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Editorial: We must stop prejudice against Islam

Published: Thursday, September 12, 2013

Updated: Thursday, September 12, 2013 14:09

We must stop prejudice against Islam

AP Photo/Lauren Casselberry

A firefighter stands near the entrance of the 9/11 Memorial in New York. Memorials were held across the U.S. for those killed in the 9/11 terrorist attacks

A member of our staff was having a conversation with his mother and another individual. When the individual asked where his mother was from, she said she was from Israel, and the individual backed away and asked if she had a bomb. Anecdotal reactions of ignorance, like this one, come from a cultural misunderstanding stemming from prejudices intensified by 9/11.

This past Wednesday marked the twelfth anniversary of the 9/11 terrorist attacks on the New York World Trade Center. It is a gross understatement to say that the events of 9/11 changed the way that the U.S. runs — from U.S. foreign policy to travel restrictions. One of the effects of the events of 9/11 was a national awareness of Islam. However, the Islam religion became wrongly associated with the terrorist attacks and, throughout the U.S., became associated with terrorism itself.

Fear and hatred of Islam are all forms of organized discrimination, similar to anti-Semitism or any other type of religious discrimination. It is our job as individuals and as members of various communities to work together to stop inequity and hatred. So why, 12 years after 9/11, can we still tell stories about our friends who get detained for hours at airports for wearing a hijab or a turban?
Prejudice against Islam is very much alive in the U.S. today. In April 2013, following the Boston Marathon attacks, Fox News host Bob Beckel called to halt the acceptance of student visas for Muslim students, stating “…we’re going to have to cut off Muslim students coming to this country for some period of time so that we can absorb what we’ve got, and look at what we’ve got, and decide whether some of the people here should be sent back home or to prison.”

If we do not notice explicit discrimination in our community, it is easy to say that it does not exist. However, it is important to remember that it is hard to gauge the amount of implicit discrimination that happens within a group of people.

Even if you personally do not notice it within our Loyola community, prejudice against Muslims is prominent outside of Loyola and will probably continue to be a problem with which the U.S. struggles. We must unite to combat this discrimination, because religious discrimination is not only wrong but also is also a violation of the First Amendment, one of the defining laws of the U.S.

Much of discrimination is fueled by a lack of education on a people or culture. The Muslim culture does not only exist in one community or one country — it is in the world around us. Like in any religion, there are different forms of Islam, and one cannot place limits on a religion or its believers. Cultural ignorance and misunderstanding can, in many ways, be just as harmful as outright hatred for a culture.

At Loyola, we have several ways to combat cultural ignorance. Our driving Jesuit philosophy allows freedom of expression and encourages learning about the world around us. Every spring, the Tulane-Loyola Student Peace Conference holds presentations and allows students to argue for peace and explore solutions for peace in the world.

Students can also study abroad, but it is important to remember that one’s experience in a foreign country is just that — an individual’s experience. One cannot claim full cultural understanding after spending time abroad, though it helps one to develop new perspectives.

Loyola also has organizations like the Muslim Student Association, the Student Peace Initiative and the International Student Association that can also help students to learn about and understand Islam.

Even if you do not have the time to attend events held by these organizations, we must remember that it is our responsibility to work for a world in the future that is free from all forms of discrimination. Find ways to educate yourself. Together, we can become advocates against all forms of prejudice in our community. 

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7 comments Log in to Comment

Sat Sep 28 2013 15:51
I love how this Catholic university's newspaper defends the idea that has led to the genocide of so many Christians and even rape and beheadings of innocent Catholic nuns. Look it up! Islam is not the religion of peace and Jews are not on the Christian's side.
Wed Sep 25 2013 11:14
We know the discrimination the terroists in Kenya had. They asked shoppers if they were Muslim and if they weren't, they were shot - including an 8-year old girl and her mother. If Muslims don't want to be discriminated against, all they have to do is speak out against all of the Muslim extremists who kill non-Muslims as well as other Muslims.
Mon Sep 16 2013 18:12
It's not ok to do anything to invade a person's life, liberty, or property, despite what any religion or its writings say.
A major problem I have with Islam today is that the majority of Muslims do not speak out against the atrocities committed by terrorists, thugs, and people like Assad and his father before him. Too many join the terror movement. The crimes committed in the name of religion have killed far more people than most people are willing to recognize--should I say more than any other single institution known to man.
Mullah Lodabullah
Sun Sep 15 2013 02:24
Better to stop prejudice against Kuffar - it is not OK to behead us and strike off our fingertips, in spite of allah's directive in Sura 8:12.
Sat Sep 14 2013 07:55
Proud Kafir you are absolutely correct. West needs to wake up.
Fri Sep 13 2013 07:59
If Islam was about killing, bombing places killing non muslims I think there would be a world war before 9/11 because there is over 1 billion muslims around the world. Get the facts right before judging people.
Thu Sep 12 2013 23:33
Well considering ISLAM is on a global JIHAD mission and all moslems are to perform JIHAD to further ISLAM..I would say it is correct to be ANTI ISLAM :) If you pull your political correct heads out of your asses you will see globally ISLAM is the worlds parasite. :)

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