Very often, we like to believe that we are neutral observers – that we make natural conclusions based on the ways we pay attention to reality. But actually, the opposite is nearly always true. The concepts and frameworks we hold in our minds shape the ways that we construct and understand reality. For this reason, it’s important for us to examine and question the concepts we carry, especially when it comes to our fellow human beings.
Yesterday, the Supreme Court of the United States announced that it will hear a case concerning the Travel Ban Executive Order in October. In the process, the court lifted an injunction and is allowing the ban to be enforced partially now. Unless they have a “bona fide relationship with any person or entity in the United States,” people from Iran, Libya, Somalia, Sudan, Syria, and Yemen – six majority Muslim countries – will not be permitted to travel to the U.S. While Donald Trump has raised security concerns about terrorism from these nations, it is important to note that no act of terror in the U.S. has never been committed by someone from these nations.
Yet we allow the fear and the labeling, and inevitably, the stigma against Muslims to continue, both abroad and inside our own nation. Muslims face increased discrimination, and some are the victims of violent hate crimes perpetrated against them.
Did you know that when acts of terror in the U.S. are committed by Muslims, they receive 4.5 times more media coverage than when they are committed by non-Muslims? A recent study demonstrated this.
Did you know that white supremacist organizations are recruiting online faster than ISIS?
Did you know that the vast majority of victims of global terror are themselves Muslims?
Our Muslim siblings are thoroughly stereotyped, then made vulnerable in every way – physically, emotionally, mentally, socially, and spiritually – to the hatred that fuels violence against those stereotypes.
We have to change these dangerous narratives. Imaging and messaging affect us; they have taken hold in our implicit bias. And among many, they are fueling conscious hatred.
Our Muslim siblings need and deserve our solidarity, both in support and in action.