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Islamophobia: When Do You Cross the Line?

There’s a lot of controversy surrounding President Trump’s legislation that people are calling a “Muslim ban.” There are usually two responses you’ll run into: some saying it’s simply to protect American people from terrorism, and others saying it’s prejudiced and promotes isolationism. This theme of security dictates a lot of discussions regarding Muslims because you see the same argument that people need to be fearful of terrorists, so they should be fearful of all Muslims. With concern about terrorism being warranted, how do tell when discourse is Islamophobic or not? I’m here to say that when someone talks about terrorism, Islam, refugees, Syria, etc. and they demonize all Muslims, that’s Islamophobic.

Let’s break it down. We all know that the civil war in Syria and the terrorist group ISIS are both examples of genuine concerns regarding human rights, mass killings, etc. Political discussions about terrorism when you’re talking about these problems and how to solve them are obviously not Islamophobic. When it crosses the line is when generalizations are made about Muslims that show irrational fear towards the entire community. If someone is saying that ISIS or terrorism needs to be eradicated, like Trump does, that is not Islamophobic. But when someone says everyone should be fearful about ALL Muslims that is Islamophobic because now they’ve crossed the line into stereotyping. This same idea goes hand in hand with any legislation, discussion, discourse, or propaganda about Islam whether the argument be about security, feminism or anything else. Keep this in mind when analyzing people’s ideas about Islam and the Muslim community. I think a good rule to go by is this:

With anything you read or hear, if you replace the word “Muslim” with “black” or “Jew” and it makes that statement seem prejudiced, racist or it makes you uncomfortable, it’s Islamophobic.




Photos by Jerry Kiesewetter and Geoff Livingston

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