Majority Anti-Muslim Americans Indicate Rising Islamophobia

Islamophobia

Under the rule of the right-wing, racism against the racioethnic minorities in America has escalated to a different level. Besides, the racist rhetoric of President Donald Trump and other Republicans has been the major contributor to that.

Becoming a victim of Republican ideology, the Muslim American community has been witnessing a growing negativity from the non-Muslim Americans. Besides, a latest research by the New America foundation and the American Muslim Initiative indicated the signs of growing Islamophobia in the country.

The study highlighted that a large proportion of non-Muslim Americans considers Islam incompatible with American values.

Announced on Thursday, the findings revealed that 56 per cent of American citizens believed Islam was compatible with American values, while 42 per cent said it was not. Besides, nearly 60 per cent consider US Muslims as patriotic as others, and 38 percent do not.

The research also said that a big majority of US citizens — 74 per cent — accepted that there was “a lot” of bigotry against Muslims existed. However, 56 per cent expresses their concerns about the spreading extremism within the Muslim community.

An American Muslim media relations specialist, Rabiah Ahmed said that the consequences of rising Islamophobia are beyond the Muslim community.

“I think Islamophobia is not just a Muslim problem but an American problem, so it needs to be addressed by all sectors of society,” she said.

The researchers at the foundation found that particularly Republicans were more likely to hold negative perceptions of Muslims and Islam, where 71 per cent said that Islam was incompatible with American values.

The survey also found nearly 56 per cent of Republicans admitting that they would be concerned if a mosque was built in their neighbourhood.

On the other hand, an insignificant majority of Republicans disagreed with the statement that having more than 100 Muslim candidates in the midterm elections was a positive thing.

Rabiah Ahmed said that politicians, segments of the media and religious leaders from other communities had played a role in stirring up the anti-Muslim bigotry.

She said, “Fears of Muslims comes from the acts of extremists (and) it comes from the Islamophobia industry, a very well connected, very well-funded industry, which makes it their mission to try to marginalise and disenfranchise American Muslims.”

“Just as Muslims have a responsibility to lean in, other faith based communities also need to lean in. So when they see their priest preaching divisive rhetoric about Islam, they need to stop that.”

However, Ahmed also argued that Muslims could not afford to not engage with other communities, and had a duty to “plug information gaps” to dismiss negative ideas about the community.

On the contrary, a senior person at the New America foundation and one of the authors of the study, Robert McKenzie said there were a number of factors that contributed the shaping of Islamophobia, which were not limited to the political right.

He said, “Hillary Clinton, when talking about violent extremism talked about Muslims being on the frontlines, what does that say about Muslim communities?”

He also added, “I know she didn’t mean that in a derogatory way but if Muslims are at the frontlines, what does that suggest is happening at the local level in the US?”

The research also found that just below half of Americans actually knew a Muslim. McKenzie, however, cautioned against correlating knowing a Muslim personally with a more positive perspective on Muslims.

The report came amid a notable rise in the in anti-Muslim rhetoric in US political discourse and within the media.

Although the President had stated of not being a racist and that he is “the least racist person you will ever interview,” no one is unaware of the racially controversial remarks made by him.

He has used anti-Islam rhetoric in his election campaign, and has introduced executive orders targeting Muslims — including his infamous ban on Muslims from several predominantly Muslim countries entering the US.

Zainab Arain, the Council on American-Islamic Relations (CAIR), said that people with anti-Muslim views were found at the very highest levels of government.

“There are people who were formerly part of the Trump administration, who are well known anti-Muslim bigots,” she said, adding, “You have people who are currently in the administration, who are closely connected to the established anti-Muslim hate groups.”

Along with Islam, the Republican rhetoric has also led to a rise in hatred targeting other religious and ethnic minorities.

In past couple of weeks, a racially motivated attack on two African-Americans in Kentucky took place. Besides, the deadliest attacks on the Jewish community in the US history took place, when an anti-Semitic killed 11 worshippers at a synagogue in Pittsburgh.

While the midterms are approaching, the hate-filled effect of Trump’s ideology against the racioethnic minorities is quite evident in the country. Besides, Islamophobia is just one shade of the many colors of racism in the US. Besides, the large proportion of anti-Muslim Americans happens to be the Republicans. Does that means Trump presidency for another couple of years?

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