Let's take a moment and talk about how ludicrous the recent Jihawg Ammo pork-laced bullets sound to anyone, regardless of background. As both a devout Muslim and freedom-loving American, I find myself at a weird crossroads.
A short introduction to the bullets, if you happened to miss out on the juicy, cholesterol-filled bit of news this past week: A company based in Dalton Gardens, Idaho, by the name of South Fork Industries (Fork, anyone? Since we're going along with the whole pork bit) decided to create bullets coated in pork-infused paint, available for mass consumption at the low, low price of $24.75 for 50 rounds of ammo.
Since the consumption of pork is haram -- forbidden to any practicing Muslim (or crazed Jihadist) -- the gun enthusiasts bravely determined that this was the perfect "defensive deterrent to those who violently act in the name of Islam."
As a result, they have decided that the best course of action is to create mass-produced pork-laced bullets that every so-called patriot can get a hold of. Of course, if you yourself are crazed, that's okay. You'll defend the country against anyone remotely "Muslim"-looking, and be able to live up to the company's claims of spreading "peace through pork."
Now, this left me in a bit of a limbo. I found myself contemplating two paths: Faith or freedom? If I were whatever the brave manufacturers of the bullets had determined, and the pork component specifically induced a different reaction within me than anyone else -- that would make me a special type of otherworldly being.
I was induced with an identity crisis. Last time I checked, my skin did not sparkle in the sun. Or, in the way of the folklore of pre-Twilight days, I never had difficulty existing amongst the mortals in the sunshine. Garlic has never caused much of a problem for me, unless the dish was way too heavy in the garnish, and my favorite type of jewelry was wooden.
This brought me to the first of my conclusions: I think I must have missed out on some special "Muslim initiation" when I was younger, right? Where they turned all Muslims into a special type of being, prone to a hell-bent death only by the usage of special, carefully-crafted pork-laced bullets. This was the type of occult promotion where being close to any sort of animal that oinked and rolled in mud caused a sort of allergic reaction, prevented normal day-to-day behavior, sent one to the hospital -- that sort of thing.
At least, that must have been what happened, because although I don't eat pork (and have never really been fond of meat, since I know the health risks proven to exist through scientific studies), I'm perfectly fine sitting next to my friend as she enjoys a good set of fried ribs, or visiting a petting zoo where some cute piglets run around.
Given that my family and I regularly attended a plethora of mosques and religious community centers throughout my upbringing, I'm not sure how I missed out on that exclusive initiation.
On the other hand, I'm a red-blooded freedom-loving American. We have a long track record of welcoming the masses in need of shelter and opportunity. Our troops are meant to be the best-equipped in the world, so why should they not be equipped with purportedly high-tech, patent-pending pork-laced bullets? I'm all for open conversation and co-existence, but you must admit that preemptive measures must be taken against crazy, religiously affiliated, terror-loving fundamentalists in this day and age. So why should the production of such hard-hitting, necessary hell-sending ammunition ever be protested? It's our given rights as free Americans to search for the best strategy to protect ourselves.
Oh, wait. Perhaps it's because the production of the pork-laced bullets are completely erroneous in intention and purpose. In the words of Shannon Dunn, assistant professor of religious studies at Gonzaga University, "There is no penalty for coming into contact with pork given by the Qur'an ... To my knowledge, Muslims, especially unknowingly, would not be banned from heaven for eating or getting hit by pork."
So this is where my full Muslim-American self comes into play: These pork-laced bullets are the very definition of ridiculous. To be producing them at the level that South Fork Industries does only goes to underscore the amount of Islamophobic sentiment being funneled into the wrong channels of communication. Expecting any sort of "peace through pork" by working to "put some ham in MoHAMed" is regressive -- and frankly, ignorant and xenophobic in nature.
It's a dangerous sentiment in itself to believe that harming others for the sake of protecting oneself will end in anything less than sadness for all. Why should we stoop to the level of those extremists that already do not abide by the common threads of freedom and acceptance? To expect anything less than intolerance as a result of stocking ourselves with this unnecessary and hateful ammunition would be absurd. Until that understanding comes about, though, you can find me at your neighborhood petting zoo, hanging out with the piglets.
Originally published on the website MuslimGirl.net.