Tag Archives: Anti-Muslim

A Story of Islamophobia: Bias, Fear, and Injustice

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Author’s note:
This is the story of someone whom I know personally, whom was a victim of malicious, immoral, unethical, and illegal, Islamophobia, just because they were Muslim, had an Arabic name, came from, ancestrally, from a part of the Muslim-World, and, because they were neither a U.S.-citizen, nor a citizen of their respective native-land.

This is what was told to me:

“I was traveling to visit one of my relatives; I really don’t like to take for granted the freedom and the respect I have been enjoying since I came to America. But this weekend, I have felt very humiliated and mistreated by authorities in both the nation in which I was in, as well as the US. When I arrived in the country my relative lives, the authorities denied entry in the country: they said that I did not have a passport. I’ve used American travel-documents, which is issued for refugees without citizenship, on more than one occasion, and had no previous issues, traveling to places outside of the U.S., prior to this incident; likewise, I had went to this particular country, last year, using these same travel-documents, without any problems.

They took seized my travel-documents, and also my green-card, after they denied me entry. I told them that if they are not going to allow me in, then at least just allow me to return to the U.S.. But, these guys weren’t trying to listen to me, at all-they really started treating me like I was nothing but piece of garbage, which disturbed me greatly. They thought I had no government that defends my rights, which is true-I do not have citizenship to any country yet. I am holding neither US passport nor any other national-passport. The authorities had told me that, if I had at least had a passport along with my U.S. travel-documents, then I could’ve been allowed to stay.

So, here I am, on a plane going directly back to where I had came from, heading back to America. However, there’s a lot more this-it does not just end, here. When I had boarded my flight back to the U.S.,  my green-card and travel-documents weren’t even returned to me, they were given, instead, to the airline & I was told that I’ll get everything back once I land in the U.S., and this is where frustration & anger started to really kick-in: I had told them that they had no right to keep my documents & property away from me and that I’m leaving this country. They said no, you can’t have it back. I felt so humiliated and realized how weak and unfortunate I am.

When I arrived back into the U.S., the airline gave me back my documents. When I checked in, a U.S. Customs & Border Protection officer took my fingerprints, and then, forwarded me to another officer who then further inspected me. He started to ask me why I went to the country I had just came from, where did I get travel-money from…he started an argument, with me, about my recent trip. He said, ‘You were re-admitted last January and now, again, you are traveling?’…’Who helps you?’. I told him I that I have jobs to support myself. He then asked how much I am paid an hour…he then took away my wallet and checked everything it, asking me about how I got my credit cards. He asked me to open my suitcase and to take everything I had out of it. He then took away my backpack and opened my iPad, a binder, and some letters in it, this was a blatant invasion of my privacy. When I asked why is this even necessary, he told me I am not a US citizen, so I am subjected inspection.

After that, then in the checking area, two guys took me away to a room, after I was fully checked with an x-ray machine. They did a full pat-down on me, touching every part of my body. Then, another guy took my backpacks and coat for further inspection, itt was so stressful. I just wish that I did not have to undergo all of these troubles simply that I have a name which starts ‘Abu’ or that I am an immigrant, or tourist from a country that’s viewed negatively, by the U.S., and her allies. This year, I had about 4 trips on my schedule, but I am going to call off all of them. I just don’t want to undergo what I have went through this weekend.”

Anonymous

So, upon learning of this, I had immediately, told the person who told me their story, to inform CAIR/Council on American Islamic Relations, and I specifically gave them the contact-info. of the CAIR-NY Director, Muneer Awad. Sadly, this person was just too afraid to come forward & share their story. I even assured this person that the details of their story would be honored as anonymous, that they wouldn’t be required to give their name, rather, just their statement. But, alas, they even refused that, because they were so shaken-up & fearful that if they were to say anything that they wouldn’t be able to stay/live here (in the U.S.), any longer, that they’d lose their financial-aid status & may even get kicked-out of school, get deported to their respective land of origin (even though they either never grew-up there, never been there & were only born there), detained, tortured, killed, etc.

All of this is so deeply disturbing, how our government, as well as governments like ours deems it okay to intimidate persons, just because they’re Muslims, immigrants, residents/illegals, as opposed to full-fledged citizens, etc. But, at the end of the day, these are still the lives of Human beings, and as such we all, regardless of subjective national, state, or local, religious or secular, laws, are entitled to basic Human-Rights of the following: life, dignity, property. And, unfortunately, at least two out of these three were severely violated, to the extent that this person was made to feel as though their status as a Human being had absolutely no value.

