American Muslims: Perception vs Reality

Illume_Islamophobia_Ridz_003When you hear the term American Muslim or Muslim American, what do you see? To many non-Muslim Americans and certainly Fox News and their viewers, visions of Middle Eastern guys in long robes and turbans come to mind. Camels, Desert, women dressed in black, and a myriad of cultural stereotypes are often added in for good measure. So it should be no surprise that whenever there is a terrorist attack that involves a Muslim such as the tragedy that occurred at this year’s Boston Marathon, the immediate backlash is all manner of xenophobic commentary in conjunction with the usual “Islam is Evil” rhetoric from Islamophobes. But what happens when the attacker doesn’t look like an “Arab” or one of “Middle Eastern” descent? Continue reading →

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When the suspect is a Muslim

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Relief may soon be at hand for victims, their families, American and the world as Law Enforcement and the media have already pursued and killed one of the Boston Marathon terrorists and surrounded the other. My heart and prayers go out to all those personally affected and though the capture and killing of these terrorists will not bring back loved ones or repair injuries, the solace that the criminals are receiving justice is at least one step closer to our eventual healing.

Like so many others I was shocked, disheartened, and unnerved when news of the attack broke. I wondered who could and would do such a thing and what it all meant. Candidly, I along with so many other American Muslims were afraid and very concerned that the terrorists would turn out to be Muslims. In fact, the thought prominently echoed across the nation and the world was “Please don’t let this be a Muslim”. As we witnessed prior to any facts being released, we saw a rash of statements condemning all Muslims, a victim of Saudi national origin was questioned and his name plastered across the media, a local teenager of Middle Eastern descent was harassed as he was misidentified as being one of the suspects, and there have been reports of hate mail, incidents in public, and other attacks against Muslims in the hours after the tragedy. Continue reading →

When A Terrorist Attacks

boston_marathon_explosionLife as an American Muslim has it’s ups and downs no more or less than any other hyphenated American in general, but there are times when it seems like life itself pauses and your only thought when a horrific news alert flashes across the television or smartphone is “I hope that it wasn’t a Muslim”. Self-serving as it may seem at first glance, I like many fellow American Muslims find ourselves in that uneasy nether-realm where what began as an ordinary, uneventful day, ends with most American Muslims becoming amateur private detectives and journalists. Many American Muslims at this very moment are refreshing their Twitter, Facebook and favorite online news sources, watching the television, listening to the radio, or texting and calling fellow Muslims sharing similar paranoid sentiments. Some of us are doing all of the above at the same time. Continue reading →