islamophobia and its effects on society needs to be taken seriously

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hello everyone today I wanted to share my college paper on islamophobia I did in my sophomore year i tried to keep as much of my original written in tacked while editing some parts to polish it up so as to speak enjoy please enjoy and support this blog

written by Emerald Jae Stowe

written on 11/8/2020

updated 12/18/2021 by emerald Jae Stowe

Islamophobia and its Effects on Society needs to be Taken Seriously

     We are told Islamophobia does not exist, even though the effects of this kind of discrimination is felt in mass by Muslims and non-Muslims. Due to the biased images of Muslims in media and in the minds of religious and racist bigots.

The term Islamophobia is defined as an irrational fear of Muslims or discriminatory actions towards Islam or Muslims.

     A couple of my own personal encounters of Islamophobia is that I have been passed up on jobs since I have worn my Hijab, even though I have 8 years of work experience since I was a teenager and have been told that I have a good history and that I work hard. I have been being called a terrorist for what I choose to wear and the religion I follow.

Islamophobia has serious effects on hate crimes, health issues, communities, and stereotyping.

     The study’s ‘statistics and social and medical reports of Islamophobia are quite worrisome, especially as targets of this kind of discrimination. According to anti-Muslim hate crimes, FBI statistics show a real problem for Muslims in the US. Hate crimes against Muslims have jumped in the years after 2001 going from previously 28 to 481 anti-Muslim incidents that happened that year alone. Hate crimes against American Muslims have become the second-highest reported after anti-semitic hate crimes. (https://www.pri.org/stories/)

Hate crimes resulting from Islamophobia are defined by Careviewservices. comas threats, bullying, verbal abuse, cyberbullying, and physical assault.

     Studies have found a variety of health and physical problems that are linked to Islamophobia.

According to Samari, Goleen’s article Islamophobia and Public Health in the United States

“A 2015 review by Paradies et al.26 found that everyday experiences of discrimination are also associated with a wide variety of physical and mental health outcomes, such as coronary artery calcification, high levels of C-reactive protein, high blood pressure, giving birth to low-birth-weight infants, cognitive impairment, poor sleep, visceral fat, depression, psychological distress, anxiety” (4)

     Anxiety can be felt when a person may be made to feel belittled or stigmatized for their religion. A person can simply feel anxiety when asked a simple question about Islam. A person can feel sudden anxiety and fear on whether or not they will be attacked verbally or physically just for their religion.

     Depression is linked to Islamophobia as it stems from the feeling of alienation and the feeling of being labeled different. It can mentally drain you and make you feel there is no point in socializing or making friends. This could possibly lead to self-negative thoughts that create a feeling of self-inadequacy.

     According to Jeff Levin, L Ellen Adler, “Religious discrimination targeting Muslims is significantly associated with poor physical and mental health outcomes, including greater psychological distress; more depressive symptoms; higher levels of fear, anxiety, and posttraumatic stress disorder; more self-harm; lower self-esteem.” (1-2)

Low self-esteem can be felt when one feels constantly overwhelmed with a lack of confidence in everyday life. When others challenge your right to exist on the basis of one’s religion or being bullied or worn down emotionally from constant Islamophobic rhetoric.

     The effect of post-traumatic stress is linked to Islamophobia according to various studies and can be a serious side effect. Post-traumatic stress can happen after enduring situations of physical or verbal assault for one’s religion, accompanied by a feeling of being ashamed. The shock and fear create a feeling of anxiety for Muslims in America. Those in the targeted community are constantly worrying if others see them as a threat or if they will be verbally attacked for their faith or socially shut out by a majority in this country.

     Social withdrawal is also one of the problems that are linked with Islamophobia according to Rebecca A. Clay’s article   “the behavioral, social and psychological change and stress that people experience when they encounter a different culture,” explains Anisa N. Goforth, Ph.D., at the University of Montana. She found that first- and second-generation Muslim Arab Americans ages 11 to 18 who experienced acculturative stress were more likely to be withdrawn, sad, and depressed.  (3)

The side effect of Social withdrawal due to Islamophobia from studies, is valid and factual. It leaves a person going through it thinking that there is no point in being social with others. There is the suspicion of being attacked for one’s religion, and which gets in the way of one’s own quality of life living in fear of others. How they view you is not healthy.

     There are not just health implications from Islamophobia, there is also stereotyping that goes along with it that stems from Islamophobic fears and racism.

Stereotypes play a large role in the Islamophobic targeting and the perception of Muslims and Islam as a whole.  The effect of Islamophobic stereotypes like health problems is a real present threat.

     Rebecca A. Clay says it perfectly, her analyses of Islamophobia are good and proves the point that Islamophobia is a real problem, among the many other elements of Islamophobia.

According to Rebecca A. Clay’s article “Muslim men get stereotyped as terrorists, violent and criminal,” says Nadal. For Muslim women, the most common stereotype is that they lack control over their own lives” (3)

     The constant stereotyping of Muslims in everyday life in America only serves to hinder the ability to communicate due to false stereotypes from media coverages and movies. That is reinforcing our ideas of what Muslim women are and are not and most of the time it lacks humanity and is racist.

It could occur in any normal everyday situations for looking to much like the “enemy” Muslims in this country have been stereotyped. To stereotype means to dehumanize the targeted group that others see as the enemy. This keeps all of us in a perpetual state of misunderstanding and miscommunication.

