Racial bias shows bigotry
A Staten Island woman was attacked on Nov. 9, the day after the election results came out, because her perpetrator mistakened her scarf for a hijab. This was one of the numerous occurrences of threats following president-elect Donald Trump’s victory on Nov. 8.
Jennifer Simonetti, 35, was driving to a Starbucks near her home when an unrecognized man pushed her against the car and began touching her. The man slid his hands up and down her body. Two other aggressors were there, and they eyed the incident smiling. The man who initially started the attack against the woman told her that she was not allowed to wear what he had mistaken as a hijab anymore and tried to forcibly remove it.
Unfortunately, these assaults are becoming a shockingly common occurrence in the aftermath of the presidential election. The Southern Poverty Law Center revealed to NBC that over 300 attacks have already taken place weeks after the election results came out.
There is especially a lot of intimidation in schools and on university campuses. The message “Trump Nation, Whites Only” is written on the walls of a church in Maryland. The University of Michigan issued a campus safety alert after a Muslim student was victimized. Likewise, New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo organized an inspection after a swastika was discovered on the walls of a dormitory at SUNY Geneseo.
Hate crimes against Muslims in particular rose by a startling 6 percent since 2015. Hussain Saeed Alnahdi, a University of Wisconsin-Stout student originally from Saudi Arabia, died after being targeted and injured due to his religious background. A Muslim student at San Diego State University was robbed by two men who claimed to be paying homage to Trump in their actions.
The origin of anti-Muslim sentiment perhaps can be traced back to the rise of the Islamic State. The group carried out numerous terrorist attacks and has publicly proclaimed its hatred for the United States and westernization in general. U.S. citizens have been uneasy about the situation.
Just a few months ago, a man who pledged allegiance to the Islamic State killed 49 people at a gay nightclub in Orlando. It was the most lethal mass shooting in U.S. history.
It is still disturbing to hear that innocent Muslims are being targeted. Followers of the Islamic State are extremists and do not properly illustrate Islamic beliefs. People cannot define the Muslim community using the acts of a radical militant group. The notion that all Muslims are terrorists is not only ignorant, but uncivil as well. Citizens who live in a country that is noteworthy for its diversity and freedom of speech should find it shocking that Muslims face such discriminatory rhetoric.
It is infuriating to hear that prejudice still exists in this modern age. As reports of cruelty places the country at risk for bias and detestation, it is important to practice open-mindedness. It is disappointing that identifying as a Muslim bears a negative connotation. The United States will further fall down the rabbit hole if it continues to adopt this mindset.