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Muslim in America – Voices

“It becomes easy for political leaders to whip up hysteria and use fear as a political weapon.”
Wisconsin
Non-Muslims probably have limited or no understanding of Muslim culture. The average American doesn’t have a lot of contact.

If one meets someone from another culture, that adds a human dimension that’s unobtainable when one only hears about another culture. Stereotypes are much more prevalent when there’s been no human contact.

People in general are much less willing to paint with a broad brush or generalize when they’ve actually met somebody from a different culture. I think that’s true whether it’s a discussion of Muslims in America, or any other group.

Since 9-11, there has been a willingness to generalize when that isn’t really an accurate assessment of an entire culture. I mean, there are a billion Muslims, and the percentage that are engaged in terrorist activities is extremely small.

It’s been pointed out that it’s no larger than in any other group. We have a recent memory of events, so that it becomes an out of context generalization.

There is discrimination and prejudice against Muslim people. It becomes easy for political leaders to whip up hysteria and use fear as a political weapon. They indulge in stereotypes and xenophobia.

That is particularly relevant to our current political climate. Anytime you have economic difficulties, you’re going to have a political leader who looks for a scapegoat or excuse to use for his or her own political advancement.

The deeper the economic trouble, the easier it is for politicians to capitalize on the atmosphere of discontent, economic hardship and fear. You have to wonder about right wing political opportunism, in the wake of 9-11. Muslims as a group have suffered because of that.

In regard to how the news portrays Muslims, I think it depends on which network you subscribe to. There’s bias on both sides, but we all know who has an axe to grind.

You’re going to hear a slanted portrayal of events not based on facts, but based on preconceived, prejudicial ideas. The news has an important role to play in times like this one, because certain organizations are really becoming nothing more than propaganda machines while others are maintaining some professionalism.

I think Islamophobia goes up and down in waves. There was a peak in the immediate aftermath of 9-11, and it peaked again at various other times, like after the Boston marathon. We have to remember to not judge those things out of context.

If the current administration in America stays in power, that’s not going to be good for tolerance in general, or Muslims in particular. It will get better if somebody else gets elected.

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