Islamphobia: A Different Kind Of Terror

Islamphobia: A Different Kind Of Terror

Prejudice and violence go hand-in-hand.

Post-9/11 American society is a fearful place.

Fear of violence is ever prevalent in this country, which has been rattled with acts of terrorism and hate. It seems that the easiest way to combat potential violence is to choose a target people and ostracize them until the threat subsides.

Over the last century, Americans have displayed prejudice, discrimination, and hatred towards Islam and Muslims as a way to blame the current crisis of violence and terror in America on a large population. This act of hatred is called Islamphobia. Islamphobic individuals engage in hatred towards all Muslims and stereotype Islamic culture as promoting radicalism, danger, extremism, and violence.

I read a story recently of a Muslim woman and her baby being kicked off of a bus because the bus driver did not want to drive them due to religious differences. This is discrimination and denying services to a person based on religion. However, this act of discrimination stems from Islamphobia as a cultural narrative of hatred towards marginalized groups.

The anti-Islam rhetoric of presidential candidate Donald Trump is an example of Islamphobia used to spark an emotional reaction among the American people. After the devastating events of terror at the World Trade Center in 2001, Americans are likely to always have an heightened response to the mention of terror. However, our emotional reactions are no excuse for targeting a specific religion, culture, or people.

Emotional reactions to horrific events exacerbate discrimination towards marginalized groups because we often stereotype to come to conclusions quickly. For instance, after the tragic shooting at the Pulse Night Club in Orlando, many quickly jumped on the bandwagon to call the shooting an act of Islamic terrorism. It was later discovered that the violence was a hate crime towards the LGBTQ community by an individual who questioned his sexuality.

There are groups of religious extremists who commit horrible, heinous acts of violence- but this should not reflect on the religion as a whole. To discriminate against those who practice a common religion because their religion has been used by extremists to justify violence is unfair. We should fear violence, we should fear terror, but we should never fear innocent people because of the religion they practice. Displaying prejudice towards Muslims and Islam is marginalizing to a large populous of peaceful people practicing religion.

The Washington Post featured an insightful article about human reaction to tragedy- and how easy it is to use our emotions to quickly point fingers and place blame on people who are not responsible. This leads to policies that incriminate large groups of people based on stereotype. As said in the article, "anger and sorrow are not substitutes for knowledge". Politicians like Donald Trump cater to extremist anti-Muslim views and appeal to the emotions of people during times of crisis. This is a terrible and inhumane way to run a country.

Americans have been manifested hatred towards minority groups since formation of our country. After 9/11, Muslims became the concentration of hate and have continued to endure prejudice ever since. In the past, the same religious hatred has targeted Jews and Catholics. Racially, we see the same phenomenon presently with African Americans, and previously with Japanese Americans.

Prejudice is not a new concept. The fear lies in prejudice policy. Donald Trump has gone on record saying that he wants to prevent Muslim immigrants from entering the United States for a period of time. This is not just prejudice, but an act of discrimination. Politicians will continue to feed off of extremist views and emotional responses to make policies that stem from stereotypes. This is not what our country stands for. No person deserves to feel underrepresented, feared, misunderstood, or unheard because of their religion.

I urge you to stand in solidarity with Islam. Do not simply post about it on Facebook, but make strides to act out equality in everyday life. Do not allow people to marginalize Muslims and refer to them as dangerous, violent, or criminal. Every group of people has extremists.

A Pew Research Study places the number of Muslims worldwide to be around 1.6 billion (or 23% of the world's population). So doing some basic math, we get that about .00006625% of the Muslim population are "extremist". - Pew Research Center

Islamphobia is prejudice. Prejudice and violence go hand in hand. To display hatred towards a group of people is just as damaging as violence. Please, think before you use stereotypes and work towards creating cultureal and religious equality in society.

"We did not blame Germans for Hitler. We did not blame Christians for the KKK. Do not blame Muslims for ISIS." - Unknown.


Learn more at:

Council on American-Islamic Relations

Washington Post Article

Pew Research Center

Cover Image Credit: Modern Diplomacy

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Women In Islam: Khadijah, The First Muslim Believer

An insight to one of the most influential women in Islam.

With so many people insisting that women in Islam have a very limited role in the religion (and in life in general), I thought it would be good for us to take a step back into history: the real version. Here are some facts about the life of Khadijah bint Khuwaylid (radiallahu anha), wife of the Prophet Muhammad, who you may not know was she was the first person to accept Islam, in 610 A.D.

Khadijah (ra) was rich. Her father was a successful businessman, and after he passed away in 585 A.D., Khadijah (ra) inherited his business. Rather than just sit and spend all the riches that her father had acquired, she stepped up and ran the business, making it even more successful and expanding it even more. In a world where her industry was dominated by men, she worked hard, and her business was so successful that she was called the Ameerat Quraish – the Princess of the Quraish, the tribe that she lived with. Along with this success came many rich and powerful suitors, but Khadijah (ra) turned them all away.

She wasn’t even interested in marrying again until she met the Prophet (pbuh). At the time, revelation had not been given to the Prophet (pbuh) yet, and he was actually one the merchants who worked under her for a period of time. She was the one who proposed to him in 595 A.D., stating that she admired that he had a good character, and he was “the best of his people and honest in speech.” The fact that she proposed to him was unorthodox at the time, and the fact that she was older than him and more wealthy than him was also uncommon at the time. All in all, their marriage was the epitome of going against the ideals of society.