This is not how things are supposed to be: I should never have to walk the streets in fear (of being detained, deported, arrested, beaten-up/having to beat someone up, being killed/having to kill someone, etc.), just because I’m a Muslim, or an undocumented-immigrant, a resident, a Non-English speaker, Non-European/White person. This story really affected my heart, mainly because I know how it feels to be harassed by authorities; but, also because at least with me (someone who was born here/a U.S.-citizen), I know certain important elements of the law, which can protect me from most things, pretty much; but, with people like this person, by virtue of the fact that they are not at least citizens, they’re made to be “easy-pickin’s”, or “fair-game”, of predatorial Islamophobes & Xenophobes, whether they’re as micro as a Dunkin’ Donuts employee/Manager, refusing to serve you, or as macro as the President of the United States of America, who orders/co-signs drone-strikes, or religious/ethnic round-ups against its own citizenry.

Gareth Bryant/2013

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The Muslims need Self-Representation!!!

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I’m takin’ back my voice!!!

Don’t speak for me.
I’m a man and free.

My religion doesn’t give hatemongers the credence to silence me.
Having a beard is not a license to detain me, for an hour or three.

My Arabic tongue shouldn’t be a reason to be doomed, living a life of the falsely-accused.
This pain, of living with Islamophobia, hurts worse than that of a lung punctured & bruised.

Neither my sister, nor mother, are not victims, just because they chose to cover their body.
They wear Hijab in order to please Allah, their creator, and it makes them proud & happy.

I have with me only one, single weapon.
It has now become a prized-possession.

I have my own voice.
With it, I make noise.

It states proudly, to the world, that Islam does not oppress.
How our women do not have to conform to immoral-dress.

How our men don’t have to hurt someone to gain respect.
It’s part of our faith, and duty, to serve, as well as protect.

It tells everyone, everywhere, that we will not take attacks lying-down.
Islam won’t stop spreading, until it reaches every home & every town.

My voice verbally affirms who I am.
It’s time for you & I to take a stand.

Gareth Bryant/2012

My thoughts on negative portrayls of Muhammad (Peace be upon him) inciting violence in the Muslim-World:

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The recent attacks on U.S. Embassies in the Muslim-World, mainly in the Mideast, as a result of numerous negative, propaganda, short-films, caricatures, cartoons, pamphlets, novels, books, movies, shows, etc. negatively portraying Muhammad (Peace be upon him), has incited immense violence all across the Muslim-World, particularly, in places like Libya, Sudan, Yemen, and several other Muslim countries-Now, with nations like these, in deep-rooted political instability to begin with, as a result of events such as the Arab-Spring & removals of dictators, or by partitions of portions of their nations to make other independent states, of course, inciting religiously motivated violence would give any nation, with interests in this region, particularly/especially the U.S., an excuse to swoop in, play the liberator/saviour card, and at the exact same time, horde whatever resources are available in this country, for their own devices.

This has happened before, and it’s very likely to happen yet again. And, also, since Islam has been seen as a radical cult by certain groups of people, governments, etc., for centuries, it’s of course easy to project attacks upon our faith, while knowing fully well that most people in the Muslim-World are so ignorantly off-based to what the true spirit & practice of Islam really is, that any remote attack on anything or anyone connected with Islam will incite senseless violence. Unfortunately, as well, as ironically, we as Muslims always, in our ignorance feel that we must “defend” the honor of Muhammad (Peace be upon him), whenever people say negative things about him. Well, yes, this is true. However, there’s always a right way of doing it & a wrong way of doing it.

There are some very important aspects of how to deal with things such as this:

-One, obeying what Allah says about how to react to attacks by those who disbelieve in the guidance sent by Allah, and/or those who oppress the righteous, and/or oppose the progress of, or those who cause harm to, those who believe in the guidance of Allah.(Noble Qur’an: Chpt.6, V.34; Chpt.7, V.87; Chpt.11, V.115; Chpt.14, V.12; Chpt.86, V.17)

