Islamaphobia in American Society
by Izzy Catanzaro and Caroline Matsen
Ahmed Mohamed is a high school student in Texas who was recently arrested for creating a clock. Authorities claimed it was a hoax bomb. Despite Ahmed continually repeating that what he had created was only a clock, the police, without a parent or attorney present, interrogated him. Eventually the charges were dropped, however he was suspended from school for three days following the incident. This controversy sparked a dialogue about religious prejudices in America, specifically against Muslim citizens. The hashtag #IStandWithAhmed started trending worldwide gaining supporters such as President Obama, Hillary Clinton, Mark Zuckerberg, engineers and thousands more. While the responses were generally positive, the issue of Islamophobia is still a rampant issue in the United States, and situations such as the one Ahmed Mohamed endured will hopefully help shine a light on this problem and bring change in the future.
Unfortunately, not all people understand that Ahmed’s situation was a result of undeserved prejudice, and rather choose to perpetrate the Islamophobia that put him in that unfair situation in the first place. About two weeks ago when asked on NBC’s “Meet the Press”, Republican Presidential Nominee Dr. Ben Carson was asked, “Do you believe that Islam is consistent with the Constitution?” In response to this question, Dr. Carson responded “No, I do not… I would not advocate that we put a Muslim in charge of this nation. I absolutely would not agree with that.” Not only was this comment extremely discriminatory, but in response to the criticism following this statement Carson “shifted his position… saying he would support a Muslim president who swore to put Constitution before religion and disavowed Sharia law.” This new position does not make his stance any less discriminatory. If anything, the statement is equivalent to saying that if a Catholic candidate should like to be elected President of the United States, he should have to excommunicate himself from the Catholic Church first. What is even more inflammatory, is the fact that Carson raised $1 million dollars in donations within 24 hours after making these comments about Muslim Americans. Between the recent controversy in Texas and Dr. Carson’s comments, it is critical for our society to take a step back and confront this religious discrimination.