Islamophobia

Liberals Can Be As Dangerous As Trump When It Comes To “Islamophobia”

For a large portion of the 21st century, liberals have taken on the role of the protective big sibling persona for any minority or controversial community in the U.S.

Time and time again, liberals speak for those who have been othered. But this type of help has enforced a new, problematic discourse that hinders ones ability to have an opinion and generate productive discussions about any kind of issue directed at a specific group of people.

The liberal protectiveness that is most destructive in today’s current state of controversy is Islamophobia.

This is a word created to criticize those who reject Muslim culture by calling them irrationally fearful of a religion.

But this is an unfair categorization for the disapproval of aspects of Islamic culture.

In 2015, Bill Maher had a round table discussion about Islam and whether or not it is predisposed to violence.

In that round table, Dinesh D’Souza explained, “What’s going on here is there is a civil war in the mind of the liberal”. He explains that liberals advocate for individual freedom for everyone and for multiculturalism all at the same time.

The latter half protects Muslim culture from any kind of criticism or intervention.

Bill Maher stated, “Christopher Hitchens said Islamophobic is a word created by fascists, and used by cowards, to manipulate morons”.

So let’s break down this very clever statement.

The Fascists, in this case, are liberals that dictate how a population can be viewed, understood, and spoken of within a political or social setting.

Cowards are those that fear political incorrectness and controversy.

And morons are the public who agree with this strategy, thus eliminating any discussion that represents Muslims in a poor fashion.

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Photo Credit: Faith Goble/Flickr (2.0 by CC)

Can we really chalk up every fear of an oppressive culture to being a phobia? To be fearful of an extreme religion that has enabled people to murder and stone one another does not seem irrational; in fact, that is a very rational thing to be afraid of.

Those that feel strongly against the oppressive nature of the Islamic faith are not being phobic, they are afraid of the violence that has ensued and continues to kill innocent people due to ancient ways of thinking.

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In 2013, a story was released that Arifa Bibi was stoned to death by her uncle and cousins for having a mobile phone in Pakistan.

Stoning is a violent torture method most frequently used to punish women for asserting too much freedom or for their sexuality.

Many Muslim supporters of the campaign against stoning argue that while stoning women is not written in the Koran, “it is legitimized by the Hadith – the acts and sayings of the Prophet Mohamed.”

The story also mentions another case in 2008 in which a 13-year-old girl, Aisha Ibrahim Duhulow, was buried from her neck down and stoned to death by 50 men. The reason? She had been raped by three men and was instead accused of adultery.

Our fear has not been the manifestation of a phobia of Islam; it comes from these real life tragedies.

Yet, this is not to be mistaken for a generalization that all Muslims are violent. The issue here is a misrepresentation that the religion itself invokes peace and that instead, a few extremists have reformed its ideologies and have become violent.

There is something innately violent within the religion, but that does not mean that all who follow the teachings of the Koran are violent.

This misconception comes from a lack of education and discussion on the topic. Words like Islamophobia allow this misrepresentation to exist because of the absence of communication about the violent qualities of the religion.

Both protecting and blaming an entire race is not constrictive, and it destroys any kind of productive conversation with regards to a controversial ideology.

But, disapproval of these characteristics still do not warrant the kind of blind, racist bigotry demonstrated by Donald Trump and his supporters.

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Photo Credit: Derek Rose/Flickr (2.0 by CC)

The Koran, like the Bible or the Torah is a sacred text to those who read its teachings. Religion, for those who believe in it, should serve as a personal tool to connect with God or a higher being(s) in order to find support and lead a good life.

However that is not all that makes up religion.

Like any ideology, religion’s goal is to dictate and hide certain truths in order to obtain power over a population. It enforces certain beliefs, and rejects others.

This is a solidified quality of all religion, and it enables people to exclude others and their philosophies in order to support their own.

Ignoring oppressive aspects of Islam by calling anyone in opposition to the religion “Islamophobic” eliminates our ability to point out pieces of a culture that need changing for the greater good of humanity. You can disagree with something, you can even find it unacceptable, but that alone does not make you racist and it does not make you hateful.

