Combating Islamophobia

The Threat to Muslim Americans and How We Can Fight It

A+Group+of+Muslims+Rally+in+Front+of+Trump+Tower%2C+New+York+%28The+Express+Tribune%29
A Group of Muslims Rally in Front of Trump Tower, New York (The Express Tribune)

A Group of Muslims Rally in Front of Trump Tower, New York (The Express Tribune)

Photo by: AFP

Photo by: AFP

A Group of Muslims Rally in Front of Trump Tower, New York (The Express Tribune)

Elizabeth Grant, Editor-In-Chief

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According to the New York Times Sunday Review, after the bombings of San Bernardino the top google search with the word “Muslims” in it was “kill Muslims.” And though this was a few years ago, Islamophobia in America is still rampant and still impacts the lives of millions of people.

As most of us are aware, the recent presidential elections have brought to light a major racism and bigotry that Americans have for so long tried to hide. Unlikely and long-feared President Elect Donald Trump has targeted Muslims (and Mexicans) as part of his political platform, calling for the complete and total shutdown of the American border—as well as the supervision of known Muslim communities and families.

And this concept has frightened a lot of Muslim families. For the most part, Muslim Americans are innocent people, free from association from ISIS or from any other known terrorist group. For a lot of Muslims, this is both a point of outrage and of fear. Or, for some, complete irrationality.

In fact, ISIS recruits white men and women from America, the UK, and several other European countries. NBC reported that an estimated 250 Americans have attempted to join or have joined ISIS. These are consequentially more dangerous, as they usually do not leave the U.S. and attack the country from within. This, in turn, raised fears about internal ISIS problems but does almost nothing to combat Islamophobia.

After Donald Trump became the President Elect in November, threats against Muslim Americans have been popping up all over the country. One particular addressed to a California mosque called Muslims worshipping there the “children of Satan” and a “vile and filthy people.” Seeing as how threats to mosques like this were far lessened before Trump was elected, the connection between his presidency and the threats seems relatively clear. And so mosques from across the nation that are receiving threat letter after threat letter are beginning to demand protection from the United States government, arguing that is is the duty of a government to protect the people regardless of religious affiliation.

After understanding that Islamophobia is a major issue in the U.S., along with racism and sexism, the question then becomes: how do we address this extremely sensitive issue? After all, aren’t those who write the notes really only terrified of a terrorist organization? Isn’t that logical?

The answer might just be education. Some have advocated for teaching those with unfair prejudices about what it is like to be a Muslim American, so that Muslim Americans can work together with everyone else to find ways to stop terrorism. Others have given up peaceful cohabitation and now simply rely on the government’s obligation to follow the Constitution of the United States, and protect mosques.

In California, and in high school, advocacy for peace and love toward people of all races and religious backgrounds might be a decent start. We should all make an effort to be more open, more accepting, and more willing to work with Muslims to fight Islamophobia and the threat to American safety.

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