The Force of Islamophobia in America

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By: Sathiyan Sivakumaran

This has been a week filling the American people with extremely strong emotions. These emotions ranged from anger, sadness, rage, and love. However, the emotion being voiced the loudest was none other than fear. When Donald Trump proposed banning all Muslim immigration “until our country’s representatives can figure out what is going on,” he was speaking in response to the attack in San Bernardino. There would be very few supporters of this policy before 9/11, as well as the Paris and San Bernardino attacks. It’s a reactionary policy subjecting a large group of people to pay the consequences for the actions of a very few within the group, and it is purely rooted in fear.

For starters, the United States is currently home to at least 5 million practicing Muslims by some estimates. That population is greater than the populations of nearly 30 states in America: if Muslim Americans formed a state, they would form a state with a greater population than Oregon or Alabama. It’s not as massive of a minority as the number of people who are religiously unaffiliated, but it is still a significant number. Of these 5 million Muslim Americans, the vast majority have never plotted acts of terrorism on America. A very small number have carried out attacks on our homeland, while many other mass shootings have occurred that had nothing to do with radicalized Islam. A few examples that come to mind are the 2012 Aurora shooting with 12 killed and 70 injured and the Sandy Hook shooting with 26 killed. Both of those were just in 2012, with many other mass shootings happening in the last 13 years since September 11, 2001 that were completely unrelated to Muslim terrorism.

We can already see the massive number of casualties caused by shootings completely unrelated to the terrorism that Donald Trump fears. It is reasonable to fear the number of mass shootings that have been occurring in America. It’s reasonable to fear the Islamic State terrorists, who have been wreaking havoc in the Middle East. However, we can’t allow this fear to cause us to turn our back on all of Islam, a religion that’s followers make up over 1.5 billion of the world’s population. That is unreasonable. When we follow the fear mongering of Donald Trump and others who fear Islam, we are buying into the behaviors that subject many innocent people to lesser treatment just because of a difference in religious beliefs from the majority. The United States of America was founded on religious freedom. After hundreds of years, why would we disregard one of the most important pillars this great nation was formed on?

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