Guest Blogger: How to Save a Life

Jeremy is The Spider-Pan, host of The Neverland Podcast. He enjoys comics, Disney, video games, Disney, movies, and Disney. He also likes long walks on the beach in the rain while dancing around light poles.

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Life is important, in fact it’s sacred. We all want to preserve life, no matter which side we sit on the the question of when it begins. We could go in circles discussing that issue, and that’s not what I’m here to do.

Over the course of my time as a guest Tweeter, Facebook Editor, and guest blogger, I’ve tried to share some ways that you yourself can do a small thing that makes a big difference in the life of another. Today I want to show you how you can save a life. It may even help you with a difficult decision you may be facing or might face in the future.

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I want to tell you about an organization and place that’s called Rachel House. Here is a place that wants to help women make informed decisions, and even get the father’s involved. They provide free clinical services like pregnancy tests and ultrasounds. They offer mentoring and counseling to those making a decision and also to those that choose life.

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They offer a 20 week education to both the mother and father with holistic care and preparing the couple to become parents. After the class, they connect the parents with a mentor to help through that first year with their child.

They encourage men to step up as fathers.

The Rachel House Fatherhood program began in January of 2018. After conducting a 6-month pilot program late in 2017, it was discovered that the fathers of babies were very open to having someone to talk with. They too are impacted by the pregnancy of their girlfriends. Volunteer male advocates meet individually with each man that accompanies the woman when she comes in for the pregnancy test. Couples are reunited in the ultrasound room and the men are encourage to voice their support of the pregnancy. The program is growing rapidly. Curriculum is currently being reviewed to begin a male education program for dads.

If the parents are leaning toward abortion, they will take the time to talk to you about the procedure options, the costs, and even the risk factors involved. They recognize the choice that’s involved and they want women to know everything they can before deciding on a path. They’ll even assist with adoption with a representative.

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All of these services are offered with no charge. In order to offer such services, however, they rely on donations.

If you can’t fit a donation into your budget, they also thrive on volunteers willing to give a little of their time to help be advocates, mentors, and educators.

There any many ways that you can get involved in making difference in people’s lives. Do something positive and constructive and see the world change. You can be a hero to someone you may never meet. The choice is yours.

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Guest Blogger: One Way You Can Make a Difference

Jeremy is The Spider-Pan, host of The Neverland Podcast. He enjoys comics, Disney, video games, Disney, movies, and Disney. He also likes long walks on the beach in the rain while dancing around light poles.

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Imagine a young girl, perhaps someone you know.  She’s young, pure, innocent, and perhaps a bit trusting.  She’s living with her family in poverty, though she still has hopes and dreams of a future.  She wants to love and be loved, treated like a princess, respected and honored in a life of her own making.

One day a stranger comes along and offers her work and a way to support her family.  The stranger offers to take her somewhere that she can make all of her dreams come true.  She’s excited and trusts this stranger completely.  Her family sees a way to combat the poverty that they live in and so they permit the stranger to take her away.

They cross the border into a new country and she’s excited about what her new future will bring.  She journeys through a nice community as she thinks all her dreams are coming true.

And then she is brought inside a decrepit ruin of a house.  She’s shoved into a room with a mattress on the floor.  The stranger she has trusted takes money from another man, breathes a sigh of relief and quickly leaves, abandoning her to her new master.  She’s just been trafficked, and has become a slave.

She is beaten, drugged, and forced to do unspeakable things.  Her will is broken, her dreams die, and she learns that resistance only brings more pain.

All this can be changed when the right person is there at the right time to intercept her and save her from this horrid crime.

Love Justice international is a non-profit organization that began as Tiny Hands International in 2004 when they opened up an orphanage in Nepal.  In just two years they began rescuing children on the borders of India and Nepal, and begin work in Bangladesh.  Since then they have grown to reach Africa and other places in impoverished countries where children are trafficked, and they’ve helped bring these criminals to justice.

The human trafficking industry is one of the greatest injustices in the world today—and it continues to grow at a devastating pace. Women and children are either kidnapped or lured by false offers of marriage or employment, and then they are sold into human trafficking.

