Why The Media Is Too Afraid To Talk About Islamophobia

Why The Media Is Too Afraid To Talk About Islamophobia

And how we need to start the conversation.
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With the rise of ISIS and recent terror attacks in the Middle East, Europe and the United States, hatred and discrimination against Muslim people have been at its peak since 9/11. Following an election full of beliefs behind "radical Islam" and attacks by self-proclaimed ISIS members, there has been an overall increase in the amount of hate crimes committed against Muslim people. And while the media is quick to tell the story of ISIS or "radical Islam," stories on Aleppo or overall Islamophobia are not getting the crucial attention they deserve.

Last Wednesday, Arab American Youtube star and prankster, Adam Saleh, videotaped himself being removed from a Delta Airlines flight departing to JFK International Airport after passengers complained they felt "uncomfortable" after overhearing Saleh speak to his mother in Arabic prior to taking off. In the video, Saleh, clearly upset, films himself being escorted and removed from his Delta flight. "We spoke a different language on a plane and now were getting kicked out," says Saleh. "This is 2016 and Delta Airlines is kicking us out because we spoke a different language," Saleh continues. In the background, several white passengers antagonize and mock Saleh and his travel companion as they wave to the pair yelling "Bye!" "I cannot believe my eyes. I spoke a different language and because of that, you feel uncomfortable," Saleh says in disbelief.

Delta defends their actions against Saleh stating that they removed two passengers who "sought to disrupt the cabin with provocative behavior, including shouting. What is paramount to Delta is the safety and comfort of our passengers and employees. It is clear that these individuals sought to violate that priority." While critics claim that this incident is just another one of Saleh's hoaxes, as he is known for publishing prank videos exploiting Muslim stereotypes; Saleh claims that this was not a hoax because he would not film it using his cell phone camera.

The dispute between Saleh and Delta has gotten much attention through social media, as supporters of Saleh created the #boycottdelta that's trended worldwide. Although the altercation has received a large social media following, there has yet to be any major media reports. Aside from two short stories from The New York Times and CBS News, the story is seemingly invisible to the national spotlight. This is because the mainstream media is too afraid and corrupt to fairly report Muslim stories.

It's not that the media is shy to report on racial tension; this past year, Black Lives Matter had a massive national spotlight and was even one of the trending topics for the 2016 Election. And while mainstream media was quick to report on ISIS and other terrorist attacks, stories on Muslim discrimination and hate crimes at home or the international atrocities committed at Aleppo have not gotten the attention they properly deserve. This is because news and media outlets have evolved from telling their audiences every story, to telling audiences only the stories they want to hear. This creates a biased and limited press and leads to an uneducated audience.

So how do we solve the issue of a biased media? While news companies are not going to change their stories for the greater good, they will report on subjects that they feel will capture their audience's attention. Therefore, it is up to us as the audience to trend and show our interest in these stories in order for a larger media source to report on it. While the change isn't easier, with enough support, we can make sure that everyone's story is getting the proper attention they deserve.

Cover Image Credit: Newsweek

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Being Busy Does Not Give Your Life Meaning, Having Imaan (Faith) Does

How many of us even care to ask Allah (swt) what He would like to see from us?
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Recently, I turned 21, and for the first time ever in my life, I felt that during the 20th year of my life, I truly lived. I experienced so much more than I ever thought I could, but I've been so busy making plans and coming through for them that by the time my 21st birthday rolled around, I realized... I haven't really accomplished my life's purpose. My ultimate life goal is to become a better Muslim, but with each passing day, I have pushed the purpose of my life aside for "new" experiences, like driving to weekly campus events, weekend outings with friends or working hours on end as the Editor-in-Chief of the Alpharetta Odyssey community.

I felt like an independent adult who didn't need anyone or anything. So, unconsciously, I lowered my standards of living in pursuit of these side quests to quench a thirst for fun with whatever pleasure life can offer. But purpose is imbued in ambition and success, so one without the other topples the entire foundation upon which life is structured. I lost sight of my purpose to become a better Muslim, and in turn, my life lost meaning.

There were many points throughout the year that I felt depressed, whether due to personal struggles or external conflicts. These issues went on for quite some time, and I never really resolved them so much as waited for them to somehow resolve themselves. I didn't reach out to Allah (swt) or raise my hands in dua for help, for strength, for guidance, and because of that, I made some decisions stemming from my own crude feelings of inadequacy with situations, myself and others.

I distanced myself from people, because suddenly, there was no clear standard I could confidently judge our relationships by. I busied myself instead, upping my goals for what I wished to accomplish my final years of college but I have yet to follow through all of them despite multiple attempts. I have pushed and prodded myself to overcome silly fears, but I couldn't find a tether of rope to hold onto or any point to direct my feelings at.

