Resist Islamophobia

Spring 2022

“Resist islamophobia”

Surabhi Maheshwari

Signed under an executive order by former president Donald J. Trump on January 27th, 2017 and ruled in favor of by the United States Supreme Court on June 26th, 2018 was the “Muslim Ban”, which barred entry of individuals from several Muslim countries into the United States. Supported by 47% of Americans, the act not only changed the lives of thousands of people and their relationships with their families and ancestors, but also validated the “structural marginalization of Islam in America” in light of Islamophobia. 

Islamophobia, or anti-Muslim hate, refers to the long-lived actions of demeaning religious faith and systematic discrimination through laws and policies against a specific group of Islam-followers, called Muslims. These sentiments, more likely than not come out in the form of hate crimes and extreme racism. Although fear against Muslims was prevalent for centuries as created by Western European Christians to acquire the Islamic Empire, this only heightened in the 19th – 21st centuries. Specifically, after the attacks of 9/11, hate crimes against Muslims based on attire and religiousness increased in the United States that although, subsided in the beginning of the following decade, but were again heightened by Donald Trump’s campaign in 2016 that fueled anti-Muslim sentiments. 

Most notably, it must be brought to attention that “Islam as a religion and culture have nothing to do with violence and terrorism”. However, contrary to the religious reality, larger groups of people believe that “any Muslim who becomes a terrorist is spiritually or theologically influenced by the religion of Islam”, completely overlooking the bigotry of terrorists. 

A report titled ‘Fear, Inc.’, published in 2011 by the Center of American Progress, brings to forefront the “Islamophobia network” in the United States which is a group of smaller organizations and wealthy donors, collectively termed as “think tanks”, that provide large amounts of funding to build hate and fear against Muslims using print and digital media that is further hyped and publicized by anti-Muslim organizations. Altogether,… seven charitable groups provided $42.6 million to Islamophobia think tanks between 2011 and 2009″. 

Despite being racially diverse, Islam today has been transformed into a racial category of its own based on the ideology of people. It is high time to work more systematically to intervene against Islamophobia by education and training communities on racial justice, bringing to the forefront Muslim leaders and activists, shifting media narratives from portrayal of non-religious Muslims to affirming religious practices of a faithful Muslim, pushing back on the idea of ‘Muslim’ as a cultural category despite being racially diverse and exploring the undertaking studies on the history of Islam in America.  

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *