Muslim students take on Islam-phobia

Supported by the “Black Lives Matter Movement” and the increasing calls for safety of Muslin on campuses, Muslim student groups in every state in America are engaging elements involved in anti-Islamic feelings and rhetoric. Many Muslim have responded in different ways to increasing anti-Islamic feelings in the wake of the San Bernardino shootings that killed 14 people.  Muslims are now standing up for what they believe is their constitutional rights and for what they believe in. Although it cannot at this stage be termed as a national protest movement, Muslim students from across the country are joining in solidarity with minority activists to protest racism on campuses.

The daughter of Pakistani immigrants, Isra Hussain who is a junior at Boston College does not wear her favorite sweatshirt in public now. She was proudly declaring her identity by wearing a shirt with her last name printed in big red letters on the back. This declared her Muslim faith and she wears it proudly despite the possibility of being verbally or physically attacked. However, when Donald Trump made negative remarks about Syrian refugees, she has stopped wearing the shirt.

On some campuses, Islam has become a part of the coalition that is addressing “Black Lives Matter” on immigration rights. This emphasizes that Islamophobia has become a part of campus activism. This spirit of solidarity is the driving force of the Muslim Student Organization (MSO) at the University of Missouri in Colombia which is the center of the Black Lives student movement. The MSO was among the student groups that supported minority students and the school’s football players when they went on strike in November for protesting against racism in the college. However, the preference of the students is more towards acquiring education than indulging in demonstrations.

As part of its efforts against racism and discrimination, the MSO is holding yearly conferences and other events that encourage active participation by minority groups. They are also making efforts to be more visible to the community by working on concession stands at football games. The MSO also feel that the issues that are common in black and Muslim communities which include oppression and a sense of isolation and discrimination need to be amply addressed. Islam-phobia is a type of cultural discrimination and is not biological which is creating prejudice against Muslims because they are now being considered to be different and associated with terrorism. The MSO contend that religion is part of a person’s identity and cannot be detached from the person.

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