I was lost. What was I doing? Why was I doing these things? What was the point? What did any of this accomplish?

Then, I realized, the tether to our lives is Allah (swt). He never let me down all these years, yet since I felt cocky and independent, I loosened my hold on the rope of imaan. And in doing so, I lost myself.

I created lots of memories of little things that have not built me into a better person. I amassed lots of stuff that will be dumped into the trash, sooner or later. I've traveled so many new places yet always left feeling like something was missing. That something is still missing. Every new morning I open my eyes, I continue to feel like my life lacks a purpose, because I've been ignoring the very reason I was born: to love and follow the commands of Allah (swt).

He handpicked where I would be born, which time I would first open my eyes to the world and to whom I would call my mother, father, brother and sister. He has woven fate in my favor, slid chances to repent under my door and has always been present during every ugly and beautiful moment I've experienced. From that, I've realized, all the life moments I have been most attentive and loving of Allah (swt) are the best memories I have. These are the moments I recall when I want to soothe my soul of loneliness or cheer myself on in times of joy. These surmount to the reasons I cling to my imaan desperately in times of need and reach out to grasp it more tightly in times of success.

SEE ALSO: 3 Astronomical Revelations Of The Holy Quran

But, despite that, I have yet to climb higher...

Because as Muslims, we pray five times a day, but how many of us continue to sit after prayer to raise their hands in due and just talk to Allah (swt)?

How many of us go to Allah (swt) first when we have a problem, rather than ranting and backbiting to our friends?

How many of us think of how Allah (swt) would feel about something before we decide to do that thing?

How many of us even care to ask Allah (swt) what He would like to see from us?

Instead, we turn to the physical manifestations besides us. We ask people what they would like to see from us. We change ourselves so others will love and accept us, have fun with us, become close to us. We turn away from Allah (swt) the second we forget our purpose in life.

And what's worse is, we assume because we can't see Him or hear His reply that He's somehow irrelevant. That all the things that make sense because of Allah (swt) don't matter anymore because you don't really care. It doesn't concern you. And then we wonder, why don't I get along with so and so? Why don't I care about this person or that thing? Why does my life look so happy on social media but right after the moment ends, I feel empty and like something is missing?

Your life may look busy and fulfilling from the outside. Your life can be chock-full of amazing people or just a handful of close friends. Your life can be Gucci galore or countryside cottage. Your life can be complex or simple. But either way, each life lived with feel the same: meaningless — without imaan. So don't let go of the tether that ties you to Allah (swt). Hold on tight, and keep pulling yourself close, step by step.

InshAllah, your efforts will pay off.

Allah (swt) says, "For every step you take towards me, I will take 10 towards you. Walk towards me, and I will run towards you. — Hadith Qudsi
Cover Image Credit: WikiMedia

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31 Thoughts Muslims Have While Praying In Public

I really wish this floor was carpeted.
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1. Alright here we go, Dhuhr ends in an hour.

2. Pulling out my portable prayer rug, heck yes, we ballin today fam

Places You'll Pray, @ummbelaal

3. Okay focus, we’re going to make this one count.

4. Qibla, where is the Qibla. Compass says it’s this way but MuslimPro says it’s the opposite way??

5. I wonder if people will think I’m leading a yoga class like the dude on Twitter6. I really hope no one decides to harm me or start yelling at me

7. JK, the plant I’m praying behind is pretty big, so I should be hidden

8. Wait, why am I relying on a plant for protection, Allah will protect me

9. How did I fit behind this plant?

Places You'll Pray, @selhii

10. FOCUS

11. Deen over Dunya

12. Wait is someone playing Taylor Swift

13. Aw heck no, I am not praying to the tone of Bad Blood

14. Why is this song such a bop

15. FOCUS

16. Wait what rakat am I on?

17. Oh no

Places You'll Pray, @shahid_o_

18. OK, we’re reading Surah Ikhlas, Bismillah

19. Can’t wait to finally use the bathroom after this

20. Wait will I get home before Asr ends?

21. FOCUS

22. I really wish this floor was carpeted

23. Sujood, here we go

Places You'll Pray, @farah_harith

24. Should I put my prayer mat in the wash?

25. IS THAT DUDE STARING AT ME

26. I can’t look, I really hope not

27. It’s OK, we’re good, have faith in Allah

28. You are stronger than this

29. Allah created you strong

30. Dang, I am so proud of myself

31. But next time, we’re going to find a bit more a secluded place


*All pictures taken from Instagram account @placesyoullpray (check them out, they're super cool)

**These are taken from my own stream of consciousness. All Muslims have different experiences and level of focus and this was done purely for entertainment purposes.

Cover Image Credit: Places You'll Pray, @a_wayfarer_//Instagram

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