A crowd funding campaign organized by Muslims has aided in the restoration of a vandalized Jewish cemetery. The campaign, led by Tarek El-Messidi and Laura Sarsour, managed to reach their goal within just a mere three hours. Even as of Feb. 23, they raised more than $110,000, with donations continuing to pour in.
But you probably didn’t hear about it. Or if you did, you probably forgot about it.
While news of this campaign did reach major news media outlets like The New York Times and the Washington Post, we fail to realize that the ingrained stereotypes about Muslims are still going to remain. It is normal to read about such news and brush it off, and then when something even remotely related to ISIS enters our radar, the inner keyboard warrior returns, spewing Islamophobic comments all over the place.
No, I’m not saying that one crowd-funded campaign by a Muslim activist towards a Jewish community will automatically mean that all Muslims are kind and generous.
But, this also means that the act of one or a few Muslims conducting extremist acts does not automatically mean that all Muslims are terrorists.
It works the same way and unfortunately, people fail to realize that. Instead, another day goes by and yet another article gets published about terror attacks brought on by someone who is well, Muslim. Juxtapose that with a white guy planning to shoot down a school, plotting to bomb Target stores, blowing up a mosque and oh, god forbid that the word terrorism is anywhere near associated with these acts. And we all know why: privilege.
But never mind that; let’s focus on the Muslim community. When something ISIS related pops up on news feeds, most are quick to blame and generalize all Muslims as terrorists, inevitably making the situation a viral one.
Yet, when Muslims perform acts of gratitude towards other religions, people turn silent and it barely becomes an issue of discussion.
If you’ve seen Aziz Ansari’s SNL monologue, he reiterates how the public instantaneously thinks that Muslims = bad, because that’s simply what happens when you only see news broadcasts of said terror attacks. But what about switching to a feed of Muslims doing normal things like eating a sub – Muslims are humans too, right?
Why are Muslims always initially thought of as something or someone negative, even when these acts of justice are slowly being represented in media, and when it has nothing to do with acts of ISIS?
Unfortunately, I feel this goes way past the media.
It has been 16 years since 9/11. It has been ingrained in people about what Muslims are and what we do. Publishing news about these acts of gratitude now might be helping, but I doubt it is going to change our world.