I am going to tell you something that is not a secret. If you know me, if you’ve read this blog, you’ll know, but I will say it again because some of you seem to need reassuring from me and my kind:

Killing is wrong.

This is a rule that has exceptions. If someone wants to harm you or someone around you, kill them. Don’t shoot them in the leg. The legs are small and move. It is probably prudent to try to kill them in any manner you can before they kill you. This seems self-evident. There are times when there needs to be war. You must kill the enemy according to the rules of war. Again, duh.

I feel I need to tell you this because I carry with me a name that speaks of my heritage as a muslim. And, to far too many these days, I am the enemy. Some even say my religion teaches me to kill. That I MUST kill. This is preposterous. It makes for good tweets and memes, but it displays an ignorance that is the source of the mockery of Americans around the world.

Killing is wrong.

I don’t care why or who or what. Don’t kill. Just. No. (Subject to the exceptions above.)

And no, you can’t make up that we are currently in a war with Islam. That’s just not true no matter how much you want it to be true. I know, it would make you feel so much more justified in your vitriol and anger. I mean, I just said that in a war you can kill your enemy, but I also said war has rules.

I am against the death penalty. I am vocal about it. I will not change my mind about it even if you say “what if a person killed someone you love?” I would want to kill that person and, if I had the chance, I probably would. But the state should not do it. They are supposed to be the cool headed, rational ones, right? No one would blame me (except that very same state) if I took a sledgehammer to someone who hurt my kids. I mean, regular folks wouldn’t. But that doesn’t mean I should. I should not kill. It’s wrong. The state should not kill. It should behave better than me.

It is wrong to kill in the name of religion. Look, you don’t have to believe Islam is a religion of peace. I don’t believe any religion is a religion of peace. I think Islam is a tough religion. The demands of it are onerous, particularly for women. I’ve spoken on these issues in my real life and on this blog for decades. Just like with black lives matter, I’m glad you guys have finally woken up to injustice as you see it. Because a lot of the muslim world has grave injustices in their systems. They must be changed. But much like with black lives matter, you are doing it all wrong.

I grew up with daily talk of who was killed in war. Since 1979 – and it hasn’t taken much of a break since then. Trust me, you don’t want that life. Even if you aren’t the one in the war, when people around you are devastated at the loss of – well, everything, it’s not something you’d wish on anyone. Those who believe that war is simple are lucky. You’ve never seen it except on tv and your heart has been hardened by the 24/7 news cycles where this is just what you watched while eating your lucky charms. It isn’t your fault that you honestly don’t get it. Your ability to toss aside humans who aren’t like you comes from privilege. It will never be you. I mean, you don’t really think you’d be the one killed in a gay bar in Orlando, do you? No one really believes it will happen to them. And, if you are truly afraid it is because it gives you a sense of importance – you are important enough that someone wishes to do you harm. And our government has convinced us to keep giving up freedom in order to feel even safer. (You realize it’s a trick, right?)

Killing is wrong.

War can kill even those who survive. I am lucky that my parents left before the Soviet invasion. But so what? I am not better than all those children who died during that time, or the young adults brutalized by the Taliban. I would not have been a child bride because my parents are well-educated, but being educated made you even more susceptible to being murdered. I probably would not have memorized the Quran, so the killers in Dhaka surely would have slaughtered me first. I know these things. I know that my existence is pure luck. This makes me less prone to fear things I should otherwise fear. Like random gunmen. Or my second amendment. Or Donald Trump. When you realize your life is a gift, that it could have been taken away just like the lives of millions of others who are just like you, who look like you and speak the same language as you, you tend to believe that killing is just really, really wrong.