Dear Future President,
Islamophobia is defined as unfounded hostility and fear towards all or most Muslims, and it is becoming an even bigger problem recently in our country. This harmful belief can affect Muslim people in their everyday life, subjecting innocent people to untrue stereotypes, judgements, and even unprovoked violence simply based on a person’s race or religion. Islamophobia must be abolished because it is harmful, it is unfair and unjust, and being afraid of a race or culture will never solve any of our problems.
The concept of Islamophobia was “first introduced in 1991 in a Runnymede Trust Report based on the framework of xenophobia"( “Defining Islamophobia” 1), which is intense or irrational dislike or fear of people from other countries. Many different factors have contributed to the spread of this idea over the years. A main reason is the media. Social media often portrays Muslims in a negative light, labeling them with cruel stereotypes, threatening messages, and generally associating them with ISIS or other terrorist groups. However, in actuality, “Recent surveys show that most people in several countries with a significant Muslim populations have an unfavorable view of ISIS” (Lipka 1). Even in video games and movies, such as Sex and the City 2 and Zero Dark Thirty, a Muslim is more often than not depicted as the villain or a character that exhibits offensive stereotypes (Sign 1). Another factor is recent events, such as the attacks of September 11th, 2001 and the Orlando night club shootings. Though these instances are very severe and must also be addressed, they still perpetuate the idea of violence amongst Muslims and leads to some people believing all Muslims are violent.
I also have a personal connection to this issue, as my aunt and my cousin’s family are predominantly Muslim. My uncle, who has lived with them in Indonesia for many years, talked to me about some of his experiences and views. When he was engaged to my aunt, they faced a lot of judgement from family and friends in America. They just couldn't understand how my uncle, who is from St.Cloud, Minnesota and is not Muslim, could get married to someone from a Muslim family. He had never really experienced this kind of controversy over something that seemed so simple to him and most everyone in my family; you can love whoever you want to love, so it was a surprising experience that gave him insight on how much we are uneducated or fearful of Muslim people.
My uncle’s biggest concerns are for my cousin’s future. At 3 years old, he is growing up both a citizen of the United States and Indonesia. My uncle wants him to be accepted in both of these societies, and to be able to do anything he wants to accomplish without judgement simply based of his appearance or his family's faith. I want my cousin to have the same rights as any other American, and Islamophobic views shouldn't not have to get in the way of his success, because he can do anything!
So, how can we stop the hate? The main thing is, many people are not willing to educate themselves on real Muslim ideals and culture. If you have a preconceived notion about Muslim people; check your sources. Sometimes social media can be a helpful outlet to spread awareness to others about current issues. If you put more emphasis on this in your campaign, it will make a big difference and will better so many people’s lives, 1.6 billion people’s lives, to be exact (Lipka 1 ).
In conclusion, Islamophobia is a prominent issue in America that I and many people feel must be paid more attention to and addressed urgently. As the next president, please bring this problem into focus by spreading awareness to the public. I hope you take note of all of the serious incidents and acts of hate that have taken place surrounding this topic, and how it greatly affects the future.