Bias against Muslims has become acceptable
Although most people know what it means to be a bigot, many Buffalonians struggle with the idea that hating Muslims is prejudicial at all. Today in America, being called a racist is detrimental. Even those who admit to themselves that they are racists tend to hide the fact from others. However, when it comes to discussing Muslims, (more specifically, those of Middle Eastern descent) simply understanding that “they are the enemy” is normal.
While America has a dark history of race relations with several groups, (some more marginalized than others) Muslims are not included as victims of American racism. Events like 9/11 and groups like al-Qaida have acted as duplicitous excuses for racism and have kept this horribly pernicious notion alive. Even though the explanation for Islamophobia is often traced to terrorist events, there is no data to support any finding that Muslims tend to be terrorists. In fact, according to the FBI, of all the terrorist events that occurred in the United States from 1980 to 2005, Islamic extremists contributed only 6 percent. With these statistics, the hatred of Muslims is purely unsubstantiated, yet it still occurs.
Even though we may grow weary of explaining that Muslim and terrorist are not synonymous, perhaps we should think about why we have to in the first place. After all, seeing a hijab should be no more reminiscent of ISIS than a white hoodie to the KKK.
Jaela E. Williams