Islamophobia, like anti-Semitism is on the rise. Despite the new found-fame, Islam and Muslims remain largely unknown. The article aims to narrow the gap between those who want to know more about Muslims and those who are looking to dispel the myths.
“So what are some of the stereotypes you heard people say about Muslims?”
“Muslims are terrorists.”
“Muslim women are oppressed.”
“You know, go back home. You are foreigner.”
“Not all Muslims are terrorists. But all terrorists are Muslims”.
“Muslims are un-American.”
“They are all Arabs”.
“The Qur’an teaches hate.”
This is the transcript of the opening minute of a 11- minute short film by Unity Productions Foundation, titled “American Muslims: Facts vs Fiction, that I have shown as part of my interfaith council’s “Love Your Muslim Neighbor” program numerous times. The documentary has about a million views on Youtube and has many more million views on various other outlets.
Regarding “Not all Muslims are terrorists. But all terrorists are Muslims”, the segment in blue ink is an add on after I first published the post.
There was a firebomb attack at a mosque in Bloomington, MN on Saturday August 4, 2017. NBCnews.com reported:
The FBI has taken over the investigation and Minneapolis special agent in charge Rick Thornton told reporters that the blast was from an improvised explosive device…..A motive in the bombing, and whether it was a hate crime, has not been determined, Thornton said…..Local leaders and faith groups denounced the violent act.
Note that the T word-terrorism, was never used by anyone on the report. If it was any other place of worship, I have a feeling they would have called it an act of terrorism even before the bomb went off-literally. But since the victims were Muslims (thank God no one was injured), everyone seems to have a hard time calling it an act of terrorism. Such is the state of our brainwashed minds.
Islam and Muslims have been in the limelight for at least the last two decades. Muslims in America have largely been known through the Palestinian-Israeli conflict, 9/11 and acts of terrorism. The obsessive focus on the negativities in mainstream media and national politics has only fueled Islamophobia. During the past elections, calls for banning anti-sharia laws (whereas none exist or have been proposed as legislation), President Trump’s rhetoric against Muslims, and the subsequent Muslim travel ban have greatly contributed to the fear, hate and stereotyping.Despite the newfound fame, Islam and Muslims remain largely unknown. Many myths still exist.
This has prompted a call to learn more about Islam and Muslims. Many organizations such as Unity productions Foundation, Islamic Network Group (ING), American Muslim Voice have sprung to action to educate others about Muslims and Islam.
Another organization that has worked to remove stereotypes against Islam and Muslims may come as a surprise to you. That organization is Anti Defamation League or ADL. ADL’s core mission is to stop the defamation of the Jewish people and fight anti-Semitism but has also been engaged in educating America on Islam and Muslims!
Rather than repeating the stereotypes and their rebuttal, I would encourage you to watch the UPF short film and read the article by ADL noted above. I will touch upon these very briefly and touch other aspects not covered by them.
Myth 1: “All Muslims are Arabs”
Fact: Only about 20% of Muslims are Arabs or Middle Eastern. The rest live outside of the Arab world.
Muslim Americans are much more diverse group than any other American group. This has been shown by polls by Pew Research Center and more recently by a study conducted by Institute of Social Policy and Understanding (ISPU). According to the study:
- Muslims are the only faith community surveyed with no majority race, with 25% black, 24% white, 18% Asian, 18% Arab, 7% mixed race, and 5% Hispanic.
- Half of Muslims are native born and half are foreign born, but most (86%) are citizens.
- Muslims, Protestants, and Catholics have similar education levels.