They are smuggled to another country where they are forced to work as prostitutes, laborers, or similar roles. Our primary strategy for fighting the human trafficking industry is to monitor national borders and transit hubs, intercepting the victims before they are lost to the dark world of modern slavery. –https://www.lovejustice.ngo/our-heartbeat

They currently call this work, Project Beautiful.

We believe every life is beautiful.
She is a child of God, and He knows her by name.
She is worth everything to Him.
She is not just a victim.
She is human. She is precious.
She deserves to be free.
Because every life is beautiful. – https://www.lovejustice.ngo/projectbeautiful

For just $30 a month you can be a part of their efforts as they continue to help orphaned or abandoned children, and rescue women from their would-be slavers.  It is estimated that 21-45 million slaves are imprisoned globally, and so far they rescued over 15,000.  There’s a lot of work to be done, but they need funding.  This is just a small way that you can make a huge difference in the life of someone that you may never meet.

 

Same Sex Marriage Studies

Wyatt Craven is a guest blogger this week for the Show Me Justice Film Festival blog. Wyatt is a senior at the University of Central Missouri and is majoring in Digital media Production with an emphasis in sports broadcasting.

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Depending on the type of person, same sex marriage can be a very touchy subject in today’s society. While every person is entitled to their own opinion we can actually categorize people, and biased on their class, gender, and race we can determine how many people agree with the idea of same sex marriage and how many oppose it.

When questioning which social class is most likely to disagree with the idea of same sex marriage, it is a close race. The working, middle, and upper class each ranged within half a percent of each other, but when it comes down to it, the upper class has the highest amount of people who disagree. A possible answer to why this is, could be money. Not that every person with money is extremely conceded, however there is a stereotype that very wealthy people do slightly look down on those whom they feel are lesser than them.

Now if we take a look at those who were neutral on same sex marriage, lower class ranks the lowest with 12.9% and upper class ranks the highest with 16.9%. The second lowest was the middle class with 13.4% while the middle class comes next to the upper class with 14.6%. If we bring gender into the mix we can determine that 24% of upper class females agree with same sex marriage. There are a couple of factors that could explain why this is. It could either be the way that they were raised, such as their religious beliefs, or the idea that a cultured and mixed society is more progressive, and more progression means more business opportunity.

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While upper class women have the highest rate of agreement with same sex marriage, the combination of male and females create the highest disagreement of all of the classes. Nearly 42% of the upper class disagree with the idea. Males are the primary reason this percentage is so high. Over 25% disagreed, and the reason may be explained by environment. When saying that environment is the cause, it may not necessarily be the environment that they reside in at the moment, but rather the environment in which they were raised in. Things such as their family’s religious views or geographical location may play a big part. Although they have grown and become their own person, those beliefs and values may have stayed with them.

When race is brought into the equation, the number of people opposed can be broken down. White males in the upper class had the lowest number of people opposed, with 41.5%. Following this are the white females in the lower class with 51%. Next are African American females in the working class at 64%. Finally, with 68.8% of their population, African American males in the middle class show the highest amount of disagreement.

When studying the trends of agreement and disagreement, it is clear that the disagreement is higher. It also appears that more males are on the side of disagreement, therefore more females are on the side of agreement. All together it appears that the upper class was more in favor of the idea of same sex marriage while the lower class was more opposed.

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There were a couple terms that were used in earlier paragraphs that talked about people’s values and classes, however there were a couple major terms that were not ready to be brought up at that point. These terms are conservative and liberal. It is important to know who out of the people surveyed were conservative and who were liberals. The reason this is important is because it can help us better understand which group as a whole seemed to lean more against same sex marriage. It could be the majority of people were conservative and therefor disagreed with same sex marriage because they feared that it would take away from the cultural values that they have built. On the other hand, those who agreed with same sex marriage may be on the liberal side believing that it would make the country more progressive.

All in all, I would suggest researching this topic on your own to find out even more information that was not provided here. It was a very interesting study and although we don’t have all of the information, such as the political standpoint of every person who was involved with these surveys, we can make pretty good judgements as to who was who.

Child Labor in China

Wyatt Craven is a senior at the University of Central Missouri. Wyatt is in his 3rd year studying Digital Media Production. This week he will be guest blogging for the Show Me Justice Film Festival blog.

