by Harris Yun – Staff Writer
America is no stranger to prejudice. Ever since the conception of our country there has always been a group of people that gets oppressed and hated, for no reason other than the idea that they challenge the status quo. As a Muslim myself, you can believe me when I say that these days, that group is Muslims, and it is just as damaging to the country as when that group was African-Americans.
Post-9/11, Muslim discrimination was at an all time high, but over the past decade, it has slowly been ebbing away. However, in the past year, a huge resurgence can be seen. Thanks to things like the recent travel ban, which aimed to prevent people from mostly Muslim countries from traveling into America, or President Trump’s actively hostile stance towards Islam, America is slowly working itself back into a frenzy of Islamophobia and all the horrible things that happen as a result.
No matter where you look, there is rampant prejudice against Muslims. Online, you just have to look at any news article that even mentions them, and you’ll see hundreds of comments raving about Muslims and how they need to be ‘dealt with’ – for example, on articles about the recent bombing of a mosque in Minnesota you can find comments in the vein of “I hope it was full of Muslim trash” and “Burn em ALL!!!!!!”
This hate is not just confined to the internet. All over the US, Islamophobia has led to thousands of people protesting the spread of Islam, even in places as liberal as Seattle; several demonstrations at mosques in the past three months turned violent, forcing police officers to use pepper spray to break up the crowds. They cite the reason that they “don’t want America to be taken over by Sharia law”, but that is not what most American Muslims want, either. Most are refugees from the turmoil in the Middle East, escaping the so-called ‘Sharia law’ implemented by ISIL and other similar groups – the last thing they want is for it to come to America, the land where anyone can do anything. The real reason they protest is because they want somebody to blame, some group they can point their fingers at and say ‘Look at them – they’re the problem.’ Even here, in the Kentlake area, when my family members go out with their hijab on they get strange looks filled with suspicion and fear, and once we even got outright told that we do not belong here, that ‘our people’ are the reason America is facing all the problems it is today.
However, wherever there is hatred, there are people fighting against it. The vocal minority, however vocal they may be, will always be a minority. A few outspoken critics should not, can not, be taken as representative of America as a whole. If you are truly an American, you will understand that Americans come from many diverse backgrounds, and trying to exclude a group of people just because they have differing religious beliefs is not just rude, it’s downright unpatriotic. Represent our country, stand in the face of prejudice, and support your Muslim countrymen and women.