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An Open Letter: Islamophobia Will Never Be “Just An Opinion”

This piece reflects the opinion of the individual writer, not those of Her Campus Auburn as an organization

To the man on my bus who indignantly said his right not to read the Koran and his overall hatred of Muslims was “just his opinion,”

Your prejudice is, for one, unoriginal and very characteristic of someone like you, a 30-year-old man who never before has had to challenge himself to understanding other people outside of his circle of white Southern friends. I’m glad to hear the person on the other end of the phone—someone who sounded like they disagreed, especially when you said you’d freely tell a Muslim person you fed your dog bacon—was trying to push back against the huge wall that has formed in your head. You sound ignorant, afraid of change and difference, but overall like someone who would happily stand by and even participate in spitting on protesters of the Muslim Ban, as anti-protestors did during the official Auburn Muslim Ban protest.

photo credit: Ingrid Schnader

Knowing people who aren’t Christian live their lives happily probably angers you—it probably scares you so much your anger increases, makes your prejudice grow by leaps and bounds. It’s sad, but I have no pity for you, someone who has had enough time in their lives to see where prejudice works—and where it works in your favor.

You were protesting reading the Koran in your history class—but I bet you’d never protest reading the Bible in that same class, would you? Christianity is history to you, even fact. But you cannot see the analogues to Islam. You refuse to see that Islam, too, is part of the history of the world. What you most likely don’t know is that Muslim scientists created mathematics and even medicine and surgery before European scientists could even fathom it. During that time, European scientists were largely still using leeches. Funny, huh?

And what’s even funnier is that you are so completely ignorant of the thing (and by thing I mean the millions of people all around the world that happen to practice Islam) you hate. When you were getting defensive (maybe this relationship isn’t working out, I guess), you said maybe you should have all the pictures of what you called “gods”: Jesus, Buddha, and Muhammad, peace be upon him. But what’s sooooo funny is that you don’t even know one thing about Islam, like that having a picture of Muhammad is a big taboo and incredibly disrespectful. So certainly when you say it’s “just your opinion,” your opinion is very ill-informed.

In this great PDF (something you may be able to understand), here is the explanation of how Islam works. Like Christianity, Islam has denominations and differing practices based on those denominations. Those denominations are Sunni, Shi’a, and Sufism (and there are more historical ones), and like Christian denominations they believe different things about the Koran, just as different Christian denomations do. Just like how Methodists and Baptists read the same Bible, but they practice different things. Some of these differences come from the ideas about who the successor of Muhammad the Prophet, peace be upon him, was supposed to be (you can learn more here).

People like you are stubborn and prejudiced, and so while I doubt you’ll ever see this, I know for one thing that you and your ilk are too common in Auburn. You live in our foundations of prejudice and diversity only for the sake of race-based quotas. You exact your prejudice against your poor professors and TAs because you think what you say is smart and insightful.

What you see as insight is stupid, ugly, uninformed hate. I’d pity you if my heart weren’t already invested in those people you’re hurting most: millions of Muslims who everyday are discriminated against and killed and hurt. As a Christian I thought you’d understand persecution; sadly, it seems you’re one of those who only see prejudice when it affects you (and only you), and tell the rest of those around you to “deal with it” if they so much as utter a sound of pain from the years of oppression they have faced. Your “opinion” is unoriginal, but your hate is a part of the alt-right, the legions of white supremacists and extremist Christians who seek to destroy non-white people in this country. Your kind spray-painted a TA’s apartment with the word “Arab” akin to those done by Nazis to Jewish people in Nazi Germany, as Auburn’s Chapter of the Southern Poverty Law Center documented here.

The kind of violent hatred that comes from these ideas is at once unacceptable to people like me, those who wish to better society, and yet accepted by the majority of this country. But that has to come to an end because Islamophobia is never acceptable. Hatred toward a group of people without understanding the people in it—often willfully, as you do—is the basis for a country and a world filled with unending, anti-human violence. You must be stopped, and the support of Muslim people on Auburn’s campus and everywhere must increase. 

photo credit: Ingrid Schnader

You sicken me with your base jokes about bacon and your lack of intellect. I surely hope whomever you were talking to cuts you off and leaves your 30-year-old butt alone with your stupid, ignorant “opinions.”

Sincerely,

Someone who heard every word of your “opinion”

Read this to get more info on Islam.

 

Hannah an English Literature major at Auburn University.
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