This past Friday, a white supremacist killed 50 people and injured dozens more in a terrorist attack at a New Zealand mosque. The only shocking news about this story is that it happened in New Zealand and in the United States.
It is a sad state of affairs when Muslim children become desensitized to situations like this. Since September 11th, the current Muslim generation is used to the anti-Muslim rhetoric. For most, if not all of their lives, The United States has been involved in undeclared wars in Iraq and Afghanistan. Elected officials have even gone on so far as to call wearing a hijab unpatriotic. Mass violence in the United States has almost become commonplace on top of the increase in hate crimes against Muslims and other minorities.
A recent survey from the Pew Research Center indicated that 66% of Muslim Americans felt that other Americans didn’t think they were considered American. Parents reported that bullying in school towards Muslim children has doubled in rate than bullying towards other religions. It is important to also know that most Muslim Americans are part of a younger demographic – between the ages of 18 to 29 – who have lived their entire life feeling demonized. Many of them also belong to other minority groups – blacks, queer or undocumented. All of which are threatened by white supremacists.
The only hope is that these young Muslims have developed a thick skin, but they shouldn’t have to. Just because they are Muslim does not mean they are any different than you and me, yet they live in a world that hates them just because of the religion that they choose to practice. Everyone should be allowed to be who they are without the fear of violence against them. Unfortunately, we live in a country that doesn’t believe in these ideals and rather harbor fear against things that are different than learn to accept something that’s new.