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Child Labor

Around the year 2000, there were more than 11 million children in China that were put to work. These children were all under the age of 16 which means this work violated their constitutional rights in China. The millions of children were forced to work in dangerous conditions and had to set their education aside in order to work. China is one of the most known country for child labor. Although this statistic is from 17 years ago, the problem is still prevalent today, and is continuing to grow in China.

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Many children begin work at a young age because of poverty. Along with poverty, many children also begin work to help support their families, and attempt to make their living conditions better. Another reason that child labor may occur is school fees. Many children feel that it is their responsibility to get themselves an education, so if they cannot afford schooling, they must find a way to pay for it. Children in China strive to get an education so they can move on and get a better job when they are older. Many schools suggest a work and study program in which children will work in order to gain money for their tuition. However, many schools do take advantage of the children and their work. According to the Human Rights Watch, “In 2004, Work and Study programs scheme for 12-16 year olds profited of more than $1.25 billion in a year.” It also seems that when children are in desperate need of money, they will work for less. Large companies and factories understand this so they target these children. After the children are hired, the companies can pay them less money and make a large profit for themselves.

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  Because these children are paid so little, many people compare child labor to slavery. These children are payed small wages, forced to work for long hours in dangerous environments, and are even had harsh punishments for small errors in their work. These children also are not provided healthcare of any kind. Children are also seen as small, weak, and helpless therefore they are taken advantage of through child labor. This can also lead to children being abused because of child labor.

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Despite all of the help from the United Nations International Children’s Emergency Fund (UNICEF), children all over China are still being abused through child labor. There are multiple ways that the Chinese Government can begin to take a stand on child labor. One example is to make elementary education free. This would allow children to not worry about having to work for the money to get their education. Let’s hope that the Chinese government will recognize how horrible this issue is and take a stand.

Student Athletes: “Amateurs” in a Professional Business

Brian Bestgen is a student at the University of Central Missouri majoring in Digital Media Production.  He is guest blogging for the Show Me Justice Film Festival as a part of a project for his Media Promotions course.

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The debate over whether or not to pay college athletes has been long been in the public discourse.  Officials in the NCAA and supporters of the idea that student athletes are amateurs say that college athletes are getting paid with an education.  Others say that the college athletes are not being compensated enough while the NCAA and the universities and the coaches make more and more money.

New Revenue Streams

It is strange that college athletes do not receive more compensation considering the increase in money being brought into the NCAA.  March Madness, the NCAA college basketball tournament, brings in over 1 billion dollars a year from advertisements.  Also the ESPN deal to broadcast the NCAA college football playoffs is worth 5.64 billion dollars for 12 years (roughly 470 million dollars annually).  On top of these tournaments, individual schools have deals with brands like Nike, Adidas, and Under Armour.  These contracts are worth millions of dollars.  With all these new revenue streams entering college sports, why do college athletes receive the same compensation as before these lucrative revenue streams brought billions of dollars to the NCAA?

Ed O’bannon Lawsuit

Another crazy part about the NCAA is that the students cannot make any money off their

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via http://www.wbur.org

likeness or celebrity.  It wasn’t until 2014 when former UCLA basketball player Ed O’bannon sued the NCAA for using his likeness in a video game in which they were making money while the students didn’t make any money.  It is pretty weird that some college athletes may not make enough money to play a game that their likeness is being used.

Student Athlete

Like I said earlier, a common defense of the current system is that the college athletes are getting paid with a scholarship and an education.  However, considering how much time college athletes spend practicing, staying in shape and getting stronger, and studying film, they don’t have a lot of time to spend on their classes.  The priorities of these college athletes seem to stay more towards the athletic side rather than the educational side.  This can be seen from the scandal from North Carolina when it was discovered that some of the football players were taking fake classes and given A’s and B’s but were not really doing any work.  Part of the educational experience is doing an internship.  This gives college students practical experience in their field and looks good on a resume.  College athletes are forbidden from doing internships.

With former college athletes continuing to speak out against the current NCAA system, along with voices from the media and current coaches, it does seem possible that there could eventually be a change in college sports.  This will be especially true if the NCAA and the universities continue to make more and more money.  Until then, we will continue to watch these “amateur” athletes competing in a professional business.

