Earlier this month, in Texas, a young Muslim boy was arrested for building a clock. Because he was Muslim, the school allegedly assumed it was a bomb, despite the fact that they took no precautions to ensure that the bomb didn’t go off and kill hundreds of students.
This week we learned that across the pond, a postgraduate student in counter-terrorism at England’s Staffordshire University was profiled because he was reading a textbook in his chosen field.
Mohammed Umar Farooq, who was enrolled in the terrorism, crime and global security master’s programme, told the Guardian that he was questioned about attitudes to homosexuality, Islamic State (Isis) and al-Qaida.
His replies, Farooq said, were largely academic but he stressed his personal opposition to extremist views. However, the conversation in the library was reported by the official to security guards, because it had raised “too many red flags” .
“I could not believe it. I was reading an academic textbook and minding my own business. At first I thought I’d just laugh it off as a joke,” said Farooq, who then instructed a lawyer to help him challenge and rebut the claims.
Source: The Guardian
While we rightfully worry about the extreme anti-Muslim views and general xenophobia that seem to have given rise out of the blue, or perhaps out of the mouths of Republican presidential candidates, in Europe, things are even worse.
Citizens throughout Europe, and the U.S., unfortunately are feeling the economic pinch of years of austerity and instead of blaming the oligarchs who are still becoming richer, they blame immigrants. While our immigrants are largely from Latin American countries, theirs are from Islamic countries, but even citizens are susceptible to the vast amount of racial profiling across Europe and North America. At the risk of invoking Godwin’s Law, this type of extreme xenophobia is frighteningly similar to what was happening in Europe during the build up to fascism. The only difference now is that the United States isn’t much better, as evidenced by the popularity of Donald Trump.
Soon after being questioned, Farooq was let go and the university apologized, but he’s far from alone. In the U.K., there is an advocacy group called Cage, which fights for the rights of those unjustly affected by the war on terror. According to them, there have been almost 100 cases just in the U.K., that they know about.
Some of the greatest potential allies in the war on terror are Muslims – people who understand the culture and can perhaps speak the languages of the terrorists. If we, as a society, treat them with the same hostility as we treat those who actually are terrorists, we have lost the war.
Featured image via F-Comedy.