The Paris attacks have brought renewed attention to the situation of Muslims living in the U.S., many of whom have reported a significant increase in Islamophobia following the recent terror attacks in Paris. Many individuals, including some presidential candidates, draw little distinction between the violent ideologies of extremist groups and mainstream Islam. As a result, there is often an anti-Muslim backlash in the wake of attacks, despite overwhelming condemnation of terrorism and the use of the Quran to justify mass murder among practicing Muslims.
Amidst the negativity, there has been a noticeable support from people who want to draw a bridge between terrorism and religion. The response from Muslims and others was swift and widespread. Multiple hashtags like #TerrorismHasNoReligion, #MuslimsAreNotTerrorist and #NotInMyName sprang up as people pointed out that the actions of a few could not define an entire faith.
One such instance of receiving support from the community is when a Naperville school teacher wrote a letter to the Islamic Center of Naperville. Matt Sniadecki, a teacher and coach in Naperville203, stating, “I have had nothing but inspirational stories about my students and athletes who are associated with Islam. I have had cross country runners fast all day and then run miles and miles, faithful to religion, school, team and self. As a Catholic, I want to express a personal outreach as well, wishing you support in this extremely hostile environment. I don’t know if any students of mine are a part of the Islamic Center to let them know of my support, but rest assured at school at Jefferson, the kids will be taken care of, treated well, and protected as they should be everywhere. Faith should be universal. Take care.”