In a new episode of “United Shades of America” on CNN, host W. Kamau Bell interviews Muslims who live and work in the Detroit area, noting that a close look at how they live their everyday American lives “should completely unravel what we might call the Fox News version of Islam.”
“There’s no religion in this country that is more misunderstood, mis-categorized, and misidentified than Islam,” Bell writes in a wrap-up of his experience. “Whether it is Sikh men in turbans being attacked because people believe they are Muslims (HINT: They are not), or so-called liberal allies encouraging Muslim women who wear hijab to ‘liberate’ themselves by taking it off, or all the confusion and fear around Sharia, halal meat, and Muslim-American sports heroes, we have a lot to learn. I’m looking at you, President Trump.”
Bell goes on to write:
“Dearborn and Hamtramck are ideal (and classic … and even conservative) small town America, filled with people working hard for their piece of the American dream. And if all of that is news to you, then that should be all you need to know about how nonsensical the demonization of Muslims really is.”
Read Bell’s entire column:
I will be paying attention to President Trump this weekend as he is scheduled to give a speech in Saudi Arabia on – wait for it – Islam. Donald Trump giving a speech on Islam is like me giving a speech titled, “The Best Haircuts to Have If You Really Want to Succeed in Corporate America.”
WEAC and the NEA are working with members to address the issue of Islamophobia in schools. Representatives to the WEAC Representative Assembly this spring passed a New Business Item that states, in part, that WEAC “will stand against all forms of religious discrimination intended to hurt, harm or marginalize our Muslim population that will impede their educational or religious obligation.” Read more about the Muslim religion and religious discrimination.
A 2016 article in NEA Today summarized the issue this way:
Anti-Islamic rhetoric has reached a fever pitch in America, spouting not only from presidential candidates and governors, but even from school board members, like one in Philadelphia who posted that she is “officially against Muslims” and “We don’t want them in America” on her Facebook page.
In New York, Chicago, and in Mohamed’s hometown of San Francisco, city bus ads paid for by millionaire Pamela Geller showed pictures of ISIS atrocities and proclaimed, “It’s not Islamophobia. It’s Islamorealism.”
For Muslims who ride city buses—including hundreds of school kids—the message was loud and clear: “Muslims are terrorists and must be feared.”
“It’s scary, unfair, and weird how we are in the year 2016 and people are allowed to be so openly biased and hateful,” says Mohamed Omar, 18, a senior at San Francisco’s Raul Wallenberg High School. “People look at us in a damning way. They have this image of us that’s hard to change, and it bothers me that Pamela Geller can have freedom of speech, but where is my freedom of religion?”