While Islamophobia has been seen all over the world through personal experiences and the media, I have noticed the tendency for a great deal of people to glaze over the issue. Typically reading the news is frustrating to me. The ten articles I analyzed were no exception with the broad spectrum of opinions and critique I saw. Problems I views ranged from Donald Trump’s impact on Muslims to the burqa and burkini being banned.
One of the articles that I found to be the least biased was the CNN.com one (1). The interviewees all had different opinions, relationships and stances on the burqa and burkini ban. The French Ambassador to the United States said that the burqa is conveying a conception of the woman as an object of lust. A professor in London spoke his belief that the discrimination against Muslims is making them feel unwelcome and in turn they are less able to integrate into society. He brought up an interesting point of if this is happening, is it causing Muslims to become more radical in a retaliation to the rejection from society? I had mentioned that this article was diverse in its opinions, and here is where it differs. Some of the people interviewed stated that Muslim women should be allowed to dress however they want. The burqa is also a symbol of oppression. I find this article to contain a fluid balance of varying thoughts on the burqa being banned which is what I look for in my news.
An interesting take on the wear of burkas is that according to firstpost.com (2) a trend of higher class Muslim girls are obsessed with wearing the burkas. The article goes on to say that they often find comfort and security in wearing it, apart from obviously any sexual harassment that comes along with it. In recent news, a Muslim woman made headlines for wearing a burkini on a beach in France (3). Because it is not seen as appropriate attire she was forced to remove her burkini on the spot whilst being yelled at to go home by onlookers as well as others clapping for the police addressing the situation. In this instance, the article talks about a truck attack that killed 86 people in correlation with the burkini ban.
Aside from that, the article titled “As a Muslim, I think Canada should ban the Niqab and Burka in Public” brought a whole different point of view (4). The author, who is a Muslim who has lived in Canada for 25 years, explains that the niqab and burka are political flags in the terrible things such as ISIS, al-Qaida, and the Taliban to name a few. The dress they wear to represent their religion has nothing to do with Islam. The Islamophobia surrounding Muslim women goes with them everywhere. When one woman who is a lawyer was ordered to remove her face veil before entering the courtroom she was shocked. Being told that she was a professional and her veil did not coordinate with that was hard to be scolded for. It was fascinating to read from the point of view of not only a Muslim woman but also a woman that agrees with them being banned as she herself wears them. Her stance was clear throughout that a hijab, niqab, burka or whatever attire chosen does not have a direct effect on your religion. I believe that she sees beyond the discrimination and into the fact that people are being hurt and killed over something that they could change, even if it is their belief.
In an ibtimes.com article I read about, religious neutrality was a common occurrence (5). Crucifixes have been taken out of classrooms as to not influence children. In the same way as if a teacher wears a veil and the children ask why. She will tell them it is because of her religious beliefs, God, or husband ect. This is especially difficult for women in France where there is the largest minority of Muslims. Burqas were banned in 2007 and since then 10more nations in Europe have followed along by banning them as well.
On a broader spectrum, Islamophobia is a large occurrence seen everyday, not just in the burqa and burkini ban. With the recent presidential election and Donald Trump becoming our president elect we also have seen a large anti-Muslim support happening (6). Republicans want Muslims to have stricter guidelines to living in the Unites States. This article gave off a strong opinion about Trump and if he continues on with his anti-Muslim plans it will lead to terrorism and more radicalization. In some ways this article was helpful in developing my own viewpoint. In others, I can see how it would easily sway others into an anti-Muslim way of thinking if they had not read up on other news and facts.
On the contrary, Canada’s anti-Islamophobia motion can show the rest of the world a side shown much less in strong media articles. The difference between Canada and other countries concerning Islamophobia is that they are the first to put an actual motion into place that condemns all forms of discrimination towards Muslims (7). It’s pretty easy to tell the bias in this article because of it’s strong title and stance on the good that the motion has and will bring. Because we hadn’t talked about anything of this sort in class, I was surprised to see it. It just goes to show that no matter what the issue, there is always something that can be done to take a step in the right direction. The one area that this article could be taken wrong is that there isn’t any distinct clarification that the motion doesn’t support all acts by Muslims. It solely is in place to protect Muslims in Canada from discrimination and harm based on their religion.
One of the most talked about events in our class was about the attacks in Paris, Saudi Arabi, and Bangladesh. These were discussed in an article asking where is the outpouring of support coming from after these attacks (8). Violence has a goal. That goal in the attacks is to cause backlash against Muslims and tear people apart. Aleena, a teenager that has grown up in Maryland while being Muslim has had a recent difficult understanding (9). While she was doing a school project she discovered some horrible things people have said online about Muslims. This made her wonder if that is what people think of her. Going back to Trump, she read about some of his beliefs pertaining to Muslims. There are millions of Muslims living in the united States and this article laid out the facts about how she along the majority of others living here are normal people. Violent extremists are numbered 10,000 to 1 in the United States yet that one person has helped people in defining an entire culture and religion. While this article was swayed heavily towards attempting to convey the message that the number of Muslim terrorists are incredibly slim, it did it in a factual way that is hard to argue with. In my last article, the number of Muslim attacks were discussed and individual cases were laid out (10). Even some girls who are Muslim but dress as a typical teen in the United States still feel the pain of being discriminated against.
I believe that it will be a long time before Islamophobia is a rare occurrence, unfortunately. From analyzing these ten articles I have read many different view points on very different issues. Throughout all of them is the common theme of Muslims being discriminated against virtually everywhere they go. In the future, the only way to move forward is to stay educated with an open mind.
Alam, Afroz. “France’s Burkini Ban Misses Nuanced Aspects of Muslim Women’s Adoption of Hijab – Firstpost.” Firstpost. Firstpost, 1 Oct. 2016. Web. 12 Dec. 2016.
Ali, Fareen. “As Islamophobia Rises, All Muslim Girls Impacted.” Women’s ENews. N.p., 05 Dec. 2016. Web. 12 Dec. 2016.
Barnard, Anne. “After Attacks on Muslims, Many Ask: Where Is the Outpouring?” The New York Times. The New York Times, 05 July 2016. Web. 12 Dec. 2016.
Britton, Bianca. “Why Are the Burqa and Burkini so Controversial?” CNN. Cable News Network, 19 Aug. 2016. Web. 12 Dec. 2016.
Burke, Daniel. “The Secret Costs of Islamophobia.” CNN. Cable News Network, 15 Nov. 2016. Web. 12 Dec. 2016.
Chandran, Nyshka. “Why Trump’s Victory Risks More Global Muslim Extremism.” CNBC. CNBC, 10 Nov. 2016. Web. 12 Dec. 2016.
Majzoub, Samer. “Canada’s Anti-Islamophobia Motion A Shining Example To The World.” The Huffington Post. N.p., 11 Oct. 2016. Web. 12 Dec. 2016.
O’Neal, Lydia. “Muslims In Canada: Quebec To Ban Burqas? Hijab Could Be A Security Issue, Officials Say.” International Business Times. N.p., 20 Oct. 2016. Web. 12 Dec. 2016.
Quinn, Ben. “French Police Make Woman Remove Clothing on Nice Beach following Burkini Ban.” The Guardian. Guardian News and Media, 23 Aug. 2016. Web. 12 Dec. 2016.
Raza, Raheel. “As a Muslim, I Think Canada Should Ban the Niqab and Burka in Public.” The Huffington Post. N.p., 24 Sept. 2015. Web. 12 Dec. 2016.
By: Rachel Bonner