Fabian Patino

Despite being over 1.6 billion followers strong and highly focused on self discipline, modesty, and charity, Islam is still highly demonized in Western culture. Islamophobia has become an epidemic in the United States as decades of conflict in the Middle East have created negative sentiment towards Arab and Muslim people.

For many people, the media’s representation of middle eastern people has added fuel to the fire that which was created from incidents like the Iran Hostage crisis in 1981 and the 9/11 terror attacks in 2001. Senior David Cruz suspects the growth of Islamophobia is mainly caused by mainstream media’s coverage of “religious extremists”.

“The only muslims I have seen through the media are called fundamentalist extremists… but a couple radical-violent Muslims do not represent Islam,” said Cruz.

Regardless of the reality, racial profiling towards middle eastern peoples is becoming increasingly prominent in the country, and is taking its toll on law abiding citizens. Senior Brahim Aich is middle eastern, but not Muslim, so he often sees this type of discrimination and stereotyping, but works to go against this racism.

“We need to no longer give attention to those ideals and allow them to die out, or just live against the stereotype and became a living example,” said Aich.

In truth, what the country is doing to the Arabs and Muslims is the same thing that the United States did to African Americans, Mexicans, and Asians when they entered the country; demonized them out of lack of knowledge about them.

“Talk to a Muslim, and people will see that they are normal people,” said Cruz.

Fear is no justification for discrimination, and neither is hate, so it’s all a matter of what actions we, as a people, are taking to break down barriers and embrace our fellow man.