed herself.

This means so many of those struggling with environmental depression will see this as a plausible and very real option. But they will fail to see that the situation will change. That school will end, and 90% of your friends will be people you haven’t even met yet. But because of this ill filmed and poorly devised show, people will think that it isn’t worth fighting for. That it’s better to just quit. It is not. It is worth staying alive for. There are so many great things out there that you can’t dream of because of school stress, and peer judgement. But it’s there and you can see it, but you have to stick around.

NOTE: Chemical depression is in no means a reason for suicide either. With the help of medications and a steady plan you can enjoy life. Please if you are feeling suicidal contact a 24/7 helpline


LIST A (Wikipedia) LIST B ( LIST B.5 (, USA)


KIDSHELPLINE AUS: 1800 55 1800 (Ages 5-25)




DEPRESSION HELPLINE: 0800 111 757 – or free text 4202

YOUTHLINE – 0800 376 633

KIDSLINE – 0800 543 754 (0800 KIDSLINE) *up to 18 years old


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A Year On: Hate won.

It’s been a year since the swearing in of the supposed US President Trumpet man. It’s been a year since the all empowering women’s march.

It’s made me realise that hate still exists in people – racism is still alive and well in the US. Trumpet did not make these people racist/hateful, but he opened the gate for it to be shown. When he was elected, those racists and sexist people no longer had to hide away. If a man made fun of a disabled person and was elected president then surely it’s okay? If a man has been accused of sexual assault and rape by numerous women, but he is now the president – it’s okay to do those things. No longer is the president someone you hope your children grow up to become but someone you tell your children never to be.

Some people – I hope a majority – have shown regret in their choice to elect him as the president. But what you cannot forget is that they once heard him say racist things and decided it didn’t matter. The only reason they are now regretting their decision is that it affects them. 54% of white women voted for him. They counted on his racism to put them ahead of the game. But there are still some women out there that support him. Even after all the hate he’s thrown towards women. All I can think is how much these women must not love themselves if they are still supporting someone that thinks they should stay in the kitchen and speak when spoken to. Do they not want more for themselves? For their children? How can they not see that his hate does not stop at coloured people? He doesn’t care about anything but himself and his rich friends.

The quality of being a president has drastically decreased. I bet after his run, the next person will implement a requirement that candidates must have some kind of background that does not include a reality show and multiple failed businesses. It was a great novelty knowing that anyone can apply to be president, but now the realisation has hit that ANYONE can apply to be president. Even a racist, rapist.

A year on and he’s had no progress. Any other president would be called unqualified or unworthy of the seat if they had not passed anything by this point. Instead he’s treated with child gloves and he places blame on others. Anyone (any person who isn’t racist) can see that the things he’s trying to get passed are unjust, unfair, and boarding on – if not actually – illegal. You cannot make people choose between immigrants and sick children, just to fund a war that you (the US) started. Maybe if the US citizens didn’t have to pay for your every-other-day golf trips, then you would have the budget for both. It’s not about choosing between them, it’s about realising what’s important to require money and the military already gets 54% of spending, and in 2015 $598.5 billion was spent on the US military. Let’s put that into understandable terms:

  • If you were to travel 598.5 billion miles, you could fly around the world 24,035,179 times
  • If you could save $100,000/year, it would take you 5,985,000 years to save 598.5 billion dollars.
  • With 598.5 billion dollars, you could afford to give every man, woman, and child in Canada $16,625.00.
  • If you could live for 598.5 billion minutes, you would live until you were 1,138,699 years old.

That’s a LOT of money to spend on one thing. This is not about putting all the eggs in one basket and making others choose between everything else. This is about rationing. About giving everyone an egg to ensure they don’t starve.

It’s been a year of hearing about a million f*cked up things he’s done, and I’m tired of it – and he’s not even my president! Another year of fighting to allow human beings to exist is upon us. Just because he won the fight does not mean he will win the war. At the end of it all, we are just going to have to add up all the days he spent golfing and spend those days at a resort together. We’ll be tired, but we won’t have given up.

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Sandy Hook, Processing, and Keeping Kids Safe: Gun control should not be a debate

There’s no doubt if you’re reading this, you heard the news as havoc broke out in an elementary school in Connecticut USA. Just over five years ago a mass shooting occurred at a children’s school in the states, resulting in the death of 20 six and seven year olds and six members of staff. There was an outcry for gun control and stricter laws and regulations to be upheld regarding guns and who can obtain a license.

