Muslim students are worried. As war broke out among the Arab states last night, many Muslims said they were unnerved by the possibility that erupting tensions across the globe may lead to increased tensions on campus. While some Muslim students last night expressed faith in other students' sensibility, many fear a possible backlash from American students who "stereotype" all Arabs. "I'm very afraid of discrimination," former Pakistan Students Association President Majid Enani said last night. "There may be some attacks against the Muslims. Many people don't differentiate who are Iraqis, Saudis or Kuwaitis. They think this is a U.S. vs. Arab problem." In the forefront of many people's minds is the effect of past struggles between the U.S. and the Arab world. Some Muslims said they fear the same sort of harassment that Iranian-Americans suffered during the hostage crisis in the late 1970s. And one student, Ibtisam Alzaru from Jordan, said she may feel the need to return to her homeland if tensions get much worse. "Until now, I have felt safe here," the Nursing graduate student said. "But I don't know what will happen later. Maybe we should go back. They don't like us because we are Arabs and from the Middle East." And some speculated that cultural tensions may be joined by religious ones if Israel joins the fighting. Some students said the Arab-Israeli conflict could inflame the sometimes shaky relations between Muslim and Jewish students on campus. "If Israel enters the war, relations would definitely be different," College junior Saad Khairi said. And College sophomore James Kelly said last night he thinks increased tensions between Arabs and other students is a "distinct possibility." He added that both Muslim and other students may be hostile towards each other because they feel threatened by the events across the globe. But some Muslims think American students will be open to discussion and will not base their opinions on Saddam Hussein's violent politics. "I think students can differentiate between Arabs and Saddam Hussein," Arts and Sciences graduate student Khaled Mazighi said last night. "They can tell that [all Arabs] don't fall into the same category." College sophomore Reshma Memon said last night that she is very concerned with the long-term effects that the war may have on American students' perception of Islam, adding that tensions may not be resolved once the military conflict ends. "I'm not worried for myself that something's going to happen," Memon said. "But I know that this is going to leave a really bad lasting impression of Islam. This could have an awful backlash in the future."Comments powered by Disqus
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