A note on the scope of this guide:
This guide is intended to provide general information about anti-oppression, diversity, and inclusion as well as information and resources for the social justice issues key to current dialogues within the Beloit Community. This guide is by no means an exhaustive list of anti-oppressive initiatives nor does it capture all of the many facets of the larger conversations about the issues listed here. This guide serves as an introduction to these issues and as a starting place for finding information from a variety of sources.
Islamophobia is prejudice plus power; anyone with any religious beliefs can have/exhibit religion-based prejudice, but in North America (and throughout much of the western world), people who follow Christianity have the institutional power, therefore Islamophobia is a systematized discrimination or antagonism directed against Muslim people due to their religion, or perceived religious, national, or ethnic identity associated with Islam. Like anti-Semitism, Islamophobia describes mentalities and actions that demean an entire class of people.
Note: Criticism of Islam should not be automatically conflated with bigotry against Muslims. Islamophobia is not the rational, respectful interrogation and/or criticism of Islam based on factual evidence, just as criticism of the tenets of Christianity, Judaism, Buddhism, Hinduism, and other religions does not necessarily indicate bigotry or prejudice. Islamophobia is the irrational fear of, discrimination against, and antagonism toward Muslims simply for being Muslims.
Further information: Islamophobia: The Right Word for a Real Problem
Anti-Islamophobia is strategies, theories, actions, and practices that challenge and counter Islamophobia, inequalities, prejudices, and discrimination based on religion, religious or ethical beliefs, and/or perceived religious, national, or ethnic identity.
Islamophobic Microaggressions are commonplace verbal or behavioral indignities, whether intentional or unintentional, which communicate hostile, derogatory, or negative slights and insults in relation to the beliefs and religious practices of Muslims. They are structurally based and invoke oppressive systems of religious/Chrisitan hierarchy. Islamophobic Microinvalidations, Microinsulsts, Microassaults are specific types of microaggressions.
Note: The prefix "micro" is used because these are invocation of religious hierarchy at the individual level (person to person), whereas the "macro" level refers to aggression committed by structures as a whole (e.g. an organizational policy). "Micro" in no way minimalizes or otherwise evaluates the impact or seriousness of the aggressions.
Six Categories of Common Islamophobic Microaggressions (from Subtle and Overt Forms of Islamophobia: Microaggressions toward Muslim Americans)
This video shows a policeman's very different reactions to two young men who argue first
in English, then later in Arabic.
A Muslim woman needs help with her car. Will reactions differ if she wears a hijab or
regular street clothes?
This video discusses how ISIS are NOT Muslims and how Islam is misunderstood
for a religion that promotes terrorism and violence due to ISIS.
Fusion’s Nando Vila explains how Muslims who commit mass acts of violence
are easily deemed terrorists, while white people who do the same thing are not.
Community Education & Support
In the United States and many other Western nations, Christianity and its various denominations and religious practices hold institutional and cultural power. Christian privilege is the unearned benefits that Christians in the US receive that members of other faiths (or non-religious people) do not. Some examples are below:
Religious or Christian fragility is a state in which even a minimum amount of religious stress becomes intolerable, triggering a range of defensive moves. These moves include the outward display of emotions such as anger, fear, and guilt, and behaviors such as tears, argumentation, silence, and leaving the stress-inducing situation. These behaviors, in turn, function to reinstate Christian or dominant religious equilibrium. (adapted from "White Fragility")
Christianity's religious dominance in the U.S. allows most American Christians to live in social environments that insulate them from challenging encounters with beliefs or people who differ from themselves. Within this dominant social environment, Christians come to expect social comfort and a sense of belonging and superiority. When this comfort is disrupted, Christians are often at a loss because they have not had to build skills for constructive engagement with difference. They may become defensive, positioning themselves as victims of anti-Islamophobic work and co-opting the rhetoric of violence to describe their experiences of being challenged on religious privilege. (adapted from "Christian Fragility")
Being a Supportive Ally
A- always center the impacted— Kayla Reed (@RE_invent_ED) June 13, 2016
L- listen & learn from those who live in the oppression
L- leverage your privilege
Y-yield the floor
Celebrating Muslim Folks
We're Muslim, Don't Panic (Video)
Islamophobia.org (from Council on American-Islamic Relations)
Muslims Read Hate Comments (Video)
We're Muslim, Don't Panic (Website)
Islamophobia Today (eNewspaper)