 

 

Guest Blogger: Justin Dean – Justice, Not Oppression

Justin Dean is a student blogging for the Show Me Justice Film Festival. Justin is a senior studying Digital Media production at UCM. He is not a fan of mainstream hyper-partisan narratives, but enjoys nuanced conversations and coming to understand both sides of any debate.

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Last night before bed I saw a harrowing video showing a hateful, twisted man harassing Senator Mitch McConnell at a diner when the senator went home to Kentucky. This is not the first time an outraged buffoon has harassed a public employee over a political disagreement. In June White House Press Secretary Sarah Huckabee Sanders was asked by the owner of a restaurant to leave because she is a public employee. Representative Maxine Waters, in a now infamous speech after that last incident, called upon her entire base to confront and harass public employees for daring to work within the Trump administration.

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Photo: nypost.com

Let’s set one thing straight right off the bat: we are not a nation of cavemen. We are a nation of Americans. Let’s start acting like it.

The First Amendment guarantees our right to say whatever we want about anybody we want, and that’s a good thing. The First Amendment is why you can openly and baselessly call Donald Trump a Nazi, and it’s also why I can call Maxine Waters a domestic terrorist for inciting the harassment of public employees because their political views are different than her own (the dictionary definition of terrorism). If you have ever had a conservative tell call you the “regressive left,” this is exactly why.

Activism does NOT mean terrorism.

<> on November 1, 2017 in Washington, DC.

Photo: CNN.com

You can’t change someone’s opinion on a political subject by name-calling, threatening, or harassing them. Change comes through an honest, two-way conversation. If your opinion is right, use facts and research to prove it. If your opinion is wrong then someone else will show you facts and research to correct you, and that’s NOT a bad thing. Being wrong is nothing to be ashamed of or too prideful to do, it is an opportunity to grow into a better and more intelligent person.

If a climate skeptic comes up to you and calls you a sheep or an NPC for believing in the research that you have done into the subject, would you even think twice about blowing them off? Would you listen to them explain why they believe that? No. You wouldn’t. 90% of people won’t pay any attention to someone who comes up to them and calls them names for their political beliefs. In the same way, that climate skeptic won’t give your ideas a second thought if you start the conversation by calling them a Nazi or a racist.

Let’s not forget the man who opened fire on the Republicans’ baseball practice last June. I can’t even fathom how he thought going that far would change public support of his positions. In America, we don’t settle our differences with bullets and censorship, with terrorism, we settle our differences with a ballot box, with town halls, with republicanism and democracy.

Side note, please stop calling America a “democracy.” We have a constitutional democratic republic.

Guest Blogger: Justin Dean – Equity in the Face of the Law

Justin Dean is a student blogging for the Show Me Justice Film Festival. Justin is a senior studying Digital Media production at UCM. He is not a fan of mainstream hyper-partisan narratives, but enjoys nuanced conversations and coming to understand both sides of any debate.

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In any social justice conversations there are three common talking points that come up:

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1) women are oppressed
2) non-whites are oppressed
3) white men have it good
While there are certainly instances of the first two, that last one is at best a gross oversimplification and at worst an example of “the deep state” brainwashing the “NPCs.”

All jokes aside, there are some issues that simply affect men more than women. And no, supporting men’s issues doesn’t mean you are anti-women or can’t support women’s issues too; there is PLENTY of love to go around! I would like to clarify again here that I am in no way diminishing women’s rights or the rights of any other social class (in fact I staunchly oppose the deconstruction of society into social classes altogether) but if we must divide issues by race and gender, we must divide equally.

The largest systemic oppression that men face is the distribution of justice in the courts. Professor Sonja Starr of the University of Michigan School of Law found in a 2012 study that, controlling for arrest offense, criminal history, and more, men in US federal charges face double the rate of conviction and 63% longer sentences than their women counterparts. This is a six times larger disparity than the racial disparities that she found in an earlier study. This means that if a white woman, with three priors, is caught with $10,000 worth of weed (~37 grams), and a white man with the same history does the same, all else being equal with the only distinguishing factor being their biological sex, the woman may face and eight month sentence and $5,000 fine, while the man may face and additional 5 months and $3,000. Like most statistics, these numbers are an average and not a blanket statement, but the disparity is jaw-dropping, and so many people in America want to sweep this under the rug because “white men have it so good.”

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Photo: theredpillmovie.com

Another stunning example of judicial disparity against men is in custody battles. In situations where a man and woman with a child divorce or separate and go to court to fight for custody of their child, 79% of cases end in the woman receiving sole custody, whereas 13% end in joint custody and only 7% end in the man having sole custody. These numbers are from Canada because I couldn’t find the hard numbers for the USA, but our cultures are so greatly similar and the family values which influence our courts are nearly indistinguishable. The Canadians go on to state that 87% of divorces end with the child living solely with their mother, while 3% live with their mother mostly and their father partly. I grew up in that 3%, and it was hard. But I would never go back and change it so that I stayed with my mother only. Nor am I saying that all, or even most of the time kids should stay with their fathers. But surely in more than 20% of divorce cases the child is not better off without their father in their life. Every child deserves both a mother and a father, regardless of how rough that situation is to manage.

I highly recommend that everyone watch ‘The Red Pill” by my personal hero, Cassie Jaye. The documentary follows Cassie on her feminist journey into the world of Men’s Rights Activists and she comes out of it with some astounding stories.

When considering the injustices of the world, don’t forget about the unspoken ones.

Media, Millennial’s, and Climate Change

Brian Bestgen is a student at the University of Central Missouri majoring in Digital Media Production.  He is guest blogging for the Show Me Justice Film Festival as a part of a project for his Media Promotions course.  He is also a millennial.

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Climate change has been a topic of debate for decades, with the scientific community seemingly overwhelmingly saying that man-made climate change

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via Pew Research

is real and an issue.  Yet despite this there is a divide within the American people over whether we believe it and whether humans are responsible for climate change.  However, millennial’s seem warmer to the idea that man-made climate change is a problem.  According to a Pew Research poll, 93% of ALL Democrats believe climate change has an effect on the United States.  It also shows a change in views between older Republicans and millennial Republicans as over half of millennial Republicans believe climate change is effecting the United States.  This also shows that millennial’s are the first generation to have a majority of people within the demographic believe in climate change.  A part of the reason for this change may be attributed to how it is being presented to the new generation and the ability of new technology to show the effects.

On Tuesday, Greenpeace shared a music video on YouTube that helps demonstrate one way modern technology and strategy helps inform the new generations on the issue of climate change.

The music video is effective because it presents these stunning shots of the Antarctic and the animals that live there in a way that could only be presented now.  It gives the audience a connection to what needs to be saved and why it’s important.  Also present in the music video is an original song from Thom Yorke from the famous band Radiohead.  The quality of the music accents the shots being shown and the big name of the person creating the song helps bring people in to watch it.

Other examples of this is the BBC series Planet Earth and The Blue Planet which showcases similar breathtaking shots over several episodes and all throughout the plant.  The series also brings in composers like Hans Zimmer’s contribution to the Blue Planet II soundtrack.

Perhaps the most known early example of using popular media to bring the message to the world is the 2006 documentary An Inconvenient Truth.  This was a documentary lead by former Vice President and Presidential candidate Al Gore really bringing the importance of the issue to a wide audience.  There was also a sequel to this a decade later that took a look at how close we are to an energy revolution.

Another popular documentary lead by a famous figure is Before the Flood which was produced and narrated by Hollywood superstar Leonardo DiCaprio.  The documentary also brought in a popular composer in Nine Inch Nails front man Trent Reznor.

All these projects packaged these important facts in a way a scientific study cannot.  They are able to use modern technology to present stunning shots and sounds to immerse the audience in nature and in what we are all trying to protect.  They also bring in popular names in order to help bring in a larger audience so more people hear the message.

Have you watched any of these documentaries/videos?  Do you have a favorite?  Any other media out there you think had a big impact?

All people are as equal as the teeth of a comb

What is racism and how it came to happen?

By: Ahmed Alzahrani is a graduate student at the University of Central Missouri, pursuing a Masters in Mass Communication. He is a guest blogging for the Show Me Justice Film Festival.

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There is no easy methodology that can be employed to answer the question of what is racism and how it came to happen. Racism is unlovely. It has separated people based on our ethnicity and skin colour. It occurs at situations where people think that it’s quite good to treat others with brutality as we carry on with our daily lives.
Racism is not good and it occurs in couple of different means. At times you can over hear it when people are making jokes or hating on one of the ethnic groups. Or even when people bully others and call them racist names because they are of different race. You even see it when people make offensive and negative comments online, write racist graffiti on public places simply because we don’t belong to the same race.
Why is it that people approach something indefinite such as race, something that we cannot choose, can make us better than other people? Racism is complicated and confusing, evidently it is not usually based on the skin colour as many people believe it to be. For example, the white supremacists who held rally recently hate the African-Americans who opposed them.

Racism comes as result of complicated interplay between people’s attitudes, practises and also social and moral values. Racism occurs in many forms since it’s deployed in the deeds of people and their institutions. It can take forms such as the use of abusive language, bullying and harassment or use of negative comments towards a specific ethnic group.

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Despite that racism can lead to acts of physical abuse and disagreements, it can also lead to some people being excluded from getting involved in employment , education and other social activities. Also racism can happen in some institutions that have set aside some harsh policies that drawback specific groups. The belief that some ethnicity is superior or inferior to others is sometimes employed to manifest the differences. At most cases racism is illustrated through unconscious preconception. In that racism operates to bring differences in access to power/ruling, opportunities and resources in different racial and ethnic groups.
In today’s world racism is one of the key problem. In our current world there are many people who are not aware whether there are many cases of racism in our work forces and in other social activities. There has not been to racism as it was decades ago. It’s in very much existence and it’s the high time people need to come to full realization on how to curb this world key issue. In many cases people belief racist individuals were brought up in racist environment. Government, anti-racism groups and institutions are among many other basic causes of the racism. All in all, every person is born innocent and not racist “All people are equal like the teeth of a comb”, but as they grow they learn on how to become racist if they are exposed to racist institutions and many other hidden activities.

 

 

Social Justice in Islam

Ahmed Alzahrani is a graduate student at the University of Central Missouri, pursuing a Masters in Mass Communication. He is a guest blogging this week for the Show Me Justice Film Festival.

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Did you know Islam embraces Social Justice and teaches the importance of implementing it in our daily lives? Social justice is the equal distribution of resources and opportunities, with no prejudice as pertains to gender, race, social class, religion, etc. However, there is no upper hand of a rich Muslim over a poor Muslim except in terms of righteousness. Islam calls for social justice for non-Muslims as well in terms of peace, treatment and rights. 

In the Quran, God promises men and women equal reward if they have belief and are righteous:                              “Whoever does righteousness, whether male or female, while he is a believer – We will surely cause him to live a good life, and We will surely give them their reward [in the Hereafter] according to the best of what they used to do.” [Noble Quran 16:97Also, Islam teaches the importance of equality and gradually abolished slavery. Only belief and obedience to God is taken into account, not race, social classes, etc. Prophet Muhammad said,  “O mankind, your Lord is One and your father is one. You all descended from Adam, and Adam was created from earth. He is most honored among you in the sight of God who is most upright. No Arab is superior to a non-Arab, no colored person to a white person, or a white person to a colored person except by Taqwa (piety).” the Quran said “O mankind, indeed We have created you from male and female and made you peoples and tribes that you may know one another. Indeed, the most noble of you in the sight of Allah is the most righteous of you. Indeed, Allah is Knowing and Acquainted.” [Noble Quran 49:13And, Islam clearly mandates non-Muslims should enjoy fair rights as well. Prophet Muhammad stated, “Beware! Whoever is cruel and hard on a non-Muslim minority, curtails their rights, burdens them with more than they can bear, or takes anything from them against their free will; I (Prophet Muhammad ) will complain against the person on the Day of Judgment.” Although God has presented us with methods of how to lead our lives in a way that does good to us and the society in whole; there is still a lot of injustice due to bad choices made by those who choose to remain ignorant. However, finally on the day of Judgment, justice will prevail. God promises us that everyone will be dealt with justly and nothing – not even the weight of a mustard seed- shall be forgotten:

Islam is not only a religion, but a system of social justice pertaining to the needs of everyone. The goal is to bring harmony and cohesion in each and every society in the world. We all strive to be just and ensure each person is receiving their rights as God intended.