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My Thoughts on Islamophobia After Hearing Omid Safi Speak

On April 28th, I went to University of Buffalo to see a Duke University Professor, Omid Safi, talk about Islamophobia. Islamophobia is the hate against Islam or Muslims. He discussed many topics about Islamophobia but my favorite was when he talked about how Islam itself is a religion of peace and there are absolutely no exceptions for murders. 

The professor spoke about how it is so easy for the world to look at a Muslim as a terrorist because of a certain group that claims to be Muslim, but if a white man was to kill there always seems to be a reason to back up his act. The professor spoke about act of terror that happened couple years ago at Sandy Hook Elementary School in Connecticut and how they claimed the shooter had mental illness. If a Muslim who killed those children they’d say he’s a terrorist and just stop the investigation there.  

The professor suggested that if America is really concerned who would commit terrorist acts on them, they should fear white men. He stated that white males between the age group of 18-28 years old are most likely the ones to go into a school and kill our kids and even get away with it or serve not as much time compared to what a person of color would serve in prison for the same charges. The professor said the reason why he stated that is because the majority of licensed gun owners in the U.S. are white males bin that age group, according to research. He also said that the younger you are, the less you use your mind and shouldn't be trusted with big responsibilities like owning a gun.  

The professor also talked about three Muslim students he taught at Duke University that were murdered in a very heartbreaking way. The University told their families that the murders happened over parking lot issues. There was a lot more to the story and a lot of people around the University were suspicious of the reason that was given by the University. The real reasons were unknown, but those students were the only well-known Muslim students at the university and many suspect it was a crime of hate. Other students were asked by the university to not talk about the incident. 

I cannot imagine being one of the only Muslims that goes to such a huge University like Duke and I cannot imagine those students being a family member of mine. It’s hard to face the fact that certain stuff that goes on in today world is real. 

The professor said that when people judge and look at us Muslims as terrorists, they don’t realize how wrong it is. To call a Muslim a terrorist is harsh because terrorism is one of the top reasons why most Muslim foreigners run away from our native homes. We fear terrorists just as much as anyone else but not everyone seems to understand that. Although it’s just a fact everyone should accept.   

Being a Muslim American student, I agree with the professor. I believe is hard to understand something you never faced yourself so I don’t think too many people who look at us like terrorists understand. It’s not easy to wake up every day worrying about what a anti-Muslim will do to you just because you are who you are. Not too many people understand that you can’t judge a whole group based on one person’s act. Even fewer people understand that we Muslims do not even accept those who claim Islam and kill innocents, as our brother or sister. I think it’s easy to point fingers when things go wrong, just so you can have someone to blame, but I wonder if they ever thought about the fact that we moved here because of how we were getting treated and watching some of our family members get slaughtered and murdered right in front of our eyes. So what makes anyone think we would do to others what we’ve run away from?

1 comment:

Trudy Stern said...

Dear Khadijah - Thank you for you comments. I missed the talk by Omid Safi- You highlighted insights that we all need to broadcast far and wide. We will continue to stand shoulder to shoulder with our Muslim brothers and sisters, in peace.