Town hall explored topic of Islamophobia

Is Islamophobia racist? This was the topic of a recent town hall forum on race and Catholics. And now, Muslims are next in line.

The quick answer to the question above is simply, yes. Islamophobia is rooted in fear, but fear of a religion where the majority of its followers are peaceful. Islam does not promote violence. A quote from the Qur’an, the holy book of Islam, sums up the main principle of social justice in this religion: “if any one kills one life, it is as if he has killed all of humanity. And if he saves one life, it is as if he has saved all of humanity” (Qur’an 5:32). It does not specify a Muslim’s life, but all life. A small minority of extremist murderers, who claim to be acting in the name of Islam, are actually performing horrific, un-Islamic practices, which the majority of Muslims denounce. In fact, Muslims make up a significant number of ISIS victims (“Report on the Protection of Civilians in Armed Conflict in Iraq,” OHCHR, 2014).

What is also true is that the majority of terrorist attacks on the U.S. from 1980 to 2005 were done by non-Muslims (“Terrorism 2002-2005,” FBI report). When the START Global Terrorism Database (the “most comprehensive open-source database open to the public”) was used to research terrorist attacks from 1970 to 2012, only 2.5 percent of all terrorist attacks on U.S. soil were carried out by Muslims. Another fact is that about 5,900 service members who are protecting U.S. soil from these and other terrorist attacks are Muslim (U.S. Department of Defense).

Muslims raised about $100,000 after multiple black churches suffered arson attacks after a white extremist massacred nine worshipers in Emanuel African Methodist Episcopal Church in Charleston, South Carolina. Muslims held a large prayer vigil the day after the San Bernardino, California, shootings. However, hate crimes against Muslims have increased since the San Bernardino shootings, similar to after the 9/11 attacks in New York (“Hate Attacks on Muslims in U.S. Spike after Recent Acts of Terrorism,” NBC).

This ignorance of Islam is not only affecting Muslims, but also people that “look” Muslim. Many followers of the Sikh faith and communication.

We need to communicate this message of tolerance through any and ethnic background, to join the conversation.

The town hall audience consisted of multiple faiths and participate in the conversation.

Marium Husain, M.D., MPH, is a Dayton native and international community.

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