In a post-9/11 world, Islamophobia is not uncommon, and many Muslims and non-Muslims can recount instances of undue fear-mongering, ranging from high school bullying to murder.
More recently, we must note that anti-Muslim sentiment has resurged in light of the upcoming presidential election, with proclamations threatening the sense of belonging for Muslims all over this country. This sentiment has manifested in the form of acts challenging the dignity and safety of our Muslim peers at the University of Pennsylvania and in Philadelphia itself.
On the morning of Monday, Dec. 4, a bloodied pig's head was found in front of the Al-Aqsa Mosque in North Philadelphia, following a string of antagonistic phone messages. This challenge to the Muslim families and attendants of the Al-Aqsa Mosque is deeply unsettling.
This has not been the sole incident. On the night of Saturday, Jan. 16, a Muslim man and full-time student at Temple University was hospitalized after being verbally harassed and then beaten for speaking Arabic in Center City, Philadelphia. These are two examples of many where Muslims, especially women in headscarves, and indeed other peoples such as Sikhs and South Asians have been harmed for their faith or what is perceived to be an associated ethnicity.
Indeed, students on our own campus are affected by this rhetoric. Anti-Muslim rhetoric produces more than hurtful words on the national stage; rather, this sentiment presents a real and true danger to Muslims in America and has irrevocably affected the sense of safety of our peers on campus and beyond.
We explicitly condemn these hate crimes and the unfounded anti-Muslim rhetoric playing out on the presidential stage. We stand in complete solidarity with the Muslim students, faculty and employees of this University in this trying time, and we recognize that their safety is of the utmost importance.
This has happened before and it will happen again; suggestions for the gradual expulsion of a group of people on a national level is not new in the history of humankind. The fact that this resurgence has occurred at a time of great upheaval among several other marginalized communities in our country makes it even more imperative for us to stand together. And truly, we do.
We are grateful to the University administration for their willingness to work with us on initiatives such as Halal accommodations in Penn dining and for standing with us in the face of surveillance by the NYPD. We look forward to future collaboration that aims to dismantle anti-Muslim rhetoric on campus and beyond.
Students Against Islamophobia and Discrimination
The 5B and PAGE
The Muslim Students Association
The Asian Pacific Student Coalition
The Latin@ Coalition
United Minorities Council
South Asia Society
Penn Arab Student Society
The Black Student League
Students Organizing for Unity and Liberation
Penn Hindu and Jain Association
Delta Sigma Pi
Assembly of International Students
Class Board 2016
Class Board 2017
Class Board 2018
Class Board 2019
Wharton Alumni Relations Council
MAJID MUBEEN is the Chair of Students Against Islamophobia and Discrimination (SAID).Comments powered by Disqus
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