It’s no secret that living as a Muslim in today’s society is far more difficult, and even dangerous, than it was before the terrorist attack of 9/11. Many who choose to typify their religion are faced with those in their community grouping them with terrorism or even becoming the victims of hate crimes. Mistreatment and prejudice towards Muslims is an issue all over America; but spreading awareness of these wrongdoings in El Dorado Hills, and even at Oak Ridge, is an imperative first step in preventing future dilemmas and animosities.
The terrorist attack of 9/11 was a horrendous event that stays engraved in the minds of U.S. citizens to this day. The event was America’s wakeup call to the daily turmoil and aggression taking place in Middle Eastern countries, and even shone a light on their resentment towards the U.S. itself. Since 9/11. There have been a total of ten significant terrorist attacks that have taken place on American soil. These include the Orlando shooting, Boston marathon bombing, and Fort Hood shooting. The attacks that take place in America are given massive media attention, but even those from around the world such as France and the United Kingdom find themselves on the front pages of American news outlets and as the main topics of radio stations. Though this media attention is unmistakably critical, many Americans will read headlines telling the stories of Muslim terrorist attacks and will wrongly assume that the Muslim religion in its entirety is affiliated with the horrific events and all those who follow the Quran would do the same in a heartbeat. This mindset can be defined as Islamophobia and is beginning to seep its way into modern American ideals and politics. Many Muslims fear for the spread of this mentality towards those around them and are beginning to be shamed by those in their community due to their incorrectly assumed affiliation with extremist groups, (who most take active stands against,). “Much of the Muslim world has collapsed in on itself, the product of various forces all of which have come together to create a kind of perfect storm; in the United States, the voices of Islamophobic trolls now shape political outcomes. I always used to receive hate — death threats, snide asides, terrifying turns of phrase. This week was no different. “Death is coming soon to all of Islam, raghead. Soon.’ Or this one, on Twitter: ‘In due time you will be exterminated.’ Except it was entirely different. They’re the establishment now. The mainstream is the radicals,” (Moghul, 2017).
The sheer number of Americans who share this mindset is concerning. The majority of Muslims must endure on a day-to-day basis: name calling, prejudices, disrespect, and shunning. Since the attack of 9/11, there has been an influx of hate crimes directed towards those who follow the Quran along with the growing misconception that they are terrorist sympathizers simply due to the fact that they are Muslim. Today, Muslims are at risk of becoming victims of horrific hate crimes and being ostracized by those in their lives. “It’s been a little over a year and a half since the high-profile shooting deaths of three Muslim students in Chapel Hill, North Carolina – an attack that the victims’ family members believe was motivated by hate. Craig Hicks, a neighbor, has been charged with their murders and faces the death penalty at trial,” (Frumin & Sakuma, 2016). Not only are Muslims at risk of harm, but they also can find it a struggle to find stable jobs in which their employers will accept them, obtain raises, buy a home in a neighborhood where they will not be outcasted, or even maintain their places in the communities that they have lived in for years. Due to the spread of Islamophobia, many Muslims feel as if their right to the first amendment, (which protects every Americans right for freedom of press, religion, speech, and assembly,) has been revoked due to the actions of Muslims extremists who they themselves are not even affiliated with in any way.
Not only are Muslims at risk of harm, but so are their religious buildings and houses of worship. There have been countless attacks and protests against mosques, and many can now be seen as covered with islamophobic graffiti and protesters just outside the doors. Another issue we face in society is the reluctance to accept women who wear hijabs. Many Muslim women who choose to wear the hijab can be shunned by other girls around them, and are more often than not assumed to be oppressed by their religion and the men they choose to marry. The majority of the time these women simply wear the hijab to protect their looks from men around them who just want them for their beauty. The women who wear hijabs typically feel protected when donning the article of clothing, but they often attract unsolicited hate. The hijab can limit the ability of what Muslim women can accomplish within society, which was easily displayed by a recent mishap that took place just two days ago with L’Oreal. “’I recently took part in a campaign, which excited me because it celebrated inclusivity,’ her statement read. ‘With deep regret, I’ve decided to step down from this campaign because the current conversations surrounding it detract from the positive and inclusive sentiment that it set out to deliver.’ This comes just a week after the British blogger announced she was included in the L’Oreal Paris hair care campaign. In the advertisement, she wore a pale pink headscarf and stood in front of a bright pink background. ‘Whether or not your hair is on display,’ she says in the ad, ‘doesn’t affect how much you care about it,’” (Jackson, 2018). Muslim women who wear hijabs are starting to gain a more mainstream role in the media, but are more often than not forced to step down due to the backlash of viewers who disagree.
In conclusion, living as a Muslim in today’s society is no easy task, and has become dangerous. Within our town of El Dorado Hills, we live amongst Muslim families. Even though there have been no extreme hate crimes committed within our community, with the sudden rise of Islamophobia and its introduction into modern American politics, we should stand against the hatred and create a safe space without judgment or prejudices for those who are at risk. If we see a woman, wearing a hijab, there should be no assumption other than that it was her choice, to begin with, to wear it. If we see a mosque, there should be no urge to graffiti its walls or harass the worshippers inside; and if a Muslim family moves into the house next door, we should not fear or assume without any indicators to preface that they are affiliated with an extremist group. Together we can stand against islamophobia and protect those living within our community.
Article by Olivia Sparks & Video by Connor Brown
Frumin, Aliyah, et al. “Hope and Despair: Being Muslim in America After 9/11.” NBCNews.com, NBCUniversal News Group, 11 Sept. 2016, www.nbcnews.com/storyline/9-11-anniversary/hope-despair-being-muslim-america-after-9-11-n645451.
Jackson, Amanda. “Hijab-Wearing Model Pulls out of L’Oreal Campaign over 2014 Tweets.” CNN, Cable News Network, 23 Jan. 2018, www.cnn.com/2018/01/23/world/amena-khan-loreal-hair-campaign-controversy/index.html.
Moghul, Haroon. “Being Muslim in Trump’s America.” NY Daily News, NEW YORK DAILY NEWS, 31 Jan. 2017, www.nydailynews.com/opinion/muslim-trump-america-article-1.2959996.