Capstone Project

Islamophobia

 

Capstone Goal

This will help the community on gaining knowledge about Islam and not jumping into conclusions such as “all muslums are terrorists.” I also want to accomplish people accepting other religions and respecting them instead of associating them with violence.

Product Ideas

I will be interviewing other Muslims asking if they are embarrassed by their religion. I will also be asking other people what is the first word that comes to their mind when I say, Islam. I will also ask them about what they think about Muslims. At school, I might organize a world hijab day where all of the girls at school wear hijabs to support Muslim girls.

Highlights From Research Paper

The Hijab and Islam. Western media portrays the hijab as an oppressive clothing required by the religion of Islam. The hijab is a head scarf covering the hair of a woman. As Elias notes in This Is Islam, “In modern times, many Muslim women have also looked to the hijab as a form of liberation that allows them to participate actively in society while being judged for their humanity instead of their sexuality.” Islam and the Qur’an does not require women to wear the hijab. Muslim women choose to wear the hijab to express their culture and faith. Therefore, wearing the hijab solely is the choice of Muslim women. As Pennington and Kahn quotes Heather Akou, an associate professor of Indiana University at Bloomington, “You’re covering your body and of course you can display it when you’re at home, it’s not that you have no body and you have no beauty, but outside the home you don’t want to be an object of harassment. You want to have people interact with you based on your ideas and your abilities and not so much what you look like.” The media with their coverage of Islam portrays women as having no rights and Islam as a religion dominated by men. This is another example of negative media coverage, which is not based on truth. A Muslim woman’s choice of the hijab is rooted in cultural beliefs as Ahmad and Quraishi-Landes describe, “The belief that one can pinpoint the degree of religiosity a Muslim woman possesses by looking at what is upon her head is degrading, invasive and pretentious.”

 

Effect of Islamophobia on Muslim Americans. The media’s generalization of every crime carried out by a person with a Muslim background as an act of Islam and holding the whole religion and all Muslims responsible and accountable has significant consequences on Muslim Americans. Individuals carrying out terrorist acts are responsible for their actions and not their religion as the media reports. Islamophobic news coverage has increased anti-Muslim hate crimes as well as the formation of anti-Muslim hate groups. As Rebecca Clay notes, “Attacks on mosques and other hate crimes against Muslims in 2015 was higher than at any other time except the immediate aftermath of Sept. 11. In 2015, there were 257 anti-Muslim incidents, up from 154 in 2014 - a 67 percent increase. In 2001, 481 incidents were reported.” American Muslims are also subjected to discrimination because they are viewed as non-American by anti-Muslim Westerners, which exposes them to social and psychological stress. As Anisa N. Goforth, an assistant professor of psychology at the University of Montana, reports, “First- and second-generation Muslim Arab Americans ages 11 to 18 who experienced acculturative stress were more likely to be withdrawn, sad and depressed, though holding on to their religious practices helped protect them against psychological problems.” Islamophobia and anti-Muslim treatment in the West has also had an affect on children. A Canadian study conducted by Siham Elkassem et al. reports, “Children were regularly subjected to oppression, and expressed fear due to being Muslim. Islamophobia is present in their daily living and has a direct impact upon them.”

 

RELIGION OF ISLAM 
Islam is the last of the monotheistic, universal faiths for all humankind after Judaism and Christianity. As Pennington and Kahn describe, “In Arabic, the word ‘Islam’ means submission or surrender, but it was derived from the word ‘salam.’ From this root word, you can also derive the words ‘peace’ and ‘safety.’” Muslims believe in One God as the creator, judge, and sustainer of the universe. Muslims also believe in God’s angels, the Qur’an, all the prophets from Adam to Muhammad, and the Day of Judgement. God’s existence is beyond the limits of human understanding and above any measures such as time, number, form, matter, and space. The prophet Muhammad’s death in 632 divided Muslims into two branches: the Sunni who followed the example of Muhammad (sunnah in Arabic), and believed there was not a designated successor to him, and the Shi’a who believed Muhammad designated his son-in-law Ali to succeed him. The Qur’an, revealed in Arabic, is the sacred book of Islam and directs its followers to create a society (ummah in Arabic) united by Islamic faith. The Qur’anic interpretation (tafsir in Arabic) is based on the Qur’an, traditions of the Prophet Muhammad (hadith), and the opinions of the Prophet Muhammad’s Companions. 
The five pillars of Islam are: (1) there is only One God and that Muhammad is the Messenger of God (shahadah); (2) obligatory prayers five times in a day (salat); (3) obligatory welfare tax given to the poor and needy (zakat); (4) fasting during the month of Ramadan; and (5) pilgrimage to Mecca (hajj). Shari’ah is the law of God. In Islam, human actions are defined in five categories: lawful (halal), commendable (mustahabb), neutral (mubah), disliked (makruh), and unlawful (haram). In Islam, there are three congregational prayers: (1) noon-time on Fridays (jum’ah); (2) on the first day of Eid al-Fitr at the end of Ramadan; and (3) on the first day of Eid al-Adha at the end of hajj.

 

Product

Personal Experience With Islamophobia. Live interviews with Muslims who have experienced discrimination due to their religion.

Mini film about Muslims sharing their experience with Islamophobia, and was created with iMovie. Each participant was asked to share their personal experience on how they faced discrimination due to their religion. This film was personal to me because the participants are members of my immediate family. I learned new things that I was not aware of. I am glad I had the opportunity to interview them and share my work.