-Two, learning from the Prophetic-Example directly, referring to how to react to opposition to the progress of Islam by the enemies of Allah-When Muhammad (Peace be upon him) was religiously & personally slandered, or attacked, especially when he & his Companions (May Allah be pleased with them all-together) were in a state of weakness, without an Islamic-State (central Islamic government), in many ways much similarly to how weak the Muslim-World is currently, he never attacked people back. He never fought fire with fire; rather, he fought fire with water. There are authentic reports of people doing & saying mean-spirited things about Muhammad (Peace be upon him), during his own lifetime, right in his direct presence.(al-Bukhari, Riyadh-us-Salihin) He never fought against them, nor ordered their deaths, until after Allah had given him & the Companions (May Allah be pleased with them all-together) the order/permission to meet their enemies on the field of battle.(Noble Qur’an: Chpt.2, V.216; Chpt.2, V.190-194; Chpt.47, V.4; )

-Three, having general respect for all Prophets & Messengers (Peace be upon them all-together)-When is the last time that a group of Muslims (regardless of how radical they are) blew up or burned down a Synagogue or Church? Great question, right? And, why do I pose this question? Well, both Jews & Christians say things about previous Prophets, in their remnants of the Torah & Gospel, which are very slanderous in nature. For example: it clearly states in the Bible (a collection of the remnants of the Torah, Psalms and Gospel), that Lot (Peace be upon him) committed incest, with his own daughters(Genesis: 19: 31-36), that Saul, the first King of Israel as a tyrant(1 Samuel 22:20-23), that David (Peace be upon him) sent a man to the battlefield to die, so that he can have that man’s wife (2 Samuel 12: 9-10)…and, all of these accusations are completely false.(Qasas-ul-Anbiya’) These are just a few of the many examples of slander against Prophets; yet, the Muslims only piss & moan when people talk smack about Muhammad (Peace be upon him)-What happened to standing up to defend the honor of any & all Prophets (Peace be upon them all-together), if/when they are spoken about or mentioned in writings and/or films negatively?!!!

Furthermore, more importantly to observe & reflect upon, when is the last time that a Church or Synagogue has been blown up, or burned down, by Muslims, for associating false qualities to Allah? When is the last time that a Reverend, a Rabbi, or any religiously Jewish/Christian figure been dragged into the streets & beaten to death, for saying that they are the “Children of Allah”(Noble Qur’an: Chpt.5, V.18), or for saying that Ezra is the Son of Allah, or that Jesus is the Son of Allah?!!!(Noble Qur’an: Chpt.9, V.30)-It’s never happened-I mean isn’t it much worse to say something false about Allah, as opposed to a created, thing/a Human being, regardless to whether or not they’re a Prophet, a recipient of some type of revelation from Allah, or a righteous person?(Noble Qur’an: Chpt.18, V.15)

So, since the Muslim-World has never went up in arms, destroying Embassies & beating people in the streets, for someone committing Shirk with Allah (associating false qualities with Allah, which is the worst sin that any created thing can do), then, why would we only do it because of a film-short, filled with obvious misinformation, that is exclusively intended to get an emotional rise out of us, in the strategic hopes that we’ll be foolish & unintelligent enough to behave & react stupidly (which unfortunately we have in many parts of the Muslim/Arab-World), just because of a movie short. To be fair & honest, there have been, historically & contemporarily, so many slanderously produced materials about Islam & Muslims, which the Muslims have said and/or done absolutely nothing about, like all of the Jesus-Movies for example, which portray Jesus (Peace be upon him) as the “Son of Allah”, knowing fully well, based upon the text of our book of guidance, the Qur’an, that this is an obvious lie.

Also, when is the last time that we, as Muslims, destroyed the whorehouses in Saudi Arabia, UAE, Kuwait, Qatar, Bahrain, and Oman, dragged the pimps of Egypt, Lebanon, Syria, and Albanina out in the streets & beat them senseless/to death, or burn down the pornography stores and/or newsstands which sell obscene sexual-material (movies, magazines, etc.) which are owned & operated by Muslims from Pakistan, Bangladesh, India, Senegal, Guinea, Gambia, Mauritania, or supermarkets/stores owned by Bengalis, Pakis, Yemenis, Jordanians and Palestinians, which sell pork, alcohol, cigarettes, cigars, marijuana roll-up leaves, heroin-syringes, crack-stems/crack-pipes Lotto, or put and end to drug-smuggling & money/credit-card fraud-schemes run by Nigerians, and all of these various other types of vices that people all over the world freely indulge in?!!!

These are questions which we must/need to ask ourselves & also find the answers to!!!

Gareth Bryant/2012