by Imam Abdul Malik Mujahid
Islamophobia is real. You may have personally experienced it or know a family member, friend or acquaintance who has. This new racism must be made known and fought against. Here are a couple of ways to combat this phenomenon:
- Remember the Prophet. The Prophet was subject to horrible insults and hate crimes in his lifetime. He remained steadfast, patient and tolerant in the face of this Islamophobia. We must model this same behavior.Good and Evil deeds are not alike. Requite evil with good, and he who is your enemy will become your dearest friend. But none will attain this save those who endure with fortitude and are greatly favored by God. (Quran 41: 34-35) Pray that God guides these people who mock the Deen and one of God’s Prophet.
- Note that incidents of Islamophobia are not isolated. Whether it's threat of bombing Makkah, calling Islam evil, depicting the Prophet as a terrorist, disrespecting the Quran, discriminating against Muslims, profiling Hindus, Sikhs, or Latinos thinking they look like Muslims, torturing prisoners, bombing civilians, these are all signs of Islamophobia.
- Also note that not all media or all non-Muslims support this type of insulting behavior. Many have been at the forefront of condemning torture, bombing and occupation. There are 75 million Americans who, despite all Islamophobic media, think positive about Islam and Muslims.
- Equate racism, anti-Semitism and Islamophobia. They all are fruits of the same tree of hate.
- Start using the word Islamophobia to describe any kind of hate crime or speech against Islam and Muslims. Doing this will make the term uniform and eventually, an accepted part of the English language the way the term "anti-Semitism" is.
- If you are involved in interfaith work, bring up the topic of Islamophobia at your meetings. Stress the urgency and need for people of all faiths to help address and condemn it and all other forms of intolerance publicly. If possible, get the organization to issue a public statement condemning Islamophobia in general, as well as in response to specific incidents like those mentioned above.
- Sponsor reports on Islamophobia. Unless more documentation and yearly opinion surveys are conducted, people will continue to dismiss Islamophobia as a reality. So far, the UK is the only country which has officially commissioned a report on Islamophobia. The word has yet to become a part of American media.
- Request your local library to purchase some of the latest books and articles on the phenomenon of Islamophobia. Some of these includeIslamophobia: Making Muslims the Enemy, Islamophobia and Anti-Americanism: Causes and Remedies andCombatingIslamophobia depends on unlearning intolerance
- Report any and every incident of Islamophobia you, your family or friends encounter. The FBI collects hate crime statistics. Report Islamophobia to them at yourlocal FBI office. File a report with theCouncil on American-Islamic Relations. They issue an annual report on Muslim civil rights in the US. Also report the crime to your local police office.
- If it's an election year, make sure your local Congressman or Congresswoman who relies on your vote is aware of Islamophobia. Organize a delegation of Muslims in your constituency if you can and arrange to make a presentation on the topic, as well as a list of clear things you would like your Congressman or Congresswoman to do about Islamophobia if they want your vote.
- For every incident of Islamophobia, write a letter to the editor and your local civil rights organization about it.
- Organize a program at your local mosque or community center about the problem of Islamophobia today. Hold a brainstorming session as part of the program as well to discuss how to solve this problem.
- Thank those who speak out or act against Islamophobia. A quick call, even leaving a message and/or a two-line email message are sufficient.
- Make Dua that Allah guides those who hold Islamophobic views and practice Islamophobia. The Prophet made Dua for the Quraysh, asking for them to be guided because they were ignorant of what they were doing by committing Islamophobic acts and saying wrong things against Islam and the Prophet.