According to the University of California Berkeley’s Center for Race and Gender, the term Islamophobia is “a contrived fear or prejudice. . . directed at a perceived or real Muslim threat. . . in economic, political, social and cultural relations.” Since the terrorist attacks in the United States, a wave of anti-Muslim incidents has led to different types of violence toward these communities, and prejudices have increased more and more. According to my friend Hashim, Islamophobia is real; some people who contribute to this racism believe that “Islam is a religion that supports terrorism.”
An article called “6 rules of Islamophobia in America” says, “A case of [Islamophobia] was when pundits and politicians decried San Francisco 49ers quarterback Colin Kaepernick for kneeling during the National Anthem. They were quick to baselessly blame this alleged act of ‘un-Americanness’ on the influence of Kaepernick’s Muslim girlfriend. ”
I interviewed my friend Hashim. He was born in Yemen and has been living in San Francisco for three years. And I asked him, “What do you think about Islamophobia?”
He told me, “I think it is stupid to judge a group of people based on what one of them did. That doesn’t mean all of them have to be like that and being scared of someone we don’t know is just like being scared of monsters from a scary story for kids, which don’t even exist.”
I asked, “Have you been a victim of this kind of racism?”
He said, “A lot of people assume that because I’m Muslim, I’m automatically a terrorist. It’s sad, scary, and angers me all at the same time that they think of me that way. I think that maybe educating at schools and the workplace about the stigma that comes with being Muslim should be promoted so people can see that it’s not right. Education is a great tool and I think that would be the best option, especially now with Donald Trump fueling this idea that being Muslim makes you more likely to be a terrorist. That makes it even more difficult for me to actually feel safe. It has exposed me to so much hate that now it is unavoidable.”
Donald Trump contributes to Islamophobia in his presidential campaign with racist phrases and beliefs. The Huffington Post lists these examples: “His temporary travel ban on six Muslim countries, calling Muslim people ‘terrorists,’ having racist cabinet members, like Steve Bannon (anti-Jewish) and Mike Flynn (anti-Muslim), and his statement that Muslim people are not American.”
Trump believes that most, if not all, people of color and immigrants are criminals, drug traffickers, terrorists, or other types of criminals. According to the Huffington Post, some people even believe that, “There’s a secret Muslim plot to take over and/or destroy the U.S. and/or western civilization from within.” This is not true. The United States is a diverse country and it is the diversity that makes it so strong. This diversity includes Muslim people and people of color.
There has always been hatred, but after Donald Trump contributed with his beliefs about different minority groups, many more people have begun to spread hatred and attack minority groups, especially the Muslim community.
Some examples of this hatred, according to “6 Rules of Islamophobia in America,” are the beliefs that, “All Muslims are terrorists,” “All brown people are potentially Muslim, and are therefore potentially terrorists,” and “Islam is not religion, it’s a violent ideology.” Because of these inaccurate beliefs, people are scared for no reason. These ideas are untrue and they spread hate.
There are many ways to fight Islamophobia. An article called “14 Ways You Can Fight Islamophobia” says some ways are to, “Note that incidents of Islamophobia are not isolated,” and “Equate racism, Anti-Semitism, and Islamophobia.” And you could also, “Request your local library to purchase good books about Islam and Muslims,” and “Report any incident of Islamophobia you encounter. Report, report, report!”
In the United States, people of many races are discriminated against because they are immigrants or come from other ethnic groups. However, Muslims are discriminated against because of their religious beliefs. Islamophobia: it’s real and it affects many people.