Last Thursday, I had the chance to hear from Wajahat Ali, one of the creators and social media pioneers for the Al Jazeera network. He discussed Islamophobia, the election, America’s past and future, and how to shape a better story for Muslims in the coming years.
Neutrality Never Helps the Victim
Although I have always believed that the Muslims in our country are treated unfairly, I wasn’t doing anything about it. In his presentation, Ali mentioned that 60 to 65% of Americans claim that they don’t know a Muslim. I undoubtedly am part of that problem.
Even though there are tons of Muslims on campus, it seems like I’ve never really gotten the chance to befriend someone who is Muslim or from the Middle East. With 3.3 Muslims in the United States, I ought to have at least had polite conversation with someone who is Muslim by now. The problem is that consciously or not, many people only talk to others who look the same as them and have similar interests. I am going to do my best to break that trend.
How to Paint a Better Picture for Future
Especially after the recent election of bigoted, outspoken president-elect Donald Trump, I can no longer be silent. Silence helps no one. With a very small portion of Muslims in the media to change the story themselves, I must do the right thing and make them a part of a positive conversation. Just as Ali quoted from Prophet Muhammad, “even if the day of judgment erupts while you are planting a new tree, carry on and plant it.”