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Decades after 9/11, Muslims battle Islamophobia in US

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For Muslim Americans, the post-September 11 ramifications of Islamophobia proceed because the 21st anniversary of the assaults is solemnly marked on Sunday.

According to FBI statistics, hate crimes in opposition to Muslims within the United States skyrocketed instantly after September 11, 2001, and are nonetheless on an upward pattern.

“Muslims continue to be the target of hate, bullying, and discrimination as a result of the stereotypes that were perpetuated by Islamophobes and the media in the years following the 9/11 attacks,” mentioned Hussam Ayloush, govt director of the Los Angeles chapter of the Council on American-Islamic Relations.

“Twenty-one years after the attacks, Muslims continue to face the threat of targeted violence.”

After September 11, Ayloush mentioned, there was “a perfect storm of the American people and its government needing a common ‘enemy’”.

“The unfortunate reality is there are people and organisations that benefit from perpetuating Islamophobia, bigotry, and war,” he mentioned.

‘Xenophobic commentary’

Islamophobia – which is outlined as the hate of, or prejudice in opposition to, Islam or Muslims – stays a prevalent drawback within the US.

Zahra Jamal, affiliate director of Rice University’s Boniuk Institute for Religious Tolerance in Houston, mentioned 62 % of Muslims report feeling religion-based hostility and 65 % felt disrespected by others.

“That’s almost three times the percentage among Christians,” mentioned Jamal. “Internalised Islamophobia is more prevalent among younger Muslims who have faced anti-Muslim tropes in popular culture, news, social media, political rhetoric, and in policy. This negatively impacts their self-image and mental health.”

She mentioned the numbers associated to discrimination in opposition to Muslims are alarming and present simply how a lot Islamophobia has elevated within the US over the previous 20 years.

Ayloush mentioned the statistics weren’t shocking contemplating the present risky political local weather within the US perpetuated by former President Donald Trump throughout his time period in workplace.

“Trump’s presidency normalised being an anti-Muslim bigot. He made it socially acceptable to be overtly anti-Muslim,” mentioned Ayloush.

“Besides constantly retweeting anti-Muslim rhetoric from Islamophobic entities from his now-permanently suspended Twitter account and stating during his campaign that he thinks ‘Islam hates us’, he also made multiple xenophobic commentary and policies about Muslim immigrants and refugees … with very little regard to their discriminatory intent.”

More susceptible to violence?

Ayloush cited “the Muslim ban”, which barred travellers from a number of Muslim-majority international locations from getting into the US.

“Although the current administration overturned the ban, we are still dealing with the ramifications of it to this day with many families still being separated,” mentioned Ayloush.

He emphasised one stereotype that impacts the Muslim group the toughest.

“The most blatant falsehood to arise from the response to the 9/11 attacks is the idea that Muslims are somehow more prone to violence than other groups or religions,” mentioned Ayloush.

“This harmful and inaccurate ideology portrays Islam’s greater than two billion followers in a method that finally dehumanises them. Even worse, it has led to authorities insurance policies and legislation enforcement practices that surveil the Muslim group.

“Islamophobia does not exist in a vacuum. Muslims are unfortunately not the first, and they sadly will not be the last, group that faces hate and discrimination in the United States,” mentioned Ayloush.

He famous the US has a protracted historical past of “dehumanising and marginalising” ethnic and non secular teams, together with Native Americans, African Americans, Jews, and Asian Americans.

The solely technique to fight Islamophobia after 9/11 is to handle it head-on, he mentioned.

“It is important to hold people who perpetuate racism, bigotry, and xenophobia accountable for their hateful words and actions in all sectors, whether it’s at the border, at the airport, by law enforcement, or by a politician,” mentioned Ayloush.

“In the last 20-plus years since that horrific day, we are seeing more and more Americans choosing to stand up for what is right.”

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