Don’t Forget About The Islamophobic Pandemic


Photo Courtesy of Wikimedia Commons

The United States closed its borders to Muslims fleeing genocide in Rohingya, as seen in the picture, as well as a multitude of other countries around the world.

Gabrielle Daley, Editor-In-Chief

Teenage boys play video games like Call of Duty all the time, a game where they gain points by shooting and killing as many opponents as possible. How do they know who the enemy is? The men wearing turbans are the ones they need to kill. People who look like they are Muslim go through extra screenings in the airport, and get dirty looks on the street. Somehow, we’ve convinced ourselves – most of the world has convinced itself – that all Muslims are killers. That’s far beyond the truth. 

There are 1.8 billion Muslims in the world, according to Pew Research Center. They are facing genocide, detention, and discrimination in countries all over the world. Muslims have been oppressed time and time again, despite their significant numbers. The rise of right-wing politics in countries including Russia, China, India, and several in the West like France and the United States has also brought Islamophobic rhetoric and legislation to the table. 

Photo Courtesy of Wikimedia Commons
Americans protest in January of 2017 against President Trump’s Muslim Ban in Washington, DC.

On January 22th of 2017, President Trump ordered a “Muslim” ban, blocking the entry of people from seven Muslim-majority countries (Iran, Iraq, Libya, Somalia, Syria, Sudan, and Yemen) into the United States. The ban was found unconstitutional twice before Trump wrote a new version a third time, said BBC News. On January 31, 2020 Trump added Nigeria, Myanmar, Eritrea, Kyrgyzstan, Sudan, and Tanzania to his restricted travel list, according to the New York Times.

In Myanmar, 24,000 Rohingya Muslims have been killed by the state’s military since 2017 based on a study by the Ontario International Development Agency. Alawite President al-Assad has waged war against his Sunni Muslim population in Syria, according to the BBC. The United State’s “War on Terror” has wreaked havoc across the Middle East since the beginning of the 21st-century. Yemen is considered to be the world’s largest humanitarian crisis, with millions starving to death, dying from diseases, and being killed at war, according to The United Nations. Sudan, after being in years of civil war, people lack the necessities they need to live. About 4.5 million South Sudanese are displaced across the world, according to CARE. 

And here we are, Americans, closing our borders to these stateless people, these dying people… because of their religion? That’s not what we stand for. We are a country founded upon the belief that all men are equal. Our founding fathers made sure that every religion could be practiced as long as it was safe in this country. The Establishment Clause in the Constitution states that there should be a wall between religion and state, and the government cannot favor one religion over another. But right now, we aren’t living up to any of that. We’re not even living up to be a country with human decency. 

 We aren’t the only villain to blame though. As of December 2019, India announced that Muslims can no longer become citizens of their country as stated by The Guardian; yet, there are 138 million Muslims already residing in India, according to India’s Ministry of Home Affairs.

Furthermore, Carleton University stated that in 2004, the French government banned hijabs from being worn in public schools. The BBC also reported that multiple parts of France banned the “burkini,”, a full-body swimsuit for Muslim women. France was also the first European country to ban niqabs and burqas in public places in 2011. Belgium initiated the full veil ban in the same year. The Netherlands followed suit five years later and Denmark joined in 2018. Parts of Spain and Russia have also imposed bans. In addition, the BCC stated that Canada outlawed religious symbols, including the hijab, from being worn by public workers in early 2019.

China has filled internment camps with one million Muslims, and they are being forced into “thought transformation classes” to “deter them from extremism” based on a CBSN report. What is truly happening inside the camps is unknown. This is another example of how history repeats itself over and over again—the Holocaust, ethnic cleansing crisis in Bosnia, and now this.

This is a human rights crisis that even the United States is stimulating. Muslims are being denied basic freedoms; yet, human rights belong to everyone no matter their ethnicity, gender, or religion. If millions of people can have their right to become a citizen of a state, their right to wear what they feel is proper based on religion, and their right to life revoked then what does that mean for the rest of the population? If the rights of millions of people are being taken away by world powers, all human rights are at stake. Governments around the world can begin to target other groups of people based on factors like ethnicity and religion, seeing that Muslims’ rights have been on the line in even “liberal” and “democratic” countries all around the world, including the United States. This needs to stop. We are all humans. We all are equal. No group of people is better than another, and we all deserve fair rights. The persecution of Muslims should be an issue the entire world is fighting against. We can’t simply stand by and watch; we must speak up. Just one voice can start a revolution.

People who lack a true understanding of different cultures will believe what they hear and follow others. The constant oppression of Muslims around the world is due, in part, to a lack of education. Children in schools should be taught the values of all faiths, including Islam. Muslims are looked at with fear because people hear about groups like ISIS and the Taliban consistently through Western media outlets; these are very small extremist groups that most Muslims don’t even consider to be Muslim. The media also plays an important role in closing gaps between people from different backgrounds. Journalists must bring light to the discrimination and oppression Muslims face across the world as well as what their faith truly stands for. 

The five pillars of Islam include faith, prayer, charity, fasting, and pilgrimage—not one involves harming others or terrorism. If students from a young age learned about people around the world and in their country, bridges would be made. People would be able to understand each other. Our human rights would be secured and respected. Peace is founded upon education and understanding. And if we, as a country want to set a good example for the rest of the world, our “Muslim Ban” must go.