Racism and hate come from an irrational blind assumption that all who are Muslim are also violent; xenophobia that encourages that kind of thinking proves ones stupidity.

Fear of reprimanding Islam cements the topic in mud and watches people drown in prejudice and oppression while everyone else ignores them to avoid controversial discussions.

The word, Islamophobia is not protecting Muslims, it is systematically harmful.

An individual should be able to be Muslim and not face stoning if they choose to sleep with someone before marriage or get an educating, or want to live their life differently than their parents had. That is their prerogative.

Liberals’ efforts to avoid political incorrectness allows this kind of practice to exist without reprimand, it is not protecting anyone.

However, let’s make one thing perfectly clear. By deliberately othering a religion and prejudicially demanding that they be kept from living in the U.S. is not an example of simply foregoing political correctness, it is just racism.

Donald Trump is not a leader in real discussion of controversial topics he is just racist.

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Islamophobia and Islamic racism have been frequent and popular ideologies ever since 9/11, and it has kept the stigma of Muslim Americans alive.

It is acceptable to discuss the fundamental problems with Islam if they could be reasons for oppression and murder.

Just like it is acceptable to discuss gun regulation if a lack of background checks and restrictions could be the reason for massacre.

It’s time to stop speaking for other people and to instead, speak for the issues and find solutions.

If there is an inherent violence within a religion, we can talk about it without saying all Muslims are violent.

On the other hand, violence does not make it acceptable to completely omit a religion from this country, and it certainly does not warrant racism.

It is time to find the medium between both sides, to recognize that this religion of peace might not be so peaceful after all, but to also understand that that does not disregard all those who use its teachings to lead moral lives.

RISE NEWS is a grassroots journalism news organization that is working to change the way young people become informed and engaged in public affairs. You can write for us.

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Academic Failure Is The Root Cause Of #‎IStandwithAhmed Scandal

By Ashanka Kumari

Earlier this week, Ahmed Mohamed, a 14-year-old ninth grader from Texas, was arrested after his English teacher thought his homemade clock was a bomb. While those involved in the arrest might claim Mohamed’s religious beliefs and position as a Muslim boy were not reasons for suspicion, the teacher and school’s initial responses point to this incident as that within the ongoing Islamophobia in our country.

If Ahmed Mohamed had been a white boy named John Smith, for instance, I suspect the teacher would not have been so quick as to dub the homemade clock a bomb. Further, if the teacher truly thought the clock were a bomb, I suspect the school would have taken steps towards a lockdown to protect other students. Instead, Ahmed was arrested and it becomes clear that this incident is another that continues the seemingly endless battle with racism we face as a country.

Today, as a teacher as well as a student, I am terrified by the kinds of similar ideologies my students might bring with them because of my name and race.

Beyond these issues, Ahmed Mohamed’s story represents one many children like him continue to deal with on a daily basis. As a minority student, I know first-hand how moments likes these often cause children with names like Ahmed’s and mine to be silenced, to fear going to school, to hate participating in the American education system.

I remember distinctly how isolated I felt as a fifth-grade student right after 9/11.

I remember the terror I felt when I heard customers at my dad’s business call him a terrorist repeatedly because of his name and race. I worried my teachers and other students thought similarly about me at school, especially when I found it hard to make friends during the time. Each day I begged my dad to quit his job and stay home. I feared for his life as well as the lives of the rest of my family. Though he never quit his job, repeated break-ins including one during which my mother was physically injured showed me the kind of hate people are capable of based on their uneducated assumptions of another race.

Today, as a teacher as well as a student, I am terrified by the kinds of similar ideologies my students might bring with them because of my name and race. While I imagine Ahmed’s parents will take actions against the school and those involved, this work cannot stand alone. Serious discussions must take place to educate faculty and staff at this school and all schools about difference.

When students are accused of actions based on their name and/or race, they stick with them forever. Ahmed appears to be moving forward fine after his arrest based on interviews and media coverage, but I am certain he will unfortunately forever remember how his school responded to the time he wanted to share a clock he made because he was genuinely interested in engineering. ‪#‎IStandwithAhmed

Ashanka Kumari is a Ph.D student at the University of Louisville. 

Cover Photo Credit: KXAS-TV/ Screenshot

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