Islamophobia continues to remain unchecked

Graphic Courtesy of Wikimedia Commons

Graphic Courtesy of Wikimedia Commons

Minorities fighting minorities. How can two minorities who have historically faced immense discrimination put each other at fault for their issues? While the idea is absurd, it is much more common than people might expect. 

On Wednesday, Jan. 11, 2023, FHS held an advisory on antisemitism in response to the many hate crimes perpetrated against the Jewish community, specifically the horrendous anti-Semitic graffiti in Fremont’s bathrooms. In the beginning, this advisory was one of the best advisories to date. Students shared their personal experiences and how they have been affected — an undoubtedly valuable message for the many students listening in. However, speaker Eliezer Cohn brought up Zionism, leading to the classic indirect blaming of Muslims. 

Zionism is defined as the movement for the self-determination and statehood of the Jewish people in their ancestral homeland, the land of Israel. In essence, Zionism states that Israel is entitled to its current lands, and, as claimed by Eliezer Cohn, anything against this doctrine is a form of antisemitism. While I wish the advisory ended there, it did not. Many people have heard of the Israeli-Palestinian conflict, in which Israel claims that the lands of Palestine are theirs, as they settled there first. Cohn claimed that one could criticize the Israeli government and not be anti-Zionist. However, he then went on to show a video of an elected extremist Hamas leader saying that all Jews need to be killed, as they are a threat to Palestine’s independence. 

This was a blatant case of antisemitism. However, by allowing a terrorist to be the voice of Muslims — even if it were unintentional  — immediately portrays all Muslims as terrorists. This is one of the most common manifestations of Islamophobia that exists nearly across the whole world but is largely overlooked. I understand the point that the speaker was attempting to make, but giving no context and representing Muslims as terrorists is clearly a problem, especially when talking about racial injustice.

Those Palestinian extremists used by Israelis to demonstrate that Palestine is persecuting them are only a small fraction of all Muslims. Most of the time, they were born from the continuous bombings of Gaza. Living in an area where the only thing one knows is hate, destruction, and poverty is a surefire way to produce an extremist. Unfortunately, these people’s violent reactions to the oppression is often associated with the entire religion of Islam. 

Even with Islamophobia is a major problem across the world, it goes unnoticed by major news networks and the general population. Countless times there are shootings at mosques, and no mainstream media covers it. This is not just a problem pertaining to the United States; France has had its fair share of mosque shootings and discrimination against Muslims. Additionally, whenever an incident of domestic terrorism occurs, it is assumed by many security agencies that the efforts of an Islamic terrorist caused it. 

According to the Center for Strategic and International Studies, white supremacists carried out 49% of domestic attacks against racial, ethnic and religious groups in 2021. Yet, this somehow received little to no news coverage, and white people were, and still are, not viewed as terrorists. Now, this is not to say that white people are terrorists. On the contrary, the actions of white supremacists do not dictate the view of white people as extremists. However, when it comes to Islamic people, the same thinking does not apply. This is an issue that has to be talked about as Islam cannot be viewed as the religion of terrorists. This advisory was just one of the many examples of how the blame for the world’s problems is placed on the Muslim community. Most Muslims are committed to fighting antisemitism. History has shown that misunderstanding and stereotyping, no matter what the source, only leads to increased violence.