by Zahra Ali
As disheartening as it sounds, we live during a time where discrimination based on a person’s religion is hardly surprising. For Muslims specifically, tuning in to any major news outlet is like being repeatedly smacked over the head with more reports of political authority attempting to justify large-scale Islamophobia. So what are American Muslims to do besides fall into a cyclical state of hopelessness?
One thing is for sure; the Islamic Center of Naperville Youth (ICNY) is intent on keeping a positive outlook in addressing this issue. Last month, they hosted an event titled Rising Above: Hope in Times of Hardship. The talk focused on how American Muslims should use Islamophobic times as an opportunity to come together as a united community, and ‘rise above’ hatred.
While speaking to an audience of around 300 people, Ustadh Ubaydullah Evans specifically addressed how the flaws within our own community are major contributors to a weakened sense of identity. Even between Muslims themselves, there is no denying that racism and classism are still deep-rooted obstacles.
“Racism is as old as humanity itself,” said Ustadh Evans.
He also discussed how every generation has had its victims of discrimination, and Muslims are no different than what historical patterns indicate. Part of the solution, he argued, to conquering hate against Muslims is to first turn inward and ask Allah for forgiveness for our own imperfections, and then act in a way towards each other that’s consistent with the Sunnah.
“If we’re comfortable with each other,” said Evans, “other people will be comfortable with us.”