Student Comments On Islamophobia and Intolerance
By: Author Redacted (02/06/2020)
In America, it has become increasingly popular to demonize Muslims and the Muslim culture. Islamophobia, which is defined as dis- like of or prejudice against Islam or Muslims, especially as a political force, is becoming a more prevalent issue within our modern American culture. I think that Americans have become intolerant towards people of different cultures as well as different social and religious backgrounds. As a society, we have this idea that there should be a standard for which we should base our lives. Everything that falls outside of that standard must be bad or wrong, so we should fear it. There is a famous quote by John Lennon that says, “Don’t hate what you don’t understand.” A multitude of hate crimes surround these people and are based on simple intolerance. In movies such as “Argo” (2012) and “American Sniper” (2014), Muslims are shown as disturbed, angry terrorists, while Americans are being shown as true he- roes for killing them. Radical Muslims are what the media choose to show, and this is what the American public believes.
Take a look at the reactions after the devastation of the World Trade Center on September 11, 2001.The media was able to draw on stereotypes to portray the Muslim community as crazy and violent, like a loaded spring that could snap at any minute and blow up your home. After terrorist attacks, many Americans began to fear Muslims. The fact that Al-Qaeda was a Muslim extremist group was directly in the face of the American public. If these people were Muslims and they bombed us, then we’d better protect ourselves from these crazy people. So many people dis- miss the fact that the Islamic religion is actually very peaceful and primarily based upon working to please God and get into heaven. There are going to be extremists from every side, for example, the westboro baptist church (their name doesn’t deserve to be capitalized). It is foolish to judge an entire group based on the acts of a few.
Right-wing extremists have killed nearly twice as many Americans since 9/11 than radical Muslims. One mind does not represent all minds. As Americans, we should defiantly embrace our different backgrounds. Going against a single group because what they believe differs from what you believe is intolerant and wrong. Members of the ku klux klan (once again, not going to capitalize) believe that lynching and killing black people is their way of purifying the white race. Being prejudiced against the people of Islam is not very different than this.
If we, as Americans, consider ourselves mightier or more powerful and respected than people of Islam, we are stating that they are inferiors. Muslims devote their life to practicing their religion and serving God. They are not bent up on attacking and killing us. While the news media may show us a different story, we need to understand that this extremist focus is intended. The media wants us to be filled with fear, and to protect ourselves against these people. A Muslim woman cannot wear a hijab in public without being threatened and even killed, which has happened in many cases.
In order to move forward as a nation, we must embrace all cultures and let go of preexisting fears. Equality and tolerance should be practiced daily, or America will always be stuck in the past. We should be focused on promoting social and religious tolerance, for example, teaching about different religions in schools. The United States is clearly expressed to represent freedom of religion, and we do not have one set religion that is obligatory to follow in this country. So why are we so concerned with the beliefs of others?