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STAND FOR ALL!

STAND FOR ALL!

AMERICAN MUSLIMS ARE AT THE CROSSROADS

By Zaheer Uddin

Indeed, the American Muslims are at the crossroads. American Muslims are feeling anxiety and uncertainty because of the Islamophobic and hate incidents nationwide. But silence and inaction is not the answer or solution. Rather Muslims do have to play a key role, and it is on them to help lead their country out of this dangerous situation as moral leaders, not victims.

Muslim Americans must find the courage to stand up for universal values of fairness and freedom during this difficult time. This is best done by working, not talking, but working together across cultures, color and creed, to build the kind of country we all want to live in.

American Muslims and Muslim organizations have helped fight discrimination, respond to media bias, and demand action from government officials, but for too long this tireless work has been limited to dealing with the consequences of hate. Managing to sustain is not the same as proactively targeting Islamophobia at its roots. America’s Islamophobia network is an over $80 million industry and if there is a hope of defeating it, together we must move beyond mere survival into long-term sustainability through proactive planning.

It is time to confront the problem at its cause. As American Muslims we have to start and lead a movement to stop crimes of hatred before they occur, but once again we cannot do it alone. We need a reserve of resources so that we can be effective when and how we need to be in order to nip Islamophobia in the bud before it takes more victims.

While American Muslims certainly aren't obligated to condemn terror and violence through in which they have no part, many do largely as a defense mechanism and to guard against potential blowback from bigots who won't be sophisticated enough to draw such distinctions.

It is time that American Muslims work hand in hand with other people of conscience to fight against Islamophobia. While it affects Muslims most directly, it is a threat to every American. Fear makes us more accepting of authoritarianism, conformity and prejudice, the most corrosive elements to a free society. Islamophobia is also linked to Anti-Semitism, and anti-black racism, as this election has illustrated. So everyone is threatened when bigotry is normalized. For this reason, it is not on American Muslims alone to combat Islamophobia, it is on every American who cares about freedom.

IN CONCLUSION

The face of America is changing. Islamophobia, stereotypes and hate against Islam and Muslims are here and real. Hate used to be on the fringes of society. Now, Islamophobia is part of the mainstream. This escalation of anti-Muslim bigotry and Islamophobia has truly gotten out of control.  Thankfully, some interfaith leaders and politicians, even in the GOP are speaking out.  But, we need many more voices.  This is not the America that we know and love, that received the Pilgrims and found a place for the Quakers, that built its cities through immigrant sweat and tears.  We must not turn our backs on this legacy.  This is a critical moment in our history as a nation.

This Islamophobia and hate towards Islam and Muslim is there because we have not effectively challenged them. In order to effectively challenge them we have to understand that combating Islamophobia is a much larger systemic challenge that requires a strategic and critical approach. Most importantly, we need a media institution to magnify Muslim voices loud and clear.  

Interfaith groups are our first line of defense when an Islamophobic tragedy takes place at the local, national or international level. We need to build the bridges.

Keep in mind, Islam is not only about the past; it is also the way forward to a meaningful life in the 21st Century.

We can and must push back on the Islamophobic backlash. We can and must engage in challenging Islamophobia as an integral part of our efforts for justice in our country. We believe that the positive values we live by are worth more when we pass them on. We can do this, and we must do it today.

Hope and optimism is the way of a Muslim. Stand up for the rights and dignity of not just American Muslims but of all Americans.

While American Muslims certainly aren't obligated to condemn terror and violence through in which they have no part, many do largely as a defense mechanism and to guard against potential blowback from bigots who won't be sophisticated enough to draw such distinctions.

It is time that American Muslims work hand in hand with other people of conscience to fight against Islamophobia. While it affects Muslims most directly, it is a threat to every American. Fear makes us more accepting of authoritarianism, conformity and prejudice, the most corrosive elements to a free society. Islamophobia is also linked to Anti-Semitism, and anti-black racism, as this election has illustrated. So everyone is threatened when bigotry is normalized. For this reason, it is not on American Muslims alone to combat Islamophobia, it is on every American who cares about freedom.

04 May 2017 910 Views

Posted By: Saleem Khan

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