Article Op-Ed

DAESH--The Real Islamaphobes

DAESH--The Real Islamaphobes

Author Umber Haider by

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DAESH—The Real Islamophobes

I don’t care what the media says or what the polls show—America is not Islamophobic. The real Islamaphobes are Daesh and its supporters.

Yes, plenty of American individuals, politicians and organizations hate Islam and want to harm Muslims. Extremists in America have threatened, attacked and killed Muslims. Vandals have defiled mosques. Arsonists have burned others down. My own family members and friends have been openly threatened. My own masjid was attacked. I am also aware that I may be attacked at any time.

But America is not Islamaphobic. Every day, most Muslims here are treated well.

Strangers open doors for me. My co-workers and students smile at me in the halls and in class. Grocery store cashiers and baggers look me in the eye and say, “Have a nice day, ma’am.” Drivers let me into their lane during rush hour.

The people who hurt and threaten Muslims here are a radicalized minority, just like Daesh compared to the broader Muslim world.

By focusing our community efforts on fighting Islamophobia, all we do is our own version of what the Republican Party is doing—putting a bandage on a deep wound.

Muslim communities should shift their focus to fighting Daesh. Of course, not violently, but with our words and with our activism. This way, we fight the problem and by default Islamophobia.

We have to figure out how to get our message to Daesh—that what they are doing is NOT Islam. That Islam teaches tolerance and taking care of one’s neighbor, regardless of religion. That Islam likens the killing of one innocent person to the killing of all of mankind.

Daesh members and supporters are the ones who are afraid of real Muslims who promote love and mercy and tolerance and peace.

Umber is a somewhat active community member who is quickly becoming frustrated with the lack of scaling up of activist campaigns against Daesh. She aims to develop ways to take these problems on in a practical, unapologetic way. But she's also a mom and professional who must take these problems on in between preparing sippy cups of milk, kissing of boo boos, cleaning up after little children, helping them with homework, basically running a household and working a full-time job.

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