Written by: Shirin Zarqa-Lederman
Sand-n****r, dune coon, camel jockey, goat-fucker, raghead, towel head, terrorist, hijacker, Jew-killer, Holocaust denier…
Those are just a couple of Islamophobic slurs that plagued my generation’s childhood. That, of course, was before the Internet, iPhones, Facebook, Twitter, blah, blah, blah. Now, you can insult more people much quicker! Back then we chalked it up to “one ignorant asshole.” We never called it Islamophobia.
These days (now I’m sounding like my parents) Islamophobia has been taken up a notch. Now, children are not only being harassed, but physically threatened and attacked. Not only are violent hate crimes being committed against Muslim children, like the 6th grader in PS89 in the Bronx, we are actually hearing about it.
After the November 2015 Paris attacks, The Huffington Post began keeping record of acts of Islamophobia. Not a scientific study, just a running list of hate crimes reported by local media against Islam. From November 13th until they stopped updating the list on December 16th, The Huffington Post reported “73 in North America.” I can only imagine that there are those who are too intimidated to report it as a hate crime or simply discouraged by the loudness of bigotry. And we can all safely assume that 73 is just a ball-park figure.
The Huffington Post stopped updating their running list and stepped it up a notch. They created a completely new website dedicated to reporting hate crimes, against Islam, or as they put it “tracking Islamaphobic incidents across the U.S. because the only way to stop hate is to confront it.”
Since January 2016, The Huffington Post reported 28 hate crimes against Muslim Americans. The significance however, is not only in the numbers, but in the levels. It is a subtle demonstration of institutionalized Islamophobia that is spreading as exposed on the website.
For example, according to news station WWLP, a company in Green Bay, Wisconsin forced the job loss of 53 Muslims by changing their company’s prayer policies. I’m not an attorney, but it seems like that’s in direct violation of Federal law.
Federal law (Title VII of the Civil Rights Act) and the laws of most states prohibit employers from engaging in religious discrimination: making job decisions based on an employee’s or applicant’s religion or lack of religious beliefs. Title VII also prohibits workplace harassment on the basis of religion. And, Title VII requires employers to accommodate an employee’s religious beliefs or practices, as long as it doesn’t create an undue hardship.
In Omaha, Nebraska, The Islamic Center was vandalized for the fourth time since the Paris attacks in November.
It’s not just small town politics either. Republican Rep. Chip Limehouse of South Carolina recently wasted his constituents’ tax dollars by supporting a bill that forbids Sharia law be used in South Carolina – even though there have never been any cases where that was even a thought.
In Minnesota, these three stooges – or Republican state assemblymen, as they like to call themselves – Matthew Hill, Timothy Hill, and Micah Van Huss furthered a bill to “STOP ISLAMIC RELIGION INDOCTRINATION.” They are hoping to remove Islam from the textbooks.
The bigots on the tracker in The Huffington Post are not just your average John Doe; the offenders are politicians and lawmakers.
Simply stated, at the end of the webpage are the following antidotes: