Blamed and Abandoned

In the light of recent terrorist attacks in 2015, the world has encountered a fresh wave of Islamophobia. The United States House of Representatives quickly responded to the Paris attacks by passing a Republican-sponsored bill that creates additional, lengthy security checks for immigrants from Syria and Iraq, as reported by the CQ Roll Call, an economist group business. This action demonstrates a frantic reaction to terrorism with legislative decisions founded on fear-based logic. Unfortunately, it is not just the House of Representatives making poor decisions in regard to the Syrian refugees. This thunderstorm of irrational xenophobia has swept across the Western world, affecting society on both the macro and micro scales. The most important action we can take to combat this is to be aware of the circumstances that motivate our behaviors and push ourselves to develop a sense of compassion for the outsiders to this country who desperately seek our help and understanding.

Terrorist attacks shattered the world this past November, including a series of bombings and mass shootings in Paris, two suicide bombings in Beirut and an explosion on board a Russian jet that claimed the lives of 224 people. This instilled a strong fear toward Islamic fundamentalism epitomized by the Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant — aka ISIL. While these events are tragic, society must not condemn the masses of innocent Syrian refugees who were equally outraged and grief-stricken by the numerous murders that took place. If anything, the attacks demonstrate an example of the intense misery and horrors that Syrian refugees have been forced to endure in the war-torn corners and back ends of the Middle East.

The backlash against the terrorist attacks in Paris and Beirut has not been slow to arrive, and the police gave an account of a number of hate crimes that took place both in Europe and in the U.S. The Telegraph reported that one of these crimes took place in Pittsburgh during the Thanksgiving holiday: A Muslim taxi driver was shot in the back by a passenger who made a number of remarks on ISIL and the Prophet Muhammad prior to attacking the driver with a rifle. It seems bitterly ironic that this hate crime was carried out on Thanksgiving, a holiday on which we are supposed to set aside our differences with all kinds of people and learn to appreciate what we have. This goes to show that it doesn’t matter what time of year it is. Even with the holiday season, some people continue to be dominated by the underlying current of xenophobia sweeping the nation.

Another incident occurred at San Diego State two weeks ago. An unknown man pulled a Muslim SDSU student by her headscarf and made hateful comments regarding her religion. That same week, a series of anti-Islamic signs were posted around the UCSD campus. Even on the micro-scale, it is clear that Islamophobia is present. It is not entirely clear what type of remedial actions should be taken to prevent the further spread of hysterical fear against Muslims. And one good place to start would be to include more fair and balanced depictions of Muslim Americans in the media.

Only a little earlier this year, a Muslim student was arrested for inventing a clock and bringing it to class. This happened before the Paris attacks even unfolded. As a result, it is clear that Islamophobia is disheartening but is certainly nothing new to this country. Of course, people will act shocked and appalled that an inventive, innovative “American” boy could be exposed to this degree of maltreatment. But the moment that the safety of America is supposedly compromised by terrorist attacks in other parts of the Western world, society tosses aside its loyalty to its very own citizens that make up the core of this country. 

This year’s FBI uniform crime report shows that hate crimes against all religious, ethnic and racial groups, including Black and African Americans, are in decline with the exception of anti-Muslim crimes. Since 2002, they essentially remained flat. While the investigation of previously mentioned Islamophobic cases continues, the human rights violation of Muslim and Middle Eastern Americans is recognized as a national problem that concerns many media sources. 

However, a large share of citizens and state officials, including the governors of 26 states, fails to recognize that the unwillingness to accept Syrian refugees who seek asylum in the U.S. is the ultimate act of Islamophobia that escalates the conflict and does not solve the problem of worldwide Islamic terrorism. As a nation, we are founded on freedom, liberty and justice. We create a total mockery of our own values if we turn our backs on immigrants because we have suspicions that they may potentially have a connection with some bad guys, maybe. That is why it is crucial for America to wake up already and stop accepting a spirit of intolerance as the norm.

 

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