Zakariya Abdullahi, staff writer
We all know and understand the negative impacts of racism and other “isms” in our country. Still, a hidden and less known systemic issue is Islamophobia. Islamophobia impacts entire communities in every aspect of life. According to the Pew Research Center (PRC), there were 93 reported instances of Islamophobic hate crime after 9/11. This number steadily decreased until 2015, when that number jumped back to around 93 reported instances. From 2015 to 2016, Islamophobic hate crime increased by 19% to reach 127 reported cases. Islamophobia is far worse now than it was after the immediate response of 9/11.
Islamophobic attitudes have a particularly damaging effect on children in the education system. Schools often reinforce societal stereotypes and perpetuate the bullying and assault of Muslim students, which makes it difficult for Muslim students to attend regularly, learn and participate. Often, Muslim students deal with many intersectional identities. In 2015, the Council on American Islamic Relations (CAIR) published a report which showed that 55% percent of Muslim students between middle school to high school were subjected to some bullying due to their faith.
Islamophobia is an institutionalized system that keeps Muslims students behind. Islamophobia in schools negatively impacts the way Muslim students see their future. The self-agency and -advocacy of students are diminished, which is harmful to our democracy because that portion of the U.S. population is disenfranchised. This also leads to other negative impacts throughout their lives.
The rise in Islamophobia since 2015 was in large part due to the inflammatory rhetoric that was used during the 2016 Presidential campaign. Islamophobia is not just a reaction to “terrorist” actions around the world. It is a social, cultural construction, and we need to create a counter-narrative. From China toIndia to Israel to European countries to our own country, we must stand against Islamophobia. Therefore, I call on our Augsburg community, the Augsburg Day Student Government (ADSG), the student body and members of our local, state and federal communities to stand up against any forms of Islamophobia everywhere in the world.