I have been fortunate to grow up in New Zealand where local cops do not carry guns, where firearms are not common as they are in the US (although they are becoming more so in recent years). Until watching this video on Twitter I never second guessed fearing my child not coming home from school due to a shooting. I most likely won’t ever have to either. I cannot fathom sending your child to school one day, with their lunch in hand and their school books all packed, their homework done – or maybe there wasn’t enough time to finish it all off – and I send them off with a big hug and watch them walk into school. I go out and work or run errands and don’t even blink about what could be happening. Maybe my child is making some Christmas decorations, what if they’re making me a Christmas card? I’m eager to hear all about their day and I can’t wait to see them. Then that moment is shattered. I sent my child into school and they never came home. School is a place you don’t question something like that happening, because you believe it never will. School is a place to learn, a place to grow – a safe place. You send your child into a place you believe to be safe only to be given the news that they are not coming back.

When we are presented with a story like this, any mass shooting, we lump them into figures and statistics. It’s hard not to when that’s what we’re presented with. “x many injured and y killed”, it’s nothing but shock value. Those are people. Each person has a domino effect to those that mourn them. Each whole number is a whole person who ceases to exist beyond that moment. The tale doesn’t just end when the news coverage does. For anyone watching it does, once we move onto the next story – another mass shooting in another state – we forget these lives that are lost. They aren’t known to us and their leaving has not affected us. But that doesn’t mean that they have not left behind aching hearts. It’s so easy as an onlooker to feel the sadness in the moment, and then return to the normalcy of our lives. Families that have lost loved ones will never get that. Prayers and words don’t mean shit.

There is no justification to the lives lost. They may be in a better place, they may be safe now – but why didn’t we keep them safe here? Why isn’t earth the better place? Nothing can change the fact that there is now a grieving family that lost a part of their souls. There is no words, no “sending prayers” or “families are in our hearts”, that can repair that piece. I can imagine that there is always going to be sadness in these families lives. They may go on living, they may find happiness in things, but each happy moment will be accompanied by a pang of sadness. A memory that their loved one isn’t a part of, a moment of celebration that is spent without their beloved.

I’m so f*cking tired of the “to keep my family safe” retort. If you want to keep a gun/s on your property with children in sight, you would have them locked up. If an emergency arises that someone breaks in – forgetting that a break in does not mean that a gun will be carried, but for arguments sake this person IS carrying a gun – you hear something downstairs, you fumble around in your room for your bedside light switch. Give yourself a few moments to be sure the noise is not just something you heard in your sleep, and then give yourself time to get to your weapon. Again, arguments sake is giving you the benefit of the doubt. You keep your weapons locked up in your bedroom, you reach them in a matter of seconds. You enter the code and are into the safe. Now you have to load your weapon – every safe gun owner knows you never store a weapon already loaded. Maybe this only takes 30 seconds (again, the argument is on your side), that burglar can have already injured your children, already have made it to your room and be standing right behind you.

Now I am 100% against in home gun ownership. I honestly wish they didn’t exist at all, the best I will give anyone is for hunting. That, to me, is the only logical reason I can find for the use of a gun – even then hunting is something I wish didn’t exist either. But for the sake of pleasing the “protecting my family” people, a single shot hand gun should be sufficient. In all honesty, a BB gun would be too – I mean have you ever been shot in the arm with one of them? Any weapon they are holding would be dropped. There is NO reason, NO. REASON. anyone needs to store an assault riffle in their home. In what instance can you believe you would need to fire enough bullets to cover your room in smoke?

Even a single shot hand gun can offer up to 15 bullets, so regulation on handguns needs to be more detailed and more strict. I cannot believe guns are sold in stores where you can buy diapers and baby formula. Want to know why there’s no mass shootings in New Zealand? Because we doesn’t sell guns in a fucking grocery/department store! If you are surrounded by ideas, of course you’re going to use them. It’s marketing 101, and it’s the reason the US has so many shootings. Guns are treated like they’re milk. I cannot imagine walking by someone wearing a firearm and just going “oh yep”. I went to Australia this year and freaked out when the police were carrying handguns. Police. People trained in using them, needing to pass many tests and licensing regulations. Because guns are so violent and so deadly. Even the most well trained person cannot guarantee the safety of the use of the firearm. Accidental shootings happen.

