Islamophobia: Muslim Lives Matter

Muslims are victimized globally through hate crimes and massive state violence and it is time to reverse this script on terrorism and victimization


(Left to right) Deah Shaddy Barakat, 23, his wife Yusor Abu-Salha, 21, and her sister, Razan Mohammad Abu-Salha  
Photo from an undated Facebook photo

In Chapel Hill, North Carolina, Deah Shaddy Barakat, Yusor Mohammad Abu-Salha and Razan Mohammad Abu-Salha, members of a young Muslim family, were shot dead in their home.

This story was not covered in the national news, however after an outcry on social media using the #MuslimLivesMatter hashtag, the news covered the perpetrator’s story.

The perpetrator who turned himself, was honoured for such a selfless deed, which is unacceptable.

There should have been more news coverage about the family and the victims, and it is not acceptable that Muslim voices are constantly silenced, ignored, and devalued.

If the perpetrator had been Muslim, he would’ve been called a terrorist, but in this event the perpetrator was a white man who murdered three innocent Muslim college students.

These college students were constantly harassed because of their religion and two days later they were shot dead. The perpetrator was Islamophobic and made violent comments towards these students. He had reported to the authorities that the shooting was an “accident” and that they parked in his parking spot. This news story was portrayed as a dispute over a parking spot, and this is not tolerable nor acceptable.

The white man is still a terrorist who murdered three innocent Muslims and this was a news story that we have not heard. For once Muslims are not seen as the perpetrator, they are seen as victims.

[pullquote]Muslims are victimized globally through hate crimes and massive state violence and it is time to reverse this script on terrorism and victimization.[/pullquote]

There was little news coverage of the people who were killed.

Would this be different if the perpetrator had been Muslim? Would there be coverage of the victims and their families if they were not Muslim?

This is a blatant example of Islamophobia.

Islamophobia and hate crime against Muslims has sparked significantly in Canada and in the United States since the devastating events of 9/11. Since the attack on the U.S., the lives of Muslims have been drastically changed to the point where we cannot be treated like everyone else, we are automatically granted second-class citizenship and devalued on the merit of our culture, religion, and race.

This issue is an important issue that fits within the commitment to anti-racism.

Stated in the Prevention of Discrimination and Harassment Policy from George Brown College (GBC), the Ontario’s Human Rights Code prohibits discrimination on the basis of race and country of origin, including religious belief.

As a member of the Community Action Centre at GBC we need to discuss racism, and when I mention racism, I am talking about the discrimination and misogyny that people face in regards to their race, ethnicity, culture and religion.

This is relevant to GBC students because there needs to be support and solidarity for Muslim students as this issue needs to be addressed and not swept under the rug. This is an imperative issue and Islamophobia continues to happen.

Muslim and non-Muslim students need to come together to challenge the violence of Islamophobia as Islamophobia is part of a larger systemic problem.

Whiteness and privilege are forms of power relations that we need to tap into, to understand the severity and importance of this larger systemic problem.

Whiteness is a power relation that favours people of Caucasian skin, European culture and religious practises.

Whiteness has become a norm that has been upheld to what society aspires to be, and anything outside of that experiences discrimination, stigma, oppression and Eurocentric racism. Muslims and folks of Middle-Eastern descent, in particular, experience this.

I experience this.

As Muslim and non-Muslim students, we should come together as a collective in solidarity against Islamophobia. The reality is that this is pervasive within college campuses and should not be tolerated.

Are you with me?

Habibi Ridha is a social service worker program graduate from Algonquin College, a Bachelor of social work student at Ryerson University, and is campaign staff for the Student Association’s Community Action Centre, at George Brown College. 


Islamophobia: Muslim Lives Matter