After September 11, 2001, America was irreversibly changed forever. One of the biggest changes that 9/11 caused within our culture is the widespread proliferation of Islamophobia. Many Americans have little knowledge of the Muslim religion, and this ignorance causes them to make sweeping generalizations about Islam, usually based on the terrorist acts committed by extremist radicals. One example of this Islamophobia occurred on Monday, Sept. 14, in Irving, Texas.

A 14-year-old Muslim boy named Ahmed Mohamed brought a homemade clock to school to impress one of his teachers, but instead of receiving the praise and admiration he sought, Ahmed was met with skepticism and handcuffs. A teacher reported him for building what she thought was a bomb, and police officers proceeded to take him to the police station where they interrogated him, without legal representation, and without allowing him to make a call to his parents. Although police eventually dropped the charges against him, they refused to apologize, and Ahmed still had to serve a three-day school suspension……for building a clock

This incident, along with many others, highlights the Islamophobia that is rampant in American culture today, because it is highly doubtful that a white student in this same situation would have received the same treatment. While some horrible acts have been committed by radical Muslims, these extremists do not define the religion as a whole. Americans are so quick to forget the horrors that have occurred in the name of Christianity, yet the religion has not been defined by these acts, so why should it be any different for Islam? If people did their research, they would discover that Islam and Christianity are more alike than they are different.

A survey completed by The Economist in February 2015 showed that over 50 percent of Americans believe that the religion of Islam encourages violence among its believers, and quite frankly that is just not true. Although Christianity and Islam have some differences, because of all their major similarities they shouldn’t be viewed of as contrasting as they are often thought to be. The Quran does not promote violence any more so than the Bible does. Although Muslims follow this text, both religions regard the Old and New Testament of the bible as sacred texts, both promote morality and the following of the Ten Commandments, both believe in the same God, both recognize Jesus and the other major prophets (Noah, Abraham, Moses, etc), they both condemn Satan, and the list of similarities between them goes on. It’s unfortunate that there have been so many extremist Muslims who have misinterpreted what is the will of God, but many Americans like to conveniently forget that Christians are just as guilty as Muslims in this respect.

The Crusades, slavery, the genocide and displacement of the Native Americans — all of these were sanctioned or justified by Christianity. Between the three, they have resulted in pain, suffering, discrimination, and millions upon millions of deaths. Even now, much hate and terrorism has been the result of Christians misinterpreting God’s will. There are numerous Christian terrorist groups: The Army of God, The Covenant, the Sword, and the Arm of the Lord, Phineas Priests, and many more. Unbeknownst to many Americans, the Ku Klux Klan, arguably the most prominent hate group in America, is considered by their members to be a Christian organization. I say this not to devalue or demonize Christianity, but to show that every religion has its bad apples. It’s unfair for any religion, Islam included, to be defined by the evil extremists that commit acts of terror.

The American media and culture so often promotes Islamophobia while completely ignoring the hateful acts that are committed by Christians, and this is a huge injustice to Muslims because it leads to prejudice, discrimination, and hate crimes. This injustice committed by our culture leads to incidents like a genius 14-year-old Muslim boy getting suspended from school and arrested for trying to impress his teacher with a homemade clock. Americans, and the whole world for that matter, need to realize that Muslims do not deserve to be treated or viewed any differently than followers of other religions. So next time you see a Muslim at an airport, remember this article, and don’t expect him of being any more likely to commit an act of terror than a Christian, Jew, Buddhists, or any other person.