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Muslim students voice concerns over rising Islamophobia

Following anti-Muslim hate crimes and terror attacks, U.S. Rep. Ilhan Omar introduced a resolution in the House of Representatives to recognize the threats posed to Muslims during Ramadan.
Image by Dean Tan
The last day of Ramadan was Thursday. Abu Khadra Masjid Mosque is one of the mosques in Minneapolis.

As Ramadan comes to a close, Muslim University of Minnesota students want to draw attention to Islamophobic violence across the United States.

Some Muslim students believe America has yet to acknowledge the impact of Islamophobia, Internal Vice President of the University’s Muslim Student Association Husaam Qureishy, said.

“It’s important to bring it up over and over again to ensure it’s not swept under the rug,” Qureishy said. “These issues are still happening.”

A 2019 report from the Institute for Social Policy and Understanding found that fear of and discrimination against Muslims was on the rise nationwide.

Rep. Ilhan Omar introduced legislation condemning white supremacy and Islamophobia on the first full day of Ramadan, March 23. The final day of Ramadan, the month-long holiday in Islam that includes fasting from sunup to sundown, was Thursday.

Omar’s resolution also addressed the impact gun violence and mass shootings have on Muslim communities by committing to end gun violence and disavowing attacks on places of worship.

With the terror attacks inspired by the Christchurch, New Zealand, mosque shooting in 2019 and a rise in Islamophobia across the country over the past few years, Omar said the government must do more to protect religious groups.

“We must reaffirm that all people of faith should have the right to worship without fear,” Omar said in a statement announcing the resolution.

The resolution also recognizes the threat white supremacy poses in radicalizing people and encouraging violence against religious minorities.

The resolution was referred to the House Committee on Foreign Affairs, where it currently sits.

Zayna Amanat, a Muslim student at the University, said Islamophobia is a pressing issue that’s continually ignored.

“It’s honestly pretty annoying that this is the system we live in. The approach to violence, the weapons of violence, and the acts of violence aren’t going away,” Amanat said. “It doesn’t feel like the government actually cares.”

Government Affairs Director for the Council on American Islamic Relations Robert McCaw said hateful beliefs drive anti-Muslim attacks.

“This reprehensive act of violence was driven by the extremist ideologies of white supremacy, Islamophobia and the so-called ‘Great Replacement Theory,’” McCaw said. “Too many lives have been lost in the name of hate.”

The “Great Replacement Theory” is a belief primarily held in the U.S. and certain other Western countries. It is a far-right conspiracy theory that left-leaning elites are trying to replace white citizens with nonwhite immigrants, including Black, Hispanic, Asian and Arab immigrants, according to the Britannica Dictionary.

While many Muslim students agree with the resolution, some, like Amanat, feel more needs to be done.

“A majority of the government doesn’t care about the people they’re meant to serve. Real change can only happen when those people leave,” Amanat said. “I think it’s important that they [not] only do things like this, but they need to keep doing things like this.”

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