Islamophobia needs to stop

Lauren Chapluk/PSU Vanguard

I have yet to stop learning while being in college. I guess they’re telling the truth when they say college is full of continuous, enlightening information that keeps coming despite the lack of sleep and constant mental breakdowns that learning entails.

However, I’m sick of being taught that Muslims are murderers.

I was too young to remember exactly what followed after 9/11, and although I’ve grown up in a post-9/11 world where the idea that airport security means madness and deportation is actually taken seriously, I was too young to understand the politicians and I was too naive to comprehend messages from the media.

I’m old enough now though, and if this post-9/11 world has taught me anything, it has taught me to hate. Or its tried to anyway.

Politicians (this term should be used loosely in this case) such as Donald Trump have instilled fear into our country. We have been taught to fear anyone different, anyone foreign, anyone who has a darker skin tone than us. And above all else, we have been taught to fear Muslims.

Even worse, we have been taught to hate them.

Nobody wants to talk about the two white male shooters who shot 12 students and one teacher in 1999 at Columbine High School. Or the 23-year-old from South Korea who killed 32 people. You never hear people talk about Adam Lanza, another white male who slaughtered 30 children and six adults at Sandy Hook Elementary.

Nobody even specifically targets the white man responsible for the Aurora theater shooting that injured 70 and killed 12. The Charleston church shooter, who was responsible for the deaths of 12 people and is suspected to be a white supremacist, hasn’t been spoken of after the attacks, either.

I find it strange that these men who were all responsible for murder haven’t caused problems for their entire race. After these massacres, we hated the shooter. We hated the person. We hated the individual.

We didn’t hate all white people. We didn’t blame their entire race or religion.

Somehow, after the Orlando shooting at Pulse Nightclub left 49 dead, we have begun to blame all Muslims for the actions of one man. It’s like we have been convinced that all Muslims are murderers. And now, we have been taught to fear them. We have been taught not to trust them.

In turn, we’ve been influenced to hurt them. Maybe not physically and maybe not visibly, but our actions, our opinions and our discrimination is going to hurt the group being punished because of the actions of one man.

We need to realize before our stereotypes begin changing our perceptions: Muslims are not murderers. They are not trained to kill, they are not taught to hate and their religion does not preach violence.

Humans are murderers. That means that we cannot treat Muslims differently because of who we think they will be and what we think they will do. We cannot condemn everyone.

I have little faith that things will change or return back to the “good ol’ days” before the terrorist attacks in 2001. I doubt that politicians will stop leading their people using fear tactics. And I have little hope that bigotry and discrimination will come to an end.

We must learn to accept, we must learn to understand and we must learn not to blame. Pointing fingers will get us nowhere.

So no, Muslims are no more destined to be murderers than the rest of us.


  1. I too have learned much in college, and I’ve spent most of this experience studying and writing about religion. I too grow weary of those that seek to limit the rights and freedoms of others. Bigotry is friend to no one.

    After 9/11, I was still only mildly interested about events in the Middle East. However as time went on, I’ve begun to see how incredibly important it is that I focus on the crisis that is the Global Jihadist Insurgency. An organized network of Islamists have staged attacks on a global scale,

    Many Muslims have committed mass murders, and nobody has suffered more as a result than Muslim communities. Much Muslim blood has been shed by those who seek to bring the world under their interpretation of Islamic rule. Just because a majority of the victims have been Muslim however, does not mean that the perpetrators do not share a belief in the same God. Many have suggested this following the bombing outside the prophet’s mosque in Medina, one of the most sacred sites in Islam. Religious civil war is not new.

    If an individual says he acts out of love for Islam, who am I to argue? As Al Jazeera journalist Imran Garda said facetiously on twitter, “ISIS leader AbuBakr alBaghdadi got a PhD from (nothing to do with) Islamic University of Baghdad in (nothing to do with) Islamic Studies.” [1] This point is inescapable; Jihadists follow their understanding of Islam. Yet the very people that launch attacks on unarmed civilians in defense of Islam are being caricatured by the left as not being true believers. Jihadists believe. They sacrifice themselves because they have submitted to a violent interpretation of a religious ideology.

    While the Qu’ran may not directly instruct every action Jihadists make, its ambivalent attitude towards non-believers easily leaves it open to violent interpretations. In fact a Pew Research poll (2007) found that Muslim-Americans who identify strongly with their religion are three times more likely to believe that suicide bombings can be justified. [2] A Populus Poll (2006) found that 12% of young British Muslims believe such attacks against civilians may be justified. [3]

    To those that disagree, and argue that Islam is inherently peaceful, I answer by citing the example of Muhammed, the prophet of Islam. That is, Muhammed the warlord, not Muhammed the preacher. Who marched on Mecca after conveniently being told by god that Mecca, not Jerusalem is the true place of worship. If anyone doubts the violent texts that pour graciously from the Qur’an let them ask as they find themselves in various situations requiring moral reasoning, “What would Muhammed do?”.

    Donald Trump has made sweeping remarks regarding the fate of Muslims who wish to entire the country. While he is an ignoramus and completely devoid of the knowledge and expertise to run a country he was the only politician brave enough to call out the real culprits, *spoiler alert* it wasn’t guns. Trump said, “America must unite the whole civilized world in the fight against Islamic terrorism…” and he was exactly right.[4]

    Both Muslim and secular liberal activists can agree with this passage, and many do. Maajid Nawaz, a former Islamist and founder of Quilliam the world’s first counter extremist organization, will be the first to tell you, Islam has something to do with Islamism. And get this, Maajid is a Muslim! Trump is not the only person who has voiced concerns about the beliefs and practices of Islamists. Intellectuals and secular activists from all walks of life see that there is much in Islamism to be wary of.

    Conceivably one can voice concerns about Islamism and the nature of certain beliefs inherent to Islam without seeking to diminish the value of Muslim people. I will criticize the whole of Islam, not just Islamists. This is not Islamophobia, it is a reasoned critique of a religion that has harbored beliefs that oppress women and sexual minorities. To give but one example: One can objectively state that being forced to live in a cloth bag is not conductive to a woman’s physical and psychological well being. In 2002 fifteen girls perished in a fire at Mecca Intermediate School No. 31, religious authorities thwarted attempts by rescue workers to intervene because the girls were not dressed properly.[5] When beliefs are more important that the lives and freedoms of individuals, words on a page can can cause more destruction in a community than bombs and drone strikes.

    [1] (Twitter Jul,3.)


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