Our hearts are heavy given the terrible tragedy unfolding in Gaza with the killing of over 9,000 Palestinians, including 3,700 children. The war on Palestinians has unleashed a new round of anti-Arab and anti-Muslim bigotry here at home that led to the tragic murder of six-year-old Wadea Al-Fayoume in Illinois. It also contributed to Islamophobic acts of hatred elsewhere, including in New York City where an attacker ripped a teenager’s hijab off.
The problem of Islamophobia in America is not new, and in fact, goes back decades. We saw it in the aftermath of 9/11 and during the presidency of Donald Trump. It was manifested in attacks against our civil liberties through racial profiling and ‘watch lists’, and in the normalization of denigrating Islam and Muslims in the media and by government officials.
Emgage, along with a number of Muslim organizations, has long advocated for a comprehensive national strategy to combat Islamophobia because of the complex and institutionalized nature of the problem. This is why the recent announcement by the White House of its intent to develop the first-ever National Strategy to Counter Islamophobia in the United States is important and needed. This countering Islamophobia strategy was a long time in the making and was built by many thoughtful, engaged civil rights and community groups.
The murder, the violence, the discrimination we are witnessing must be prevented. This strategy must be put into play to protect our community: our students who are getting doxxed, our young activists who are being harassed, and our neighbors who are afraid to go outside.
This process must be inclusive and must include the input and feedback of key stakeholders in our community, including the Palestinian community, from the initial rollout of the strategy to the eventual full implementation of its recommendations.
As this strategy is implemented, we demand that the Administration proves its intent to protect the needs and safety of our community and answers our demand: to call for an immediate ceasefire.