After her husband was given the message of Islam in 610 A.D., he came home to her, worried and anxious. She was the one who comforted him when he was down. In fact, she was the first person ever to accept Islam. When the Quraish, the Prophet’s own tribe, ostracized him, Khadijah (ra) stood by his side and helped fund the living expenses of the entire group of Muslims that was living just outside the city. She passed away soon after this point, but her life impacted the Prophet (pbuh) for many years afterwards.

The idea that is important to understand here is that Muslim women are not to be put in a box. The vividness and importance of Khadijah’s (ra) life contrasts the mundane picture of Muslim women’s lives that is often depicted by media. By understanding and gaining a unique sense of knowledge about not only Khadijah (ra) but other Muslim women, people can understand the nuances of the religion itself. This, especially in the modern, politicized world, is vital to cooperation.

Cover Image Credit: Pexels

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The Oppression Of Women In Islam Must End

The story of a beautiful religion being disgustingly corrupted to favor oppressive men.

Since the beginning of time, there has been an established role of men and women in society; men the hunters, the bringers of the bounty if you will, and women the gatherers and the caretakers. Because we live in a constantly evolving world, there has been a significant change in these roles.

Many women have expanded out of the domestic sphere to become the main provider of their families, and men have adapted and have become the main caregivers. However, this idea only applies to modernized and “western” nations; in Islamic societies, women tend to be forced into stereotypically feminine roles, uneducated, as well as oppressed.

This subjugation of women in Islamic society is ironic because the Prophet Muhammad, the founder of Islam, was a feminist. Muhammad laid out the word of God, which simply said that women were equal to men, women were to be educated just like men, women were able to both own and inherit property just like men. Muhammad built Islam on exactly this doctrine of equality but it seems that current Islamic societies have reverted back to their 7th century Arabia state where women were treated similarly to property. Today, many Islamic societies oppress women using the very religion that was once used to promote equality among all.

Specifically, in war-torn Islamic nations, women tend to lack even the most basic human rights. For example, in a court of law, a woman’s testimony is worth half that of a man’s. Furthermore, if a woman were to be murdered the compensation for the family would be half that for the murder of a man. In Islam, women are permitted only one spouse; however, men may have up to 4 wives. In addition, the legal age for girls to marry is just nine years old, but boys are allowed only after the age of fourteen. As a result, pedophiles are able to exploit and subsequently leave young girls. These are only a few of the injustices women and girls face.

Here in the US, people (especially teenagers) relish in the freedom that is choosing what to wear without heavy restrictions; in most Islamic societies women lack this freedom. Women are more often than not required to wear headscarves outside of the house or in the presence of males with the exception of family members and husbands.

Although many people argue that it is the religion of Islam that requires this practice, this idea is easily disproven because the religion only calls for modesty, which can be respected with conservative clothing. Not only are women encouraged, if not required, to wear a headscarf, but they often are forbidden from indulging in stereotypically feminine acts, such as applying makeup or nail polish. This comes back to the idea of “protecting” the modesty of women. Traditionalists believe that women are more likely to bring shame to their families or end up getting hurt, i.e. raped, if they were to revel in these practices.

All over the world, women have a higher chance of experiencing domestic abuse than men do, and in the Middle East that rate is even higher. In December 2016, 40% of Israeli and Arab women aged 16-48 reported that they had experienced some form of intimate partner violence (IPV). Whether it be rape, physical, or emotional abuse, women in the Middle East have a higher chance of experiencing it.

For some time, women were powerful and had rights, but centuries later societies dominated by Islam manipulated the religion to favor men and silence women. What heightens the urgency of the situation is that most women in Middle Eastern nations are unwilling to admit that they have been abused by their spouses because it will further belittle women in the eyes of men. They tend to be prodded with invasive questions: what were you wearing, what were you doing, were you alone, why were you alone. Consequently, the abuse continues and so does the silence.

Not only are women kept muzzled, but they are also kept uneducated. One of the few ways the corrupt Islamic society is able to grow is through uneducated women. Because the women are uneducated, they often do not understand how their legal system works, and as a result cannot get help from outsiders, thus staying oppressed.

If women were ever to learn the true teachings of Muhammad’s Islam it would be considerably harder to squash women and keep them in the domestic sphere. Women would understand their true value and protest for their rights and privileges, thus destroying the hierarchy traditionalists have built for centuries.

For hundreds and thousands of years, women have lived under the burden of injustice that is caused by corrupt interpretation of Islamic teachings. Women have been abused, raped, and oppressed for so long that it is the only life they know; it is the teachings they pass on to their daughters: listen to the men in your life and you will not be punished. In this society, to be a woman is to be punished. If you are born female, you are nothing but a burden to your family - an idea that is planted in the heads of young girls from the day they learn to think or talk.

Oppression is not only widespread in Islamic societies but virtually in every one. Expensive birth control or abortion, the pay gap, maternity leave, rape culture, these are only a few ways women are controlled on a day to day basis. It is the job of women to join hands and fight the injustices they are subjected to.

Cover Image Credit: flickr

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