Post-9/11 Muslim-American intolerance

Laura Myerly - Staff Writer, Photo courtesy of Google Images

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Today, the two biggest topics in the news are almost invariably the condemnation of racism and the fear of terrorist attacks. Unfortunately, there is an all too common negative trend that permeates the media and society: the idea that Muslims are the enemy and all Muslims are responsible for acts of terror. The belief that all Islamic people are dangerous is far from the truth. But sadly, this negative belief is one that too many Americans are quick to believe, which perpetuates the harassment and violence many peaceful Muslim-American people must face every day.

Violence against Muslim-Americans is prevalent, and blatant Islamophobia occurs across the country every day. An undeniable example of this took place inside an average bakery in Texas. On ABC News’ program “What Would You Do?,” a woman wearing a hijab walked into a bakery and requested service. An actor playing a bakery employee denied her service, and hidden cameras filmed the reactions of witnesses who were unaware they were being filmed. Bystanders allowed the obvious Islamophobia to take place, and some even privately congratulated the actor for refusing the woman service because she is a Muslim. An extreme example of Islamophobia occurred on Feb. 10 when three Muslim-American women wearing hijabs were found shot in the head in Chapel Hill, North Carolina.

“It’s really sad that people are still so racist when we talk all the time about fighting racism,” said sophomore Samantha Rosenberg.

The root of the problem comes down to ignorance. Since the 9/11 attack on the Twin Towers in New York City, an event orchestrated by the radical Muslim terrorist group Al-Qaeda, Muslims have become the go-to group to blame for acts of terror in the country, a response dubbed the War on Terror. However, Angel Rabasa, a political scientist, estimated that less than 125,000 of Muslims are extremists out of a global population of 1.57 billion. This means only 0.00008 percent of Muslims could be considered “terrorists.” According to an FBI study looking into terrorism, only six percent of all terrorist acts committed in the U.S. were committed by Muslims. In fact, many Muslim people in the U.S. were born and raised in America, only differing slightly from anyone else that wears religious garments.

This issue is about more than just a few uneducated Americans who half-heartedly rally against Islam as a whole; many politicians and even political parties have formed their basis on direct or indirect Islamophobia. For example, Michele Bachmann, former Republican member of the U.S. House of Representatives, has actively tried to outlaw the non-terrorist organization of the Muslim Brotherhood. Politicians who actively support anti-Islamic movements only serve to perpetuate the dangerous hatred of Muslims in society, spreading lies that hurt a whole population of nonviolent people.

While on one hand Americans and the media rally around anti-segregation and pursue a more peaceful society, the other hand shows an undeniable pattern of violence and hate against a group of people for its religious beliefs. Islamophobia cannot be allowed, for tolerating Islamophobia is akin to supporting the violation of the natural rights of other human beings.

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