Opinion: The Effect of Islamophobia

Protests featuring signs that fight against Islamophobia

Photo Illustration

Protests featuring signs that fight against Islamophobia

I have always hated how people would mock my religion. They would chant “Allah” as if it were a joke, which I have never found amusing. It is abhorrent how my God and my fellow Muslims are treated with such disrespect. 

I choose to respect all other religions, and I believe that everyone else should do the same. However, my religion receives so much hostility and bullying, and the rise in Islamophobia continues to go up. Since 9/11, Islam has been unfairly demonized and Muslims stigmatized. Muslim youths in the West have grown up scrutinized, shamed, and bullied just because they follow their religion and faith. 

I have heard the word “terrorist” used in reference to Muslims far too often, not just to me but to many around me. Muslims continue to be the target of hate, bullying and discrimination as a result of the myths that Islamophobic people and the media promoted in the years following the 9/11 attacks. People sometimes describe my community as though it were a tumor growing inside of America. The only remaining question is whether we are malignant or benign. A malignant tumor is completely removed, whereas a benign tumor is just monitored. Because the question is flawed, none of the options make sense. Muslims, like all other Americans, aren’t a tumor in the body of America, we’re a vital organ.

Muslims make up about 2 billion people worldwide, and the number is expanding quickly. However, there is still a widespread misunderstanding of Islam among many people, which has given rise to Islamophobia and even violence against Muslims. Islamophobia is not a Muslim problem, it is an affront to our common humanity. It is a fundamental violation of human rights and human dignity. 

To best understand what it means to be Islamic is to understand the definition of Islam-peace, surrender. Muslims believe that Islam teaches us to achieve peace in our lives by surrendering to the will of God and living up to the teachings of the prophets. We are created in God’s image and are called to represent God on earth spiritually, morally, and physically. Islam, Judaism, and Christianity share a number of beliefs in common, such as the concept of a single God, the prophets’ legacy, multiple biblical events, and the idea that peace is the ultimate goal.

Islam is often misunderstood for a number of reasons. First off, a common misconception is that if you’re Muslim, you must be Arab, and vice versa. This is untrue. Muslims who are not Arabs make up more than 1 billion people worldwide. In addition, there are a large number of Arabs who are Jewish or Christians. 

Another misconception is that us Muslims support violence and terrorism, which rest assured is not true. Most Muslims are peaceful, religious, nonviolent individuals who want to live lives that respect God. Islam is described as a religion of peace by Muslim academics who read the Qur’an, and the majority of Muslims concur, preferring to let others live as they like. The media has sensationalized a multiple different violent extremists’ viewpoints such as the Taliban and the Al Qaeda/Al Qa’ida as the authentic interpretation of Islam as a religion aiming to impose its will on the world which is genuinely sad to see.

This rising hatred of Islam according to research from Assaults against Muslims in U.S. surpass 2001 level has shown that the resentment against Islam has affected millions of Muslim lives as many live-in fears of hate crimes, threats and many females also fear getting their hijabs pulled off in public.

Even in the United States, Muslims are not considered “real Americans” by many people. Several cases have been reported where Muslims are harassed or sometimes even assaulted and told to “go back to their countries” when most of them are American-born. There is no specific solution to counter and end bigotry and discrimination against Muslims in the west but small steps as a society will help raise awareness and lead communities to at least understand what Islam is. The Islamophobia industry is fueled with misinformation and hatred against Islam.

Interacting with local Muslims can help debunk certain myths about the religion and will guide people to realize that not all Muslims are terrorists, but instead regular people.