Islamophobia needs to end

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Islamophobia needs to end

Laura Aguilar-Flores, Staff Writer

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Prejudice, fear, and hatred against Muslims and the Islamic religion also known as Islamophobia has grown substantially around the globe and it’s time the problem is addressed.

On March 15th the world mourned the lives of many Muslims after two mosque shootings in Christchurch, New Zealand. The gunman, a suspected white supremacist who will remain unnamed, critically wounded many and murdered 50 people during traditional Friday prayers.

It is strongly believed that there was only one person involved in the shooting, but some think that he had the support of others. He was charged with murder a with more charges to come.

The gunman had reportedly posted a 74 page long anti-immigrant manifesto online before the attacks. He also live streamed a 17-minute video of the horrific event with a camera attached to a helmet.

54-year-old Kawthar Abulaban, a of the survivor of the shooting, visited the burial site of the victims. After seeing reporters and photographers outside of the cemetery, she commented on the widely perceived biases many have against Islam followers.

It’s good for the world to see what’s happened because people around the world, they thought we were terrorists because some stupid people, they said they are Muslims, they go and kill innocent people, they thought we are terrorists,” she said.

Jacinda Ardern, New Zealand’s Prime Minister, held a press conference on Friday after the event and referred to it as a “terrorist attack “and “one of New Zealand’s darkest days”.

This is one of New Zealand’s darkest days,” she said. “Many of those affected may be migrants, maybe refugees. … They are us,” She continued.

Less than a month later, police in California received a call at 3:15 am about a fire in Escondido, California. The fire was extinguished before authorities arrived, but the exterior of the building was damaged.

A note was found in the parking lot around the area supposedly referencing the New Zealand shootings.

At this time, we’re just going to leave it as it was a reference to the New Zealand shooting,” said Escondido police Lt. Chris Lick, as reported by a department spokesman to CNN.

According to Karem Elhams, founder of local Islamic center and Muslim community member, the perpetrator fled after worshipers in the mosque went to see what the commotion outside was about and successfully drove him away.

Unfortunately, these two examples of Islamophobia are not isolated incidents. In 2017 Canada saw a 47% increase in hate crimes, “primarily targeting Muslims, Jews and black people, according to new figures released by the country’s statistical agency, “reported the guardian.

Even the Chinese government has started creating “Re-education camps” in the Xinjiang region where Chinese Muslims are forced to endure ideological lectures, sing Chinese Communist party hymns, write self-criticism essays, are sleep deprived, beaten, tortured, and more.

These events have received an astonishing amount of support from people ready to call Muslims “terrorists” and “violent”. Even Queensland Senator, Fraser Anning, made ignorant comments regarding the link between Muslim immigration and an increase in violence as well as insulting Islam in an official press release on the day of the attack.

The press statement included the following excerpts,

The truth is that Islam is not like any other faith. It is the religious equivalent of fascism. And just because the followers of this savage belief were not the killers in this instance, does not make them blameless” and “The entire religion of Islam is simply the violent ideology of a sixth century despot masquerading as a religious leader, which justifies endless war against anyone who opposes it and calls for the murder of unbelievers and apostates.

From the New Zealand massacre to the re-education camps in China, we are witnessing the results of years and years of anti-Muslim views that we allowed to flourish and go unpunished.

Everyday around the world Muslims face discrimination for practicing a peaceful religion which has unfortunately been deemed “dangerous” and they are left feeling afraid and uncertain for the terrors they may face because of the public’s misconceptions of their religion. Years of hatred and ignorance towards the peaceful religion will be hard to combat and reverse, but it is time to take this issue seriously and stop the spreading of hate. It is time to fight for the lives of Muslims around the world the same way we fight for injustices within our country: loudly, clearly, and for as long as we need to.