‘Islamophobia’ causes misperceptions

Ever since 9/11 Muslims have been associated with any and all acts of terrorism due to the inhumane actions of Islamic extremists. The image of Islam, a peaceful religion, has been distortedly misconstrued by the media as war-ridden and force-fed into the minds of viewers, both young and old.

Considering that terrorists can come from any background faith and race, the definition of terrorism should not be ascribed to one community of people.

Unfortunately racism is still abundant in today’s society despite the generational accomplishments of minority groups. Yet we are passively following the in-crowd by not acting upon it since the effects of racism do not impact the white majority of United States residents.

Julia Fogg, who has a doctorate in religious studies, is adviser of the California Lutheran University Muslim Student Association.

Despite being a Christian, Fogg said she can relate to several elements of Islam whether she is at church, holding a workshop or giving a talk in her REL 100 course.

I talk about Muhammad, peace be upon him, and I talk about the Quran and the Muslim faith. The commitment and service that I have seen [and], the hospitality that I know in the Muslims that are faithful to their religion,” Fogg said.

Present-day, non-Muslims are apprehensive of those who obey the customs of Islam, resemble someone from the Arab culture or have a name that sounds remotely un-American.

From what I’ve personally seen at airports, TSA is well known for their selections during Secondary Security Screenings and not in a good way. The groups of individuals “randomly” chosen are usually comprised of dark-complexioned Arabs as well as those who follow Sikhism.

“A lot of people are surprised when I tell them I’m Muslim because of what I look like. I personally don’t get prejudice because I’m a guy, but the Muslim women who wear hijabs do,” senior Wais Niazi said.

According to CNN.com, 14-year-old Muslim student Ahmed Mohamed brought a homemade clock to school and was arrested as it supposedly looked like an explosive. The clock, which vaguely resembled a movie bomb, was actually built inside of a large pencil case.

Had this been someone named John Smith, he wouldn’t have been suspected of attempting to execute such a radical act.

“I built a clock to impress my teacher, but when I showed it to her she thought it was a threat to her. It was really sad that she took the wrong impression of it,” Mohamed said to reporters.

With the excessive amount of discrimination against Muslims today, I reminisce upon the history of the Armenian Genocide, the Holocaust and African-American slavery before the Emancipation Proclamation.

All of these incidents are still known as some of the most evil acts committed by mankind. The cruelty was gruesome and the effects were far worse. I’m positive that the majority of us don’t want a re-run of any of those circumstances to occur in the future.

Yet the verbal malice and undemocratic actions toward Muslims have not ceased. Fogg said that the negative bigotry toward 21st century Muslims is already happening and will continue to get worse.

The violence in Iran of Shia versus Sunni, the violence in Syria, the stoning of women for the misunderstanding of the relationship between culture and law and religion,” Fogg said. “Even in this country, the violence of people who don’t understand against Muslims who are just living their lives as regular citizens.”

Among the frequent massacres executed by ISIS, one may wrongly correlate Muslims with this extremist militant group. Yet ISIS is not Muslim at all because the definition of the term “Islam” means submission to God and originates from the root word “Salaam” meaning peace, according to Fogg.

The point of the matter is that “Islamophobia” needs to stop because America is a diverse nation, and anyone can be a U.S. citizen no matter what he or she looks like or where he or she comes from.

People who say that Muslims don’t belong in America are the ones who see the glass half empty and are completely mistaken in their beliefs.

Muslims, just like any other religious group, should have the right to practice their religion freely and wherever they’d like in this nation without judgment.

There are countless temples, churches and synagogues worldwide. So what’s with all the fuss over adding more mosques in America?

Everyone can have their own opinion but when that opinion turns into flat-out bias against a large community of diplomatic people, that’s when our views become downright immoral.

A quick Google search shows that the Muslim population is comprised of around 1.6 billion people and is continually growing day by day. That’s when you know that they must be doing something right.

Leina Rayshouny
Staff Writer
Published September 30th, 2015