At this point in 2017, we've become somewhat accustomed to divisive actions taking place across the country. Recently, one of those incidents involved hanging anti-Muslim posters around college campuses.
On February 13th, Azmia Magane, a Graduate student at the school of social work at the University of Central Florida, received a chilling photo from one of her muslimgirl.com staff members who attends Rutgers University in New Jersey. The picture, shown below, contained a picture of New York’s twin towers with an American flag background, with the caption, “Imagine a Muslim-free America.”
“I was shocked, because Rutgers is known for its diverse population,” Magane tells Fresh U. “The founder of muslimgirl.com, Amani Al-Khatahtbeh, is a Rutgers grad, and we have quite a few writers who are Rutgers students. I was instantly concerned about the safety of the Muslim students on campus, and the safety of our MG team. I also recognized the name of the group who put the signs up as the same group who put up white supremacist posters at my alma mater, UCF, just after the election.”
Muslimgirl.com, according to Magane, is the leading website for Muslim women in the west, and it is dedicated to taking back their narrative.
“The mainstream media has a lot of conversations about us, without us. We provide a platform for Muslim women to discuss the issues that affect us. A lot of people think that Muslim women have no personal agency or voice — and that’s wrong.”
Azmia soon posted the picture of the poster on her Twitter page, which is slowly gaining attention with nearly 750 retweets. She then included a thread of tweets reiterating and fortifying the point she wanted to make about the dangers that came from the poster.
Posters were also found at the University of Texas in Austin. J.B. Bird, Director of Media Relations, posted a statement about the posters; however, he solely addressed the fact that the posters were violating procedures, rather than the fact that the posters were inciting violence towards Muslims.
“Honestly, I’m absolutely disgusted,” Magane says. “That statement was a huge middle finger to the Muslim students at UT. That signage is targeted hate speech; it’s an existential threat, and UT’s administration is hung up on the procedural rules for hanging signs. Their statement literally says that the signs were removed because they violated the procedural rules for who can hang signs and where. The signs should have been removed, yes — but not because of procedural issues. They should have been removed because they contained targeted hate speech and an implicit threat towards a segment of UT’s student body. UT actually allows students to carry concealed weapons on campus. UT should send a stronger message that they stand in solidarity with their students and that they will protect their vulnerable students.”
So far, Azmia has sent a few emails to the Council for American Islamic Relations (CAIR), specifically at Florida and at the National Headquarters. She stated that some MG writers that are Rutgers students contacted the vice chancellor and ensure that the police were contacted. CAIR-NJ issued a statement calling for Rutgers to increase their security on campus to make sure the students are protected.
“The safety of the students is obviously my first thought and priority as well. I expect Rutgers — and any other school this happens at — to send a strong message that this kind of hatred and bigotry are unacceptable, unwelcome, and those who are intent on spreading such violence aren’t welcome either; that they will take whatever actions available to them to ensure that this does not continue.”
Lead Image Credit: Twitter