The 2nd amendment in the USA was created when guns were capable of much slower rapid fire. The right to bare arms should not take precedence over someone’s right to life. And lets take a look at that word – amendment –

1.the act of amending or the state of being amended. alteration of or addition to a motion, bill, constitution, etc.
3.a change made by correction, addition, or deletion
Interesting…it looks as though it is something that can be changed…amended if you will…
The Sandy Hook shooting happened and the US said “never again”. And then Pulse happened. And then Las Vegas happened. And so many more in between. Do you know when “never again” should have happened? When the a child was shot by another child* How can you have that happen and not think “something has to change” and actually DO something – not just sit around waiting for another shooting to happen to say the same thing.
I am so tired of hearing about another mass shooting in the states. I am so tired of trying to process the emotions the loved ones would be feeling when I couldn’t even know what to try process. I am tired of school and mass shootings being used as media frenzies and political ploys that never amount to anything. I am tired of hearing about the US needing gun control and not nearly (never will be) tired enough of hearing legislation being passed to help control the use of firearms. I am tired of using Australia as an example of why the US needs to sort it’s crap out.
If only the american citizens cared as much about the lives of those lost to gun violence as they do the legality of abortions and gay marriage. Maybe then gun control would happen.


*I am not sure that this is the first child shooting child incident (I imagine it is not), but I believe it is the first child shooting child incident to happen on school grounds.

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The Elephant in the Womb: Keep abortion legal…

I was watching an episode of Law and Order where they discuss abortion. The guy on trial says abortion is disobeying God. There are people that oppose with abortion simply on their own moral grounds. It’s a touchy subject, but it’s a subject that is important to talk about – it’s important to talk about because it’s important to keep it legal.

Firstly, not everyone believes in God. Religion cannot be the example for which you base your protest on. Not everyone is religious, let alone believes in the same God. You cannot shove religion down someone’s throat nor change a law because not everyone is religious. The bible is outdated. You say God opposes murder, but no where does it say “abortion is wrong”. There is speak of a womb, and creating the child in the womb, but no where does it say those exact words.

Another argument is that the cure to cancer could have been in that child – that cluster of cells could have become something great. I believe in God, I also believe – as He has told us – that we will be placed in this earth for a purpose. If we are needed to find a cure, God will find a way to make it happen. We are souls, and we can become in any one person. The soul is the one to cure cancer, the soul is the one you fight for – and God will bring that soul to earth no matter what.

You only care about the fetus when you want. Once the child has been born, you couldn’t care less. You are not pro-life. You are pro-taking-away-women’s-control. If you were as pro life as you claim, why don’t I see you on the streets protesting another black life lost to the police? Why don’t I see you protesting for the entrance of refugee’s into the country? If you truly cared about life, you would care about every life. “Oh well the child can just be adopted out” – tell that to the hundreds and thousands and possibly millions of children awaiting a home. It’s just not your decision to make. If you chose not to have an abortion, what gives you the right to take away my choice? No one is ever “pro-abortion” – you want an abortion like you want a root canal. It’s a “have to” and a decision made for the life of that potential child too. Everyone is allowed to make their own decisions, but why can you make a choice about not having an abortion and then someone else’s choice to have one is denied? What makes you so special?

I believe in the choice to safe and legal procedures. Children deserve to live in homes that will love them and make them feel wanted. I want women to be able to choose to have an abortion like you can choose not too. I want choice. Not control.

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Maori Language: “But the debate it’s over. We already had it.”

I am white. I grew, and will continue to grow, up with the privilege of being white. People will learn my name no matter how I write it or how many unnecessary vowels I add, simply because my skin tone is a few shades lighter and my family came from Europe. I grew up learning simple te reo in class as a means of communication. Around year 4/5 it stopped. And now I struggle with something that I wish I knew so easily, a language that belongs in the tongues of those that live here. If you move to France you are expected to learn French, if you move to Spain you are expected to learn Spanish. Why is it different for New Zealand? Canada does it so easily, no second guessing no questions. French and English. Simple. It would be so easy to have followed in Canada’s footsteps, but no, we had to remove Maori from every day life.

One debate is that “it’s an outdated language” and I have two counterpoints. 1) so is latin but schools continue to quote that sh*t relentlessly. 2) there’s a reason it’s outdated and it’s you. Funny how Spanish isn’t outdated in Spain, and French is still in effect in France. Why aren’t they outdated languages? We know that answer – because they’re still “european” languages….

If white people can name their child “T9c” and “KVIIIlyn”, then you can damn well learn someone’s name. It’s not even a race thing, it’s a respect thing. You know who’s names I don’t learn? The people I don’t care for. If you care enough and respect them enough you will learn their name. But we know that’s the issue. You don’t respect them or care for them – that’s when it becomes a race issue.

I want my kids to learn Maori. I want them to be more fluent than I ever was. I want them to be able to say the colours in both English and Maori, then I want them to be able to hold a simple conversation in Maori. As an ‘NZ/European’ I want these things for my children because I owe it to them. If I’m going to raise them in New Zealand, it is my duty to teach them about the land they live on and among. It’s my job as their mother to teach them about how language is a beautiful thing. Because it’s so much more than just a language. It’s another reason to shun someone from the prestigious seats we claim are hard earned but are really just pure luck for being born the ‘right’ colour. We say it’s New Zealand so they should speak English, but that’s not true. It’s New Zealand/Aotearoa so we should learn to speak foundation Maori. It’s our duty to preserve the culture we so rudely stole and exploited. That was our promise and we have severely broken it.

It’s not that hard to get your head out of your ass and learn. I’m not even going to lie, it makes me mad. It makes me so upset to think these people believe that this is their land. But as Kanoa Lloyd said “I know this is not gonna be some big wake up call moment for people that think this way. The Brash’s and Witherow’s and Gallagher’s of the world are not gonna wake up tomorrow and go “Oh I’ve been a bit bigoty” and then go and sign up for a te reo Maori class next week.” – They’re not. But what she does mention is that we don’t need to create a movement because there already is one. And it’s true. I see it in the early childcare centres, the curriculum incorporates te reo. You have these young children ready to take on the world and they have no internalised thoughts and prejudices to the language. And these are the kids that are going to lead us into the next generation. These kids will fight for te reo in primary schools, and in high schools – these kids will move mountains and remind us that it’s okay to celebrate that land on which we live. They will prove that there is nothing wrong with learning a language that belongs to this nation and it’s people.

In all honesty, I’m vowing that if I ever hear someone tell me they aren’t going to pronounce someone’s name correctly because it’s Maori, I’ll butcher their name in the most ridiculous way and refuse to stop until they realise how idiotic their understanding is. Some final words from Kanoa, “I actually felt a bit sorry for these guys. Like sorry the world is moving too fast for you my bros.”

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Understanding Borderline Personality Disorder: The basics…

“People with BPD are like third degree burns over 90% of their bodies. Lacking emotional skin, they feel agony at the slightest touch or movement.” – Marsha M. Linehan

Borderline Personality Disorder (BPD) is a personality disorder diagnosed in around 2% of adults – making up 20% of those using mental health services. BPD is diagnosed by noticable symptoms. Symptoms are, as listed by MayoClinic;

  • An intense fear of abandonment, even going to extreme measures to avoid real or imagined separation or rejection
  • A pattern of unstable intense relationships, such as idealizing someone one moment and then suddenly believing the person doesn’t care enough or is cruel
  • Rapid changes in self-identity and self-image that include shifting goals and values, and seeing yourself as bad or as if you don’t exist at all
  • Periods of stress-related paranoia and loss of contact with reality, lasting from a few minutes to a few hours
  • Impulsive and risky behavior, such as gambling, reckless driving, unsafe sex, spending sprees, binge eating or drug abuse, or sabotaging success by suddenly quitting a good job or ending a positive relationship
  • Suicidal threats or behavior or self-injury, often in response to fear of separation or rejection
  • Wide mood swings lasting from a few hours to a few days, which can include intense happiness, irritability, shame or anxiety
  • Ongoing feelings of emptiness
  • Inappropriate, intense anger, such as frequently losing your temper, being sarcastic or bitter, or having physical fights


Abandonment. Don’t we all fear that though? Yes. But not as drastically as those with BPD. People with BPD will go to extremes to ensure they are not abandoned or feeling abandoned, even if the threat is non-existent to others. This results in behaviours that are less than ideal. Suicide attempts are often a means of this fear and an attempt to keep the person around. Fighting can be a result of this fear too. A negative reaction is still a reaction and at times people with BPD will start fights to ensure they still are in the persons attention.

No sense of self image or identity. There is no real understanding of what they enjoy and what they dislike. People with BPD tend to not be able to list favourite things or list too many. Sometimes they look to those around them for an identity ie: “I like Italian food.” “Oh me too!” – even if they may not have ever had it. It may sound fine and harmless, but it can lead to a very destructive behaviours to fill the void. Things such as drug use, continuously quitting jobs, putting themselves in harms way. Many people with BPD are diagnosed with an eating disorder as they have taken the label to gain some form of identity. This is not to say an eating disorder is a compulsory symptom of BPD.

The biggest part of BPD, for me, is the emotional roller coaster it creates for you. You aren’t just upset, you are devastated. You aren’t just happy, you are elated. But isn’t that like normal human emotions? It may sound like it, but the reality is there is no words to explain just HOW intense the emotions are. The best way is to use images.


First we look at the “average” human emotion. While it can spread away from neutral, the span is very small. You can experience a jump in the emotions from neutral to sadness etc, but the span is, say, 2 metres.


Then we look at borderline personality disorder. This is intense. The whole span is, say, 10 metres.  The whole span of the average human emotion fits within the BPD span, with plenty of  room to spare. It is severely intense.

So isn’t it just like Bipolar? No. Bipolar is from manic to depressed (in it’s most basic sense). Some say that those with BPD experience the same 07emotional length when at those stages, i.e; when someone with BPD is sad, they are at the same level of someone diagnosed 02with depression, and when someone with BPD is happy/excited, they can become manic at the level of someone with bipolar. But this is simply a way for people to understand the severity of the emotions of those with BPD and is not a clinical diagnosis.

There is no real knowledge about what causes BPD but it is thought to be environmental – childhood abuse/neglect, genetics, and/or brain abnormalities. There are beleived to be risk factors that can include hereditary predisposition, a stressful childhood – this doesn’t necessarily stem down to childhood abuse/neglect but any kind of stress including the loss of a parent(s), or hostility such as family fighting.

BPD is an annoying son of a bitch and it sucks. There are good things about it, like if you love someone you love them with everything you have (because you only know go big or go home), people with BPD are passionate. About loving, about art, about anything. Although frequently called manipulative and harmful, people with BPD are actually very sensitive. They know how hard it is to feel sad, because to them sadness is not just being sad, and they want to prevent other people from feeling that way or to give them answers to help.

If someone comes to you and tells you they have borderline personality disorder, do not run to google the ins and outs – because all you will find is negativity. Ask the person themselves; ask them what you can do to help – maybe sending them a text every so often to remind them you have forgotten about them, ask them what it feels like for them – every person with BPD experiences it differently. Lastly, do not treat them as the monster under your bed, they are human and they have feelings. They don’t mean to be manipulative or impulsive or irrational, it’s a fight or flight mechanism. Work with them to create a way to ensure you are going to be able to give them the best chance at your relationship.


BPD Quotes:

“She feels more than you, you have to understand that about her. She feels the edge end the details of things and when she gets close to someone, she feels their happiness and pain.” – Jim Storm

“She is strong but not in the way people think. She loves more than she will ever get back & she knows it… Yet she loves anyway”

“I feel everything, all the time. It’s exhausting. But it also makes me passionate, which is beautiful.” – Alicia Sarah Raimundo

“Sensitive people suffer more but they love more and dream more.” Augusto Cury

“I don’t know what living a balanced life feels like. When I am sad I don’t cry, I pour. When I am happy I don’t smile, I glow. When I am angry I don’t yell, I burn. The good thing about feeling in extremes is when I love I give them wings but perhaps that isn’t such a good thing, cause they always tend to leave and you should see me when my heart is broken I don’t grieve, I shatter.” – Rupi Kaur

“You are so good. So good, you’re always feeling so much. And sometimes it feels like you’re gonna bust wide open from all the feeling, doesn’t it? People like you are the best in the world, but you sure do suffer for it.” – Silas House

“My skin is so thin that the innocent words of others burn holes right through me.” – BPD Pieces of Me Community

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Dear Laura L. – Why Islam is not ISIS and you’re an ass…

First of all, how can you live in New York City and be as racist and as horrible as you are? That’s like an oxymoron. Now if you’re reading this and you’re thinking “thank god my name isn’t Laura Loomer” – well this is an open letter to anyone that believes Muslim’s are responsible for terrorist attacks.

You ask her why she’s wearing her hijab “right after a terror attack” as if she takes it off for certain events. Did Christian’s take off their crosses when Las Vegas was under attack? No? Is that because the christian faith does not condone
those views? Interesting…

Are muslim and Islam races? No. But in the 21st century – especially after September 11th, cultural racism has become common. People are discriminated against because of their culture and even a culture they look to conform too. So no, it’s not a race, but it is racist. For more reading on this matter see [here]

You say Islam calls for the death of all non-believers, but so does the bible.

Deuteronomy 13:6-09 – If your very own brother, or your son or daughter, or the wife you love, or your closest friend secretly entices you, saying, “Let us go and worship other gods” (gods that neither you nor your ancestors have known, gods of the peoples around you, whether near or far, from one end of the land to the other), do not yield to them or listen to them. Show them no pity. Do not spare them or shield them. You must certainly put them to death. Your hand must be the first in putting them to death, and then the hands of all the people.

If you look hard enough you’re going to find a verse for anything – in any book; the Qur’an, the Hebrew bible, the Christian bible, the Talmud. Especially killing non believers. Yes the Qur’an is out dated; so is the bible and many educational textbooks. My understanding of that verse you just put (and the Christian one) is that it was made in a time when there was no communal law. This was when this area was for this religion, and that area was for that area. Luckily, we aren’t so segregated and are able to experience different cultures and upbringings. In all honesty I believe it’s fair to shun a non believer of that faith from the grounds that worship it. In means of a chapel or a mosque, these are places of worship and sacred to those who believe. It’s unfair, especially for Muslim believers, to have to put up with non believers (who are typically against their religion) invading their place of safety and sanctuary. Chapels and mosques are places where those within them are vulnerable. They hold no emotional armour. When you walk into a chapel, you can feel many emotions. There’s hope and fear and worry and despair and grief and happiness and faith and basically any emotion you can think of – I imagine it to be the same in other places of worship. It’s where you are your most vulnerable, so why would you want someone who makes a mockery of your faith to be among it? To update that verse I would say it means to dismiss non believers from the grounds of worship. Because in today’s society faith and religion is no longer as bordered as it was back in the day. It is not “here are the Christians, here are the Muslims.” We also have laws that bar religions and are laws of the land you are upon. It. Is. No. Longer. 3000BC.

How many Christians have committed acts of terror? How many Christians have committed acts of terror in the name of their god?

Funny how when a christian, white man kills a bunch of people he’s “mentally ill” and it’s a lone incident unrelated to any other Christians or white men. But when a terrorist – from a terrorist group, not a religion – kills people it’s suddenly the religion he’s supposedly killed in’s fault. The majority of people hold a Christian faith, so any other faith is deemed different and “wrong”. But these faiths – Muslims and other – are not violent and do not want to bomb and kill people. It’s just like how not all white people are killers and mass murderers but the majority of the mass murderers are white. This is not an act of Muslim faith, this is an act of terrorism and the two are not interchangeable. Just as Catholics believe differently to Mormons, Muslim’s believe differently to Christians. It’s not hate, it’s not an act of terror, it’s simply a belief. Islam is not a synonym for ISIS – I know, they have the same two letters but c’mon, you have to be smarter than that don’t you? Between 1.5 and 1.8 billion people identify as Muslim and their religion as Islam. If terrorism was a part of Islam faith then “you wouldn’t stand a chance, good thing it’s not”.  Muslims are as connected – if not less – to Isis as Christians are to the KKK. Every religion – even those deemed “terrorist religions” – hold the golden rule of doing to others what you want them to do to you. Every religion. That is the rule above all rules. When you are at a loss for what to do, you refer to the golden rule.

My favourite quote is about 9/11 and it appeared on Bones. It talks about how it was not the act of Islam and it was not the work of the God Muslim’s worship.

“Those horrible men who hijacked those planes hijacked my religion that day, too. They insulted my God.”

Terrorists who use the Muslim faith to justify their actions are not templates for the Muslim faith. Muslim faith is shown through love and kindness and community. It is shown through mosques welcoming hurricane victims silently, without thought, while churches deny those seeking shelter. It is them loving one another as every human being should do. They don’t have to donate organs and save animals, and find cures to cancer to be good people. They just don’t have to shout at other people on the street in New York amid a tragedy…

And it shouldn’t be the job of the Muslim people to have to explain these simple truths. They should not have to have their faith questioned because you’re too ignorant to learn. They are not responsible for our racism, they are not to be held accountable for our inability to know what is their religion and what is a terrorist attack – two unrelated issues. And it is not a Muslim’s job to prove they aren’t a terrorist. They do not have to have a rally condemning a terrorist attack – they condemn it just like anyone does. If you actually gave half of your time spent being ignorant, to learn about the Islam faith and to hear Muslim’s talk about their God in an environment they feel safe in, you might actually learn this. If you go in with the notion that their entire religion is terrorism then why should they show you what they believe? You obviously don’t care for it.

All in all, religion is good, racism is bad, and Muslim/Islam /= terrorism. Ka pai, thank you for your attention.