“If people truly understood the religion and the culture and what we practice, they would not be afraid at all.”
In America, it seems that there is a very vague understanding of Islam and Muslim culture, but overall, those who are not Muslim do not truly understand the religion or the culture. Others around me do not have a true understanding of what my family practices.
When I try to explain to them, they don’t want to listen. People brush me off for talking about my beliefs and my religion because they do not understand it and they don’t care to learn past the negative stereotypes they believe now.
I think people have a fear of Islam because they do not understand it. If people truly understood the religion and the culture and what we practice, they would not be afraid at all. People do not seem to understand that Islam is a peaceful religion and not everyone fits the stereotype that most Americans believe about us.
I am not an intimidating person in size- I am small and I am not a violent person. But, I still sense that people are afraid of me in public settings based on my appearance.
I get stared at, avoided, people cross the street or refuse to sit next to me on public transit. People get quiet and whisper or giggle when they see me. I feel like I am constantly a target.
There is certainly prejudice against Muslims in America. It is so easy to see, it is almost impossible to argue that Muslims are not discriminated against in this country. I have personally seen members of my family stopped at the airport for extra inspection.
Everywhere I go with my family we are stared at, and I feel especially uneasy about police. In public places, my family and I are often watched or even followed by security guards and police officers. I am constantly worried that one wrong move could put me in the wrong place at the wrong time and get me in trouble.
17 years after 9/11, I feel that Islamophobia has had a rollercoaster effect in our society. Immediately after 9/11, Islamophobia was at its peak. For many years afterward, Islamophobia stayed about the same.
Since 2016 and the change in power in this country, I have felt an increase in Islamophobia. I am nervous for the place we are in this country now, but I hope in the future we can improve.
For the future, I can only hope that we as a country can improve on both our racism and our Islamophobia. Too many people I know are discriminated against on a daily basis including myself, family, and friends.
It makes me feel angry and frustrated to see the people I love being treated differently than many people around us based solely on something as simple as our appearance or our religion. I hope we can learn to move, speak and act in love rather than fear. I hope in the future one day we can see more Muslim leaders and higher ups.