On Faith: Equality for all religions

October 09, 2010|Fatma Saleh

Why is Islamophobia sweeping our nation?

Cite any poll today about Islam and Muslims in America, and the results are alarming. A recent poll by TIME magazine found that 46% of Americans believe Islam is more likely than other faiths to encourage violence against nonbelievers. And a recent ABC News/Washington Post poll found that 49% of Americans have an unfavorable opinion of the Islamic faith.

Every day the level of anti-Islamic and anti-Muslim rhetoric in America is rising proportionally. Most of us who watch television news witnessed the rage on the faces of Americans holding anti-Islamic slogans on the anniversary of 9/11. The images were disturbing.


From Temecula, Calif., to New York, there is fierce opposition to projects to build mosques. Attempts to curtail the history of Islam in our nation's school textbooks are being proposed. Ostensible "documentary" films are inflaming sentiments and causing fear. Hate crimes, prejudice and discrimination against American Muslims are on the rise.

What has been happening in America lately?

Why are we seeing a spike in Islamophobia more so than shortly after 9/11?

As an American and a Muslim, I am very concerned about what is happening in my country. This is not the forward-thinking America I grew up in, am proud of and love dearly. Today, America is supposed to be a land of tolerance that embraces pluralism, multi-ethnicity and many religions. We have recorded enough incidents of intolerance, violence, and discrimination in our history. We shake our heads in disapproval on how we treated Catholics, African slaves, Native Americans, and Japanese Americans. Are we repeating history?

American Muslims have heard the arguments against their faith; most terrorist attacks are conducted by Muslims, thus Islam must be a violent religion. It is unfair to lump more than a billion peaceful followers together as being violent or more prone than followers of other religions to carry out attacks of terrorism. No religion, including Christianity and Judaism, is free of extremism.

Misquoted and taken out of context, passages from the Koran have been used as proof that Islam is violent.

Who said, "I did not come to bring peace, but a sword?"

According to Matthew in the New Testament, it was Jesus but most people might have answered Prophet Muhammad.

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