     Another negative side of Islamophobia that is not touched on enough, is the stigmatization of an entire community of people, whether they are Muslims or not.

Media coverage and other media outlets reinforce the Islamophobic stereotype of the oppressed Muslim woman and the message that Islam is a bigoted sexist religion.

     Research has shown that the representation of Muslim women in western media is negatively racist and stereotypical after 9/11. (Poynting and Noble (2004) “found that women had experienced racism, abuse, or violence since 11 September 2001 more than men” (5)

     According to Iman Awan Irene Zempi article (The affinity between online and offline anti-Muslim hate crime: Dynamics and impacts)

Muslims are assigned in western media the role of the “enemy” so much that American Muslims do not have their own separate identity, only the face of terror that is assigned to them by the media and bigots at large.

 In this case “the enemy Muslim” makes the black and white world of the dangerous Muslim terrorist whom you need to defend yourself against. It grants others the permission to be aggressive towards Muslims just based on appearance alone.

     With everything that is reported, the much darker side of this form of hate is still not truly discussed enough. The ever-present threat of physical violence or murder that could be committed against Muslims and non-Muslims alike for being perceived as Muslim due to Islamophobia. 

     The tragic case of Khalil Jabara proves this occurrence of non-Muslims being mistaken for being Muslim and killed in 2016. Khalil Jabara was murdered on his front doorstep by a man called

Stanley Vernon Majors for being perceived as a Muslim by the shooter, when he was in fact a Lebanese Christian man. According to Michael E miller’s “Man’s ‘unusual fixation’ with Lebanese neighbors led to the killing, Tulsa police say.”  (1)

     The case of Khalid Jabara is not an isolated one. There was also the case of Balbir Singh Sodhi a Sikh American man who was shot in a gas station by Frank Silva Roque. Balbir was racially profiled and mistaken for an Arab Muslim.  Roque, like Majors, had a history of hating Muslim minorities and immigrants.

     Islamophobia is not fake. It is real and has deadly societal effects, which need to be addressed for the hate it is.

     Islamophobia only tends to deepen the divide between Muslims and non-Muslims. It needs to be challenged and confronted immediately, unfortunately tackling and fighting back against situations like these is not the easiest thing to do. Stereotypes reinforce the American Islamic community being the “other” in the eyes of America. This creates the needless and harmful Us versus Them mentality. This is not healthy for the victim that this is used against nor the aggressor that feels that they need to defend themselves constantly against the perceived enemy. This only creates situations of violence, verbal attacks, and creates more cases like Khalid Jabara and Balbir Singh Sodhi.

     American Muslims and other minorities should not have to live with fear and feel like an outsider in their own country just because of their race/religion, which most American Muslims often do. The problem of Islamophobia needs to be discussed openly and freely without the negative input of those who do not believe.

     Hopefully, one of these days, more in-depth analysis and studies of this horrific effect and cases will be put at the forefront of the public’s mind. More action and awareness can be done about this kind of discrimination.

     I have hope of change. People are already changing minds and progressing the conversation of Islamophobia and why it is deadly.

Works cited

Awan, Imran. Zempi, Irene. “The affinity between online and offline anti-Muslim hate crime: Dynamics and impacts”. www-sciencedirect.com

https://www-sciencedirect-com.proxy.libraries.uc.edu/science/article/pii/S1359178916300015?via%3Dihub

Accessed December 2020

Clay, Rebecca. “islamophobia.”  http://www.apa.org’  Vol 48, no 4. pp 34

https://www.apa.org/monitor/2017/04/islamophobia.

Accessed 3 October 2020

Samari, Goleen. “Islamophobia and Public Health in the United States”. PP10611, Population Research Center, the University of Texas at Austin. No,2016 Population Research Center, the University of Texas at Austin. https://www-ncbi-nlm-nih-gov.proxy.libraries.uc.edu/pmc/articles/PMC5055770/?tool=pmcentrez&report=abstract.

Accessed 4 october2020.

Johal, Indi. “What is Islamaphobia?.” Careviewservices.com., https://www.careviewservices.co.uk/islamophobia/. Accessed 4 October 2020                     

media-stigma-is-having-real-effects-on-muslim-mothers-in-maternity-services-101768.

Accessed 2 October 2020

Kuek Ser, Kuang Keng. “date: hate crimes against Muslims increased after 911.” http://www.pri.org. https://www.pri.org/stories/2016-09-12/data-hate-crimes-against-muslims-increased-after-911 Accessed 3 October 2020

Levin, Jeff.  ldler, L Ellen. “Islamophobia and the Public Health Implications of Religious Hatred.” Vol. 108, no. 6 2018, .www-ncbi ‘  https://www-ncbi-nlmnihgov.proxy.libraries.uc.edu/pmc/articles/PMC5944890/?tool=pmcentrez&report=abstract. Accessed 4 October 2020

Miller, Michael. “Man’s ‘unusual fixation’ with Lebanese neighbors led to killing, Tulsa police say.” http://www.washingtonpost.com.”https://www.washingtonpost.com/news/morning-mix/wp/2016/08/16/mans-unusual-fixation-with-lebanese-neighbors-led-to-murder-tulsa-police-say/.

Accessed October 2020

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The Uyghur Human Rights

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Handmade Palestine is made up of artisans Palestinian who bring us handicrafts of love and also aims to protect the natural beauty of Palestine

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Published by amuslimwomansblog

I am a female Muslim and hijabi 🧕🏻.

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