Ever since the events of September 11, the United States has seen a rise of Islamophobia and with the recent events revolving around the elections and now, with our president-elect, there has been a significant rise in Islamophobia. We are not only seeing verbal threats or hate speech but actual violent acts being carried out by Trump’s supporters. Some of the people that Trump is appointing to his cabinet have said slurs to pointing Islamophobia, adding fuel to this flame of hate. Of course, we have Donald Trump himself at the forefront of it all. Unfortunately, Islamophobia is something that we cannot get rid of overnight and it might take years even. I remember the day after the election, going to a forum and seeing a thread created with the posts including various different Facebook and Instagram posts about unfortunate events that happened to people. Now, we’re seeing news reports almost every day about hate crimes that happening across the U.S. We usually classify phobias as having a fear of something (i.e. spiders, bugs, heights) and while Islamophobia might be used in the context of being afraid of Muslim people and Islam, it is geared more towards a dislike or hate of those people.
Going through these articles, there is a phrase that Trump said that keeps getting repeated, “Islam hates us.” The words combined with Trump wanting to create a ban for Muslim people to enter the United States and creating a registry/surveillance of all Muslims, all seems like adding lighter fluid to the flame. It is sad that is true but Trump is essentially giving people the thought that it is okay to act out in violent and shameful ways against Muslim people without the feeling of being punished for it later. Reading through some of these articles is frightening. Muslim people are concerned and worried for their well-being. Mothers are worried for their children every day until they get home from school. Muslim women are being confronted over their hijab and being told to take them off and in some cases people are going as far as assaulting the woman and taking it off themselves. There has been a significant spike in mosques being attacked. The number are there and it is something that cannot be ignored.
After Trump said “Islam hates us,” an increase of 87.5% in anti-Muslim hate crimes has occurred. Not only has the number of these crimes gone up, but the severity of them have gone up as well. (The Atlantic). Throughout the entire election threats and intimidation have gone up. Trump mentioned that he wanted mosques to be shut down after the attacks in Paris and San Bernardino and all of a sudden, the number of attacks against mosques just about tripled. (Bridge). There is one number that sticks out amongst all these though, in a poll done in December of 2015, twenty-five percent of Americans supported the banning of Muslims that Trump wants to implement. Skip ahead only four months to March 2016, that number has risen to fifty-one percent. (Aljazeera). The last time we saw a hike in numbers of attacks against Muslims like this was after the events of September 11. Going through all these readings, it is difficult for me to find a reason for Muslim people not to be afraid of what is to come over these next four years.
Numbers and statistics can be mentioned all day but it is the stories in some of these articles that really show negative effects of Islamophobia. Days following the election, there was a surge in social media about the negative effects surrounding the election of Trump as our next president. One post in particular that stood out to me was of a person being told by their mother to not wear their hijab that day and the person that person mentioned their mother was the most religious person in the household. Another brutal example is of the girl who was approached by white men who proceeded to tell her that she could no longer wear her hijab and that she had to take it off and as if that was not enough, she was then told that she should be lit on fire. Another example is from a woman being told by people on a train that hijabs were not allowed anymore. Most of the articles that came up during my search had, in one form or another, an example of a person’s story and most of them were about Muslim women and their hijab. Occurrences like these do show how low people will stoop too, it is of no surprise that when people do not understand (no surprise there with a large number of Trump supporters being uneducated white males) something and have some kind of general fear towards it, that they act out in ways that should not be tolerated.
I know that this assignment had to revolve us choosing a certain topic or event that happened throughout the semester but it is difficult to choose just one. Whether it be the people that Trump is appointing to his cabinet and the remarks people like Michael Flynn has said about Islam to the problem we had about Birkinis in France. I am trying to find a pattern to see in all of these articles or a something that really pops out at me but truth is, each article I read is worse than the one before it. Ultimately all roads are pointing to the same conclusion and that is that the people causing these hate crimes have an undefined hate towards Islam before Trump came to the scene and now that they have a person or figure of power that can voice these hateful thoughts and in a way give these people the okay to do so as well.
Something powerful and eye-opening was mentioned in “The Secret Costs of Islamophobia,” is that, as of 2014, “[Muslims] surpassed atheists as the country’s least accepted religious group.” This is the unfortunate world around us in which most of the population has stopped accepting a religious group of people that in reality never did anything to us. Assumptions are just being made about Islamic people and people are acting out in rude and violent ways because of those assumptions without stopping to think and really ask themselves why they hate Muslim people. At the end of the Aljazeera article, the writer mentions that he was watching the results of the elections and that the results caused adults to cry, young people to pray, and that an all-around fear was in the air. A person can sit and read as many articles as they possibly could and still not be able to grasp that sense of uncertainty of what might happen tomorrow and I think that, that might be the main reason behind so many of these articles, the fear of not knowing what the world has in store for us tomorrow now that one person has said “it is okay to hate.”
Like a lot of kids my age, I remember exactly where I was when the twin towers fell but something that I remember more is something that happened at the airport a couple weeks later. I was sitting at the terminal with my dad when I notice that a Muslim couple was being checked before boarding the place and nobody else in the long line was being checked. For a split second I caught the eye of the lady being checked and I could feel how uneasy the woman was and I remember feeling sad. If as a child I could understand that what happened was not that person’s fault, I don’t understand why adults don’t see it the same way. Throughout all that has happened, Muslim people do continue to be resilient and remain strong.
Burke, Daniel. “The Secret Costs of Islamophobia.” CNN. 15 November 2016. Web. 10 December 2016.
Foran, Clare. “Donald Trump and the Raise of Anti-Muslim Violence.” The Atlantic. 22 September 2016. Web. 10 December 2016.
“When Islamophobia Turns Violent: The 2016 U.S. Presidential Elections.” Bridge. 2 May 2016. Web. 10 December 2016.
Beydoun, Khaled A. “Donal Trump: The Islamophobia President.” Aljazeera. 9 November 2016. Web. 10 December 2016.
Moore, Peter. “Divide on Muslim Neighborhood Patrols but Majority now Back Muslim Travel Ban.” YouGov. 28 March 2016. Web. 10 December 2016.
Bayoumy, Yara. “Trump’s Anti-Muslim Rhetoric is Fueling More Islmophobic Incidents.” Huffington Post. 20 June 2016. Web. 11 December 2016.
Holpuch, Amanda and Pilkington, Ed. “Muslims in Trump’s America: Realities of Islamophobic Presidency Begin to Sink In.” The Guardian. 17 November 2016. Web. 11 December 2016.
“FBI: Hate Crimes Against Muslims in US Surge 67 Percent.” Aljazeera. 14 November 2016. Web. 12 December 2016.
Rose, Joel. “Following Hate Crimes and Trump’s Election, Muslims Remain Resilient.” NPR. 15 November 2016. Web. 12 December 2016.
Lightblau, Eric. “Hate Crimes Against American Muslims Most Since Post-9/11 Era.” NY Times. 17 September 2016. Web. 12 December 2016.
Salem, Ola. “Hate Crime and Islamophobia Increases After Trump Victory.” The National. 12 November 2016. Web. 12 December 2016.