Islamophobia Discussed by US Panel
The University of Iowa (UI) Center for Human Rights, the UI Muslim Student Association, and UI International Programs organized a conference to discuss cooperation among faiths and ideas on how to surmount stereotypying of Muslims in an effort to eliminate the wide use of the term ‘Islamophobia’.
According to Miriam Amer, the executive director of the Iowa Chapter of the Council on American-Islamic Relations, Islamophobia is a modern term that is used depicting not only fear but evident prejudice.
Kelsey Kramer, staff member at the UI Center for Human Rights, maintained that the center attempted to keep up to date on discussions regarding human rights issues noting that the Islamophobia phenomenon appears to be on top of the list.
He asserted that the incident with Terry Jones who threatened to burn the Qu`ran and the controversy over proposed plans to build an Islamic community center near Ground Zero in New York, was widely discussed.
The Imam of the Mosque in Cedar Rapids, Taha Atta Tawil, ascertained that speaking with college students gave him and his fellow panelists the opportunity to inform future leaders of the nation about brotherhood. He added that their chief mission was to plant the seed of love and compassion.
According to reports, physical and verbal abuse against Muslims are on the rise illustrating the existence and increase of Islamophobia.
Amer noted that Muslims do have constitutional rights, and that they are going to protect them; however, he stated that the US is not alone in this issue stressing that fear of Islam has become more prevalent since the 9/11 terrorist attacks.
According to UI law professor, Adrien Wing, one of the panelists, there are indications of a global trend in anti-Muslim activity after studying Muslim-related human rights issues for 30 years. Wing said the UI campus encouraged students to take classes with the intention of better understanding Islam through studying abroad, learning Arabic, or taking classes on the culture.
UI senior, Bushra Tayh, attributed the nationwide fear and hatred to the media.
Amer ended the conference saying that there was no denial that there are extremists but he added that extremists exist in all faiths asserting that the Muslims are one-fifth of the world’s population and must not be held accountable for the actions of a handful.