Of course, the only problem here is that such emails are merely propagating urban legends, myths, and hoaxes. And you, my friend, can either be the one extinguishing this fire or adding fuel to it.
One such example is an email forward claiming that a series of attached photographs show an 8 year old boy in Iran having his arm crushed by a car as punishment under Islamic law for stealing bread.
In these highly tense and polarizing times, it is important that we all refrain from forwarding hateful and demonizing messages about any group, especially when they are false. While most of us will be very careful before we forward something that is hateful about Jews or Christians, and rightfully so, we tend to lower our standards when it comes to Islam and Muslims. Islam is a religion of mercy and tolerance as it is followed and practiced by the overwhelming majority of its followers. Islam is not responsible for the crimes of its few misguided and criminal followers any more than Christianity or Judaism are responsible for WW1, WW2, the Holocaust, the Inquisitions, the Crusades, the atomic bomb, Vietnam War, Iraq War, etc. in which tens of millions of innocent people were killed. Every religious community has its bad apples; however, the religion itself cannot be blamed for the act of the bad few.
The photos about the boy and the truck are part of a false urban legend (see link below) that keeps getting forwarded by anti-Muslim bigots (and sometimes innocently by mis-informed people) in order to dehumanize and demonize Islam and Muslims. In reality, the photos are for a sickening street performance conducted for the entertainment of onlookers.
We should all be promoting tolerance and exposing the haters among us, regardless of the religion they claim. Of course, even if the photos have nothing to do with Islam, it remains reprehensible that anyone will exploit a boy to perform a circus-like show in order to make money.
Here are the photos and the comments attached as seen in various emails and blogs.
Subject: Fw: THERE ARE NO WORDS TO DESCRIBE THIS
THERE ARE NO WORDS TO DESCRIBE THIS!!!!!
MAY GOD HAVE MERCY ON US!!!
AN 8 year old child was caught in a market in Iran for stealing bread.
In the name of Islam he is being punished, his arm will be crushed by a car. He will loose forever the possibility to use his arm again.
Is this a religion of peace and love?
Another email stated:
An 8 year old child caught stealing bread in a market of Iran is punished in a public place, in the name of Islam!!!
His arm will be crushed and will lose its use permanently. A religion of peace and love, they say? How can anyone believe them when they commit such inhuman acts?
The email ends with:
No religion can ever justify such hideous crimes
Pass it on ......let the world know what's happening in the name of Islam...
Pass this to all, for public awareness.
It must be sent WORLD WIDE!
Even if this message is sent to you more than once, just keep on passing it on!
Now you know. Let's all be more careful before we get forward happy and end up dehumanizing a whole group of people.