Islamophobia Is on the Rise: What Does Trinity Do to Combat It, If Anything at All?

3 min read

Sarah Dajani ’26

Opinion Editor

There would be no excuse to invade Iraq and steal its resources better than a Saudi militant taking full accountability, as the leader of an organization based in Afghanistan, for the Sept. 11 attacks. As ridiculous as it sounds, the invasion of Iraq, still referred to as the Iraq war despite being a “textbook example” invasion, founded the basis of many Islamophobic and Anti-Arab laws in the U.S. and around the world. Since then, many scholars have argued that the prejudice against Arabs and Muslims have dated way before the atrocities of 9/11 and the invasion of Iraq. In fact, this prejudice might have inspired the unlawful attack on Iraq. Edward Said so eloquently puts it as a directed and unique “culturally sanctioned antipathy with a full repertoire of dehumanizing images, from the mad terrorist to the voluptuous” dating back to well before 9/11.

Outside of the United States, France has been a prominent leader in legislating Islamophobic policies with the excuse of maintaining “laïcité,” separating church and state. Examples of such legislations have specifically targeted Muslim women for wearing a hijab or a burqa, in violation of human rights; the French freedom of worship law and women’s rights and freedom of choice. Conveniently, “laïcité” is not in order on the annual Christmas holiday or any of France’s Catholic public holidays. Islamophobia transcends borders, and penetrates the infamous Swiss neutrality with a ban on “face covering”… keeping masks and neck warmers and really anything that does not restrict the freedom of Muslim women. With this in mind, the West, as audacious as it has been, is the first to criticize the brutal mandated wear on women in Iran. In India, Muslims report fear for their life. Journalist Rana Ayyub says that the PJB party has successfully created a “climate of fear” which made the majority of the Indian population passive to hate crimes and house demolitions of Muslims. Islamophobic propaganda has infested Bollywood which only features a hijabi or a green flag for roles of terror, violence and treason of the Indian state. Ayyub reports that the Muslim Indians whose ancestors fought for liberation from British Imperialism are now burdened to prove their “Indianess” to the state. Other crimes against humanity, like the Chinese genocide of the Muslim Uyghur remain un-condemned.

Although Trinity does not actively promote Islamophobic ideas, it puts in no effort to protect its students from U.S. hostility towards Arabs and Muslims. Comments connecting “Allah Akbar” and Arab students to terrorism and violence are not punished or even addressed. When Trinity, rightfully, hosted a 9/11 remembrance service, many Muslims and Arabs, specifically Iraqi, students were harassed and targeted. As a college that is supposedly committed to “social change,” Trinity fails to attempt to correct deliberately misguided conversation about the “wholly unjustified and brutal invasion of Iraq” as put by George Bush, also called the Unsanctioned Putin, and “the one man” whose decision is responsible for hundreds of thousands of lives lost in Iraq.

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  1. 1

    Excellent article that argues that the Iraq invasion post-9/11 fueled global Islamophobia and highlights discriminatory policies in the US, France, Switzerland. Greater efforts should be made to raise awareness about Islamophobia among students in Trinity College.

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