Minutes after Berlin's tragic Christmas market attack, nearly every other tweet with the hashtag #Berlin contained an Islamophobic statement and/or one that bashed German Chancellor Angela Merkel's open-door policy.
The attack was a horrible tragedy, one that should be condemned and mourned. One that we all wish would never happen. One that caused people to lump Muslims into pools of murderous thugs.
But it's high time we fixed that lethally distorted narrative. It's high time we recognize that no one suffers more from terrorism than Muslims do.
Before any evidence began to surface, much of the mainstream western media and many online began collectively blaming Muslims and immigrants. It played out in the typical manner that has become all too common, dividing society into neat little sides, with the immigrants and Muslims once again portrayed broadly as the opposing side.
Now, many will criticize my words smugly, asking: "Are German authorities not now searching for a Tunisian asylum seeker whose documents were found in the truck? Did ISIS not already take credit for the attack? Does the first 'I' in ISIS not stand for 'Islamic'?"
Yes. Yes. And yes. But that is not the point.
The point, which cannot be repeated enough is simply: there are more than one and a half billion Muslims in the world, the vast and overwhelming majority of which live peaceful and non-violent lives.
The primary victims of extremists groups such as ISIS – which 70,000 Islamic clerics officially condemned in a fatwa in 2015 – are Muslims. The atrocities carried out in the West, from Nice to Berlin to Orlando, are only a small fraction compared to the gruesome slaughter ISIS has brought to Syria and Iraq, as well as other Arab countries.
This group has not only brutally raped and slaughtered fellow Muslims, it has gone so far as to carry out an attack on the holiest city in in Islam, Mecca, targeting the mosque where the Prophet Mohammed is buried. This attack was carried out during the holiest time of year for Muslims, Ramadan.
All things considered, it is far more accurate to say that ISIS and its extremist affiliates are actually at war with Islam ... and the west is more of a side project.
While it is valid for anyone to be afraid of terrorist attacks, we must look at the reality.
In the United States, nearly twice as many people have been killed by White nationalists than by so-called radical Islamists since 2002, according to a 2015 study. Relatedly, hate crimes against Muslims increased by 67 percent during 2015 in the United States, according to official statistics by the FBI.
In fact, also on Monday, as the western media narrowed its sights on Berlin, a mosque was shot up in Zurich, seriously injuring three men while they prayed.
Muslims just can't seem to catch a break. They are slaughtered in their countries by radical groups. In the West, they are attacked by white extremists and also portrayed as the enemies of free society.
They also die the same as anyone else in the west when so-called radical Islamists carry out attacks. One-third of the victims of the Nice attack in July were Muslims, and a brave police officer who died as he attempted to stop the infamous attackers on Charlie Hebdo's Paris office in 2015 was also a Muslim.
Yet, Muslims are considered the problem. They are told to change the way they dress. They are kicked off planes for speaking Arabic. Even Muslim children are eyed with suspicion and arrested when they bring impressive inventions to school.
Where is the mainstream outcry against the blatant prejudice continually perpetrated against this vibrant community?
Muslims have contributed significantly to scientific knowledge, culture and broader society throughout the West and the world. Why is this so often left out of the mainstream narrative?
Nobody blames all white men for the heinous acts of the racist and xenophobic few. And all 1.6 billion Muslims should not be blamed when a few falsely claiming to represent the global religion murder innocents.
There is no conflict between Islam and the West. It is a false narrative perpetrated by the uninformed and those who gain from a divided world. The conflict is between those who choose peace and those who choose violence.
Until that ends, Muslims and everyone else will continue to suffer.