The following video is an episode of Thom Harttman’s The Big Picture on Islamophobia in America, and the questions below are a response to the first 13 or so minutes of it.
What is Islamophobia?
Islamophobia is defined as a fear of all Muslim people. It involves extremely prejudice thoughts that can often result in widespread discrimination towards those who are of or who may appear to be of the Muslim faith. Within the episode of The Big Picture that we watched for this post, it is referred to as “anti-Muslim sentiment in America”.
Thinking back to our discussion of homophobia, is the term Islamophobia a misnomer?
Islamophobia can be seen as a misnomer, because just like with homophobia, it is unclear if those who suffer from the ‘phobia’ really hold a fear of the other. In many instances, those who are Islamophobic or homophobic simply hold some form of hatred due to differences that they see between themselves and the ‘other’ individual.
What did Rais Bhuiyan’s attacker say before he shot him? How did that make you feel. Why?
Mark Stroman, the man who shot Bhuiyan, exclaimed “where are you from?” immediately before shot him directly in the face. Knowing that this was an act of Islamophobia, it didn’t surprise me that the attacker asked this question or that he didn’t even wait for the answer. Stroman assumed that Bhuiyan was Muslim purely based on his appearance, and was not going to wait for an answer because of the preconceived Islamophobic beliefs that he held.
This all being said, hearing this comment lead me to think about my use of the question. It’s something that I ask almost every time I meet someone new, and although I use it because I’m curious as to where people were born and what their background is, it isn’t always used in this context. Some individuals, like Bhuiyan, who have experienced this question in a not so innocent way may not appreciate being asked it by someone who they do not know very well.
The individual who shot Rais Bhuiyan was put to death and Bhuiyan said that was wrong thing to do. Why?
Bhuiyan was an advocate for not executing Stroman because he believes that killing is not the answer to the problem at hand. In his opinion, putting Stroman to death is purely reinforcing the prevalence of hate and violence in society, which goes on to fuel the occurrence of hate crimes. He suggests that forgiveness is the solution to ending these heinous acts, based on the fact that this was the message that was once spread by all messengers of God. Bhuiyan sticks to his strong beliefs that if we allow ourselves to heal in a mental, psychological, and spiritual way, it will enable us to be forgiving and compassionate. Giving the perpetrator the chance to reform, as opposed to using death as a solution, is part of how the massive issue of hate crime can be solved globally.
According to Corey Saylor, what other religious/ethnic/racial groups have been targeted by the United States government for being dangerous?
In the segment, Radjeep Singh introduces the idea that that anyone who looks like “the man in the turban”, which commonly includes the Sikh community, can easily be targeted by the government for being dangerous. Saylor talks about how America is now using those of Islamic culture to replace the previous enemy of the Soviet Union, due to 9/11 and terrorist attacks that have followed.
What is xenophobia?
Xenophobia is the irrational fear of individuals who are “different” than you, which is often projected on those from other countries and/or racial backgrounds. Islamophobia, in the context of an American fearing someone who is Muslim as well as not looking at the term as a misnomer, would be a perfect example of this fear.
To wrap this up- I tried to look for a funny or light-hearted anti-Islamohphic meme to close, that was AGAINST Islamophobia. Unfortunately, I instead came across probably 50 memes that completely bashed Muslims, Sikhs, and many other racial minorities. Rather than posting one and talking about how ridiculous and wrong it was, I am deciding to close this without any visuals. I definitely think these memes should be ignored, as any perpetuation of Islamophobia needs to end now!