"Sorry for algebra."
That's a tweet in #MuslimApologies, a hashtag that has been trending on Twitter.
I'm sorry to let you know that Isaac Newton learned about gravity from the the books of Ibn al-Haytham #MuslimApologies— Ammār ibn Aziz Ahmed (@Ammar_Ibn_AA) September 24, 2014
As you can see, the apologies are more of the #SorryNotSorry variety — sarcastic one-liners designed to highlight the absurdity of blaming the world's 1.6 billion Muslims for the violent actions of a small handful of them. The new hashtag, writes Elahe Izadi in the Washington Post, represents Muslim "frustration over the assumption of collective responsibility."
#MuslimApologies isn't entirely recent, but its popularity definitely is. And given the events of the past few weeks, it's understandable why it would take off. With the violence of ISIS steadily on the rise, Islam is, once again, thrust into the global spotlight. As Izadi notes, the sarcastic apologies started picking up steam "on the same day that President Obama said before the United Nations General Assembly that "it is time for the world — especially Muslim communities — to explicitly, forcefully, and consistently reject the ideology of al Qaeda and ISIL."
This isn't the first Twitter campaign to address public perception of Muslims. Earlier this month, the London-based Active Change Foundation started circulating #NotInMyName to send a message to terrorists and the world: "ISIS does not represent Islam."
Qasim Rashid, author of The Wrong Kind of Muslim, said the new hashtag "demonstrates a sense of ownership" of Islam, particularly by Islamic youth. "Similar to the #NotYourStockMuslim, #MuslimRage, and #CreepingShariah tags of yesteryear, this trend once again shows Muslim youth are rising up with pluralism, optimism, and humor to proudly write the narrative of Islam — rather than allowing those with ulterior motives to write it for us."
Currently, 50 percent of Americans believe "Islam is more likely than other religions to encourage violence among its believers," according to a recent Pew poll. That number, which is up 7 percent from July, is the highest it has been since 2002. It's not surprising, then, that many Muslims have been felt a growing frustration with those numbers. What better way to confront those frustrations than on social media, which, allows a worldwide platform?
Here are some of examples of #MuslimApologies. As you can see, the tweets range from lighthearted snark to biting commentary.
I'm sorry we invented the concept of zero, thereby giving others a way to describe you. #MuslimApologies— Huthaifa Shqeirat (@who_the_fa) September 24, 2014
I'm sorry you tapped my phone and all you learned was that I was planning a potluck at the mosque on Friday #MuslimApologies— Maha Hilal (@mahmooha2013) September 25, 2014
I am sorry that I don't know how to use an AK-47. #MuslimApologies— cyra orees (@cyraorees) September 25, 2014
I'm sorry you tripped while staring at me #MuslimApologies— Maha Hilal (@mahmooha2013) September 24, 2014
#MuslimApologies I'm sorry that I'm not sorry about being not sorry. Sorry, i wasn't sorry about that nor am i sorry about this.— Zanche the Moor. (@ana_mrida) September 24, 2014