Nafeesa Khan: Contextualizing Hirsi Ali – major whine

…Hirsi Ali ended her talk on Monday by addressing Yale’s Muslim students, asking us the following: “Muslim Students Association of Yale: You live at a time when Muslims are at a crossroads. Every single day there is a headline that forces the Muslim individual to choose between his conscience and his creed…with every atrocity they commit, they remind the Muslim of his commitment to submit to Allah. Will you submit passively or actively, or will you finally stand up to Allah?”

By suggesting that Muslims — particularly Yale’s Muslims — can only save their humanity by abandoning their identities, Hirsi Ali’s call to action erases the experiences of any Muslim who is in fact a decent human being. It gives no consideration to the countless Muslims whose lives are enriched by Islam, and made more peaceful by their religious and cultural identification. This reduction of Islam to a “creed” of manic violence serves to cast a blanket of doubt on the innocence and loyalty of an entire community, thereby reinforcing Islamophobic ideologies that allow targeted racial profiling, surveillance and discrimination to run rampant…

Muslim Yalies are no strangers to Islamophobia. Many of us have grown up dodging slurs and watching other passengers leer and whisper after spotting our bearded fathers and Hijabi mothers boarding flights. Many of us have spent our youths constantly trying to prove how “American”, “peaceful” and “respectable” we are, only to be told by Fox News that terrorists “all look alike. They’re all foreign-born … They’re all Muslim”…

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