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Harassment Because of Hijabs: A Look Into American Islamophobia

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In post-9/11 America, it is sickeningly expected to see the harassment and belittling of those of the Islamic faith. After the events of September 11th, and other terrorist attacks, acts of violence and intimidation against Muslims has skyrocketed to the point where not even in ice cream parlors is it safe to express their faith. Recently a video was posted on Twitter of a man being kicked out of an ice cream parlor for his derogatory comments aimed at two Muslim girls at one of the tables, one of which was the one filming. It made me wonder why this perception of Muslims as terrorists was still happening. Some comments under the video were even more derogatory remarks.
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Via Twitter

Via Twitter

Via Twitter

Sadly these are only a few examples of how some people view Muslims in America. A common stereotypical perception of them is that those of the Muslim faith are responsible for and/or are most likely to commit a terrorist act, despite the fact that non-Muslims are nine times more likely to commit a terrorist act on American soil than people who are Muslim. But why do they stick out? Why has a religion who, like almost any other, promotes peace be seen as evil?  In order to look at this, one has to look at the origins of Islam.
Islam, like Christianity and Judaism , was founded in the Near East in modern-day Saudi Arabia by the Prophet Muhammad and, just like the other two, Islam has its own unique set of tenants and beliefs. For one their holy city is Mecca and not Jerusalem. They also are the only religion that primarily has a large concentration of its followers in the Middle East unlike Christianity, who have followers concentrated across the globe, and Judaism which as far less followers. In America Christianity is seen as the preeminent religion with 83 percent of Americans being identified as following the faith. Christianity has no uniform; no way of instantaneous identification. Islam however does and this is what I believe makes them much more vulnerable to persecution.
Muslims are seen as outsiders; they don’t fit the status quo. Much like how black crime in America is thrown under a magnifying glass, Muslim terrorist acts are a cause for throwing all of those who follow the faith under the bus. For example if you think terrorist most would think of Al-Qaeda or ISIS, but no one seems to group hate groups, like the Klu Klux Klan, into that category. Albeit they no longer actively participate in terrorist acts, but there was one point in time where the Klan was one of the most feared groups in the United States. If I were to ask someone to think of a singular terrorist, they most likely would think of Osama Bin Laden. But I guarantee almost none would name Timothy McVeigh, the terrorist who personally killed 168 people in the Oklahoma City bombings in 1995.
A recent case of terrorism would be the rampage caused by Dylan Roof in Charleston, SC. But then again you wouldn’t know that because almost no major news outlets had classified him as one, nor was he charged with terrorism. They have a hard time even calling him the confirmed shooter let alone a terrorist.
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Via Twitter

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So why are Muslims treated like terrorist, yet this man, who murdered nine black people to spark a race war, is an “alleged” shooter? The same way black people are seen as criminals and the same way Mexicans are seen as illegal. They’re different than those who are the majority. They don’t fit the definition of American normality. Thankfully that norm is starting to change as cases of anti-Muslim rhetoric are starting to be challenged by younger generations. As a man who has a whole half of his family that are Muslim, this subject is very near and dear to me. I know that my father and my grandmother have gotten several odd stares for either their clothing or their names. And to those that feel that Islam supports terrorism, please read the Quran to see what they really believe; not what you think they do.
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Written By

Kaelan Doolan is a 20 year old Public Relations major who is currently attending Xavier University in Cincinnati, Ohio. He is a heavily involved member on his campus and currently serves as the legislative vice president of Xavier's Black Student Association. He is also a member of Alpha Phi Alpha Fraternity, Inc., the oldest intercollegiate black fraternity. His passion for writing allows him to think outside of the box and the ability to provide imaginative and creative input on almost anything. You can contact him through email at kaeland38@gmail.com. Follow him on Twitter and Instagram: @Son_Of_Kemet

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