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In recent times Islam has fallen victim to stereotyping, non-Muslims particularly in the west have a misconception that Islam is a very closed and non-secular religion, that it promotes violence and that most Muslims are terrorists or have a radical inclination. Such stereotyping leads to a multitude of evils such as discrimination against Muslims, their exclusion from social and political processes, and presumption of guilt by association and even hates crimes. Similarly, if a Muslim commits an act of terror, it does not mean that Islam condones or encourages terrorism” (Khan, 2003, pp 102) It is difficult in this world to form an opinion about an issue without experiencing some sort of stereotyping.
I memorized every possible way that one could label someone an Islamic terrorist or a Muslim extremist.
I wrote emails to Glenn Beck’s shows, to Anderson Cooper’s blog posts, and anywhere that had a comment section — I felt that I needed to explain myself and my existence.
This continued on as I studied more of the Western world’s oppression towards people of color and Muslims throughout my college years.
This obvious contradiction was startling for me and one that I could not grasp.
Imagine you are walking down the street and see a woman wearing a traditional hijab (head scarf). Our culture today is very much about looks, and our first impressions are based on what we see before us. However there is nothing to discourage us not to do this, however.
Anything from a man with a thick beard to a woman with a hijab makes a lot of people a bit fearful.
This is a consistent theme that took a long while for me to grasp.
My headscarf was a symbol of my oppression and weakness but I also felt unsafe and tense anytime I was around people who firmly believed in my oppression.
The world seemed like a dark place to be a Muslim, so I mostly avoided the public.
I rarely went out shopping with my mother or wanted to be seen outside at all — the world was as big and as hateful as the comment sections of the internet.