[Photo Credit: Robert Sabo/NY Daily News]

In the last year, the common rhetoric used to control and influence the vast population of the United States has been clear: ISIS and Islam are a threat, and we must do all we can to stop it.

Lately, unfiltered propaganda propelled by politicians with ulterior motives and a seemingly nonexistent conscience has had a significantly detrimental effect on the masses of innocent people upon whom it targets.

The parameters defining what is good and what is evil has been stretched thin to the point where any poor soul who falls under a giant umbrella category is dubbed dangerous.

This, coupled with the massive terror caused by the Islamic State in the last year, led the world to see a sharp increase in the number of hate crimes and attacks against Muslims.

Also, against Sikhs. And Indians. And anyone that even remotely resembles “Islam.”

These attacks aren’t simply occurring in obscure backlands or in the E.U.—they’re happening in our neck of the woods as well. Recently, two teenage boys in the Bronx were charged with assault in the form of a hate crime after violently attacking Mujibur Rahman as he walked his nine-year-old niece home from school.

These boys are 14 and 15 years old—old enough to realize the gravity of what they had done, but failed to acknowledge the consequence as they pummeled an innocent, helpless man to the ground right before the eyes of a young girl.

This particular story strikes home because it occurred just blocks away from where I live. The young girl in question even attends my former elementary school, whereas the family themselves live in my community, a little-known gem in the Southeast part of the Bronx where multiculturalism is alive and kicking.

It is unsettling to think that even in the 21st century, where the world is seeing globalism at its peak and the immigrant population in America outnumbers the rest, two young people from the heart of New York City could fall under the spell of hateful words.

Nabila Khatun, a student at American University who is directly related to the victim, shared her sentiments on the terrible incident.

“My uncle is doing good and so is my niece. The police actually caught the guys a few days ago. I don’t know the exact details, but my mom said they were two teenage boys. The teens are facing multiple charges but personally I am just sad that one can have this much hate at such a young age and hope they are educated and learn from all this,” she said.

Despite the attack, it is heartening to realize that propaganda has not impacted all spheres of influence. In response to the incident, community leaders rose to the occasion, protesting far and wide and loudly condemning the attack.

“As of now, I just want to thank everyone for their support, including sharing his story via social media. I truly believe all the community support we received and the amazing media coverage led to finding my uncle’s attackers,” Nabila said.

She highlighted how the NYPD made incredible strides during the investigation, maintaining professionalism and providing extensive help.

It pains me to think as though the Muslim community should feel that they must be vocal in advocating against terrorism, but it seems like it is often the case. Rather than repeating the obvious—“we do not condone the actions of terrorists”—we must continue to live our day-to-day lives, hold our heads up high and refuse to associate ourselves with such evil, as well as extend helping hands to our brethren.

May Rahman make a full recovery, and best wishes to his impressionable young niece who I hope remains optimistic about the future despite these events.