In recent months, there has been an increase in hate crimes across America, specifically on college campuses. Amongst these hate crimes, Islamophobia and Islamic based violence have been extremely prevalent and have been occurring at an increased rate. It is very important to be aware of these events, whether you are Muslim or not, because by educating yourself on what is happening, you are better able to fight the Islamophobia. Here are just eight unsettling events that you need to know from cases of Islamophobia on college campuses.
1. Idaho State University
On April 4, DVDs titled “Idaho Muslims & Tommy Robinson” were distributed to vehicles at Idaho State University. Robinson is a British hate group, whose anti-Muslim leader has recently stirred up a lot of controversy. The videos reportedly described Muslims as terrorists and the Quran as a terrorist manual. The school confiscated the videos and an investigation is ongoing.
2. The University of Michigan
The University of Michigan had “#StopIslam” written across areas of the school this past year. Despite protest from students and members of the community, the school said that these actions were protected by “free speech.” So, no official action was taken. However, many students publicly condemned the graffiti on social media.
3. University of California-Riverside
During spring break this year, the University of California-Riverside was the victim of a hate crime. Reportedly, a Palestinian flag was damaged, mailboxes were broken into and pictures were destroyed in what the school called a crime “of anti-Islamic and Islamophobic sentiment.” However, the school actually speaking out against Islamophobia will hopefully decrease the chances of it happening again.
4. Virginia Tech
In 2015, Virginia Tech received a message threatening to murder all of the Muslims on campus. Graffiti at the university said, “I will be here 11/11/2015 to kill all Muslims.” Although the threat never developed, this event highlights the fact that Islamophobia is a persistent problem.
5. University of Massachusetts
Recently, there have been a string of hate symbols at the University of Massachusetts. These symbols include graffiti saying “Stop Islam,” a Swastika and racist fliers. Despite the school's efforts to remove the symbols, they are still appearing.
6. University of North Carolina, Chapel Hill
One of the most brutal and starkest examples of xenophobia on this list comes from UNC Chapel Hill, where, in 2015, Deah Barakat, Yusor Abu-Salha and Razan Abu-Salha were gunned down by Craig Hicks. Hicks explained his horrific crime by saying that he wanted the “religion to go away.” This violent act shows that Islamophobia is an urgent issue in the United States, one that goes above hate speech (which is still unacceptable) and puts lives in danger.
7. University of Kansas
Incidences at the University of Kansas, like many instances of Islamophobia, included hate speech on campus and anti-Islam graffiti. A good example of this is a chalking that said, "Choose One — Pro-Islam, Pro-Women & Gay Rights” The school has not taken action against these symbols but the students as a whole have spoken put against the abuse.
8. Arizona State University
In April, the Muslims Students’ Association at Arizona State University held an “Islam Awareness Week.” After spending hundreds of dollars, many of their signs were destroyed. This showcased the anti-Islamic attitude on campus, something that undoubtedly left Muslim students feeling unsafe and unwanted at their place of education.
Despite the intolerance in the world, there is always light. Despite the hate and divisions that are enveloping our country, there is always the possibility for unity and peace. Please speak out, if you see an act of Islamophobia stand up and say something, it could make all the difference.
Lead Image Credit: Mahmood Ali via Unsplash