I recently became aware that the shooter in Tennessee quoted one of my t-shirt slogans (“My name causes national security alerts. What does yours do?”) in his high school yearbook. My heartfelt condolences go to the families and loved ones of the victims. Islam doesn’t stand for the killing of innocents. It is antithetical to our values.
I wish he hadn’t quoted or worn any of my shirts just as I’m sure Ford wishes OJ hadn’t driven a Bronco and Kraft wishes Jim Jones hadn’t poisoned the Kool Aid. Obviously, none of these products made them do it or endorsed their actions, just as I do not endorse this heinous act.
Unfortunately, this “Muhammad” pulled the trigger. He is giving life to a stereotype that I am trying to defeat. My t-shirts raise awareness for the thousands of “Muhammads” who don’t and never would harm others, and are in fact good people, but are suspected just the same by mere virtue of their name. My work tries to combat Islamophobia, promote tolerance, and use humor to defuse tensions with our neighbors. This man’s actions, and his use of my material, go against everything I am trying to accomplish.
I am deeply saddened by these events. I appreciate the journalists who are taking the time to sort fact from fiction and giving me the opportunity to voice my position.
I pray for peace on this, the day of Eid-ul-Fitr, on what should be a day of celebration.
-Javed